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Plans for Queen Street not good enough

Press release
Monday 19 Apr 2021

Heart of the City is clear that they want to see a beautiful and well functioning Queen Street but the Auckland Transport plans released today are a fail, and no one is going to win.

Heart of the City Chief Executive Viv Beck says that “Queen Street must work well and the proposed plans won’t cut it. Auckland Transport needs to know this is not good enough for our main street.”

Proposed changes for lower Queen Street released on Friday are an improvement on what is currently there but there are fundamental flaws in the way the wider street’s going to work under this proposal. Buses and bikes will be mixing with each other, and deliveries won’t be efficient. There will be many people who rely on getting to places in taxis that will be impacted.

Beck says that “It’s appalling that after a year, this is what has come out.  There are no dedicated bus lanes in some parts meaning unreliable journeys for commuters. There won’t be safe cycling as bikes will be forced to travel down Queen Street in bus lanes, and there will be a whole lot more buses on Queen Street to contend with over the next few years.”

The plans also have major implications for the night-time environment.  Beck says that “People must be able to get to night-time venues safely. Under the proposed plans taxis won’t be able to access Queen Street from Mayoral Drive to drop people off at the Town Hall.  There is diverse range of people who come to the city centre, and we need access to be available and inclusive.  Not everyone can walk to get to places.  What is proposed is ridiculous.”

Getting goods to businesses will also be harder. Some loading zones won’t be accessible. Space for this activity continues to be cannibalised in the city centre with no alternatives provided.

Beck says “This is another example of proposed changes for streets where there are impacts for business loading. We saw this recently with changes to Wellesley Street where all business loading was proposed to be removed with no alternatives. Goods must be able to get to our city centre to support our economy.”

Auckland Transport has yet to confirm what the outcome of that consultation was, which included some proposed bus stop extensions to Queen Street, yet under the cover of darkness they have extended several bus stops in the last few days without telling anyone.   

Beck says “This project has been a debacle and we will be pushing for an overhaul in the way in which changes happen in the city centre.”

Notes to Editors:

  • The Auckland Transport proposed changes released today are part of the Queen Street pilot project. With the proposed bus lanes from Mayoral Drive to Wakefield Street, heading north, taxis and commercial traffic will not be able to access the street. Existing loading zones and a taxi stand will not be available making the area less accessible.
  • In the area between Victoria Street and Shortland Street there will only be one lane in each direction. With an increase in buses over the next two years, buses will have to be in the same lane as all other commercial traffic.  Buses won’t have bus priority in this area - as the current COVID works took away the bus lanes that were put in December 2019.
  • Bikes will have to use bus lanes in areas such as Mayoral Drive to Wakefield Street. To encourage safe cycling in a street it is not best practice to have cyclists use bus lanes.
  • The network changes and the Lower Queen Street plans should have been released together.
  • Link to the Auckland Transport information