Turning Albert Street into a “pedestrian-focused environment” is the priority of a recently released concept-plan for the busy city-centre route, as part of Auckland’s City Rail Link (CRL) project.
The designs envisage the street after the completion of the CRL underground tunnels and stations, and feature broad footpaths with improved surfaces, new street furniture, improved bus stops, and dedicated bus-lanes down both sides of the street, which will help make transport more frequent and reliable.
Various “sustainability measures” form part of the design plans, with materials chosen for more cost-effective operations and maintenance.
To filter and cleanse road surface run-off before it goes out to sea, tree-pits will be placed along the street, and in a space where space-constraints prevent the planting of trees, a “green wall” of vertical plantings may be developed.
The preliminary concept-plans will be developed further and form the basis of more detailed designs that will be included in the CRL delivery contracts.
John Fellows, CRL design manager, said the aim is to make Albert Street into “a great environment for promoting city life, for businesses, residents and pedestrians” which will extend and complement other developments in the city-centre between Aotea Square and Quay Street.
“It will be a much more connected and pedestrian-focused environment for people to use and enjoy — and this is absolutely necessary to cater for the increased number of people who will using Albert Street once the CRL is built,” Fellows said.
The future station, which will be located under Albert Street and between between Victoria and Wellesley Streets, “will be the busiest on Auckland’s rail network,” he added.
The government expects development to start on Albert Street’s northern end after the completion of the current cut and cover tunnel works in 2018 and 2019, while development on the street’s southern end is expected to occur in 2023, after the mid-town station and bored tunnel works are complete.