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Queen Street plans being revised

Queen Street plans being revised to reflect people’s views

Revised plans for the new look Queen Street are likely to provide pedestrians with wider footpaths in the sunniest parts of the street, better shelter from the rain and retain two traffic lanes in each direction.

They are also likely to restrict the times that heavy trucks can use Queen Street, and to provide some indented parking bays.

The first round of consultation on preliminary plans for upgrading Queen Street, in April and May 2004, showed overwhelming support for upgrading Queen Street. However, there were differing views about how the road space should be allocated, the degree to which the street should or should not be given over to pedestrians and how access will be maintained for vehicles.

The draft concept plans are being revised to address issues raised during consultation, particularly by the central business district (CBD) retailers and business owners.

CBD project manager Mark Kunath says the revised plans are likely to retain two traffic lanes in each direction compared to the original proposal for one traffic lane and one stopping lane in each direction.

“This recognises that Queen Street has a key role in providing access to the streets that run off it and protects the road width for future public transport options,” he says. The right turns into Shortland and Fort streets will also be kept.

Indented stopping bays will be provided for loading, taxis and possibly some short-stay car parks. Some loading areas will become car parks after 6pm.

To better support retail activity, the revised plans will look at restricting the hours (to before 11am and after 7pm) that vehicles weighing more than three and a half tonnes can be on Queen Street. Buses and emergency services vehicles would be exempt.

Mr Kunath says the aim is to make Queen Street more user friendly for pedestrians specifically inner city workers, business visitors, shoppers, tourists and others who support commerce and retail.

Pedestrian shelter will be improved, mid-block pedestrian crossings evaluated in the vicinity of Mid City and Durham Lane and it is likely that native trees will be planted to reflect Auckland’s sense of place.

The plans will also look at how Queen Street can be better integrated with Aotea Square and how part of the street could be temporarily closed off for events between Wakefield and Wellesley streets.

The aim is to have the final plans available for council endorsement by early next year.

Auckland City plans to begin buying materials for the upgrade this financial year, with work likely to begin after June 2005.

The $23.4 million Queen Street upgrade project supports Auckland City’s strategy to revitalise Auckland’s CBD into one of the world’s most vibrant and dynamic business and cultural centres.

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