Darby St Nearly Shared


Workers on the Auckland CBD Darby St Shared Space project predict it will be finished within 2 weeks.

It will be great to see.

The work is starting on the next one - Lorne and Kitchener while work continues on the stage one of the Shared Space in Fort St.

Maybe by the time it’s all finished someone will have decided all of Queen St or part of it may become a Shared Space as well!

Here is how Darby St looks today close to being finished:




  1. patrick says:

    I wonder if people driving cars will be able to work out what’s happened

  2. rtc says:

    That’s part of the aim - people won’t drive down because they don’t realise they can and those that do won’t be using this as the rat run that it was to date.

  3. Andy says:

    I look forward to a changed Auckland when I go back in 2-3 years.

  4. Jon Reeves in Switzerland says:

    Yes, great to see this small but significant project coming to completion.

    Currently I only have about 1/2 of the Basel City CBD as shared space and the rest is only for trams, cyclists and pedestrians. It’s a very good half though!

  5. James B says:

    Be good to have at least one of the shared spaces ready for the end of summer. Next summer we will really see the results, when people come out to play and find all the new shared spaces.

  6. mark says:

    “I wonder if people driving cars will be able to work out what’s happened”

    That’s what environmental cues are for. You can’t really see it very well from the above pictures, but when you enter Darby Street, there are now a couple of trees that sit - asymmetrically placed - half within the former carriageway. It’s going to be a bit of a “whoa, what’s that?” moment for drivers entering, even though there is still easily enough space to drive around.

  7. Nick R says:

    It’s a real shame they didn’t have the balls to fully pedestrianise what is a completely useless vehicular route.

    It will be better than previous of course, but tables and acitvity out in the middle of the street will still be impossible and pedestrians will still have to walk along the edges of the lane to avoid being hit by the next road warrior exercising thier right to goon down the street oblivious to their surroundings.

  8. Andy says:

    pedestrians will still have to walk along the edges of the lane to avoid being hit by the next road warrior exercising thier right to goon down the street oblivious to their surroundings.

    Well once Aucklanders get used to these areas I’m sure they won’t be milling around the edges. I know I wouldn’t. Especially during the weekend (right next to two popular clubs) people will spread out and any cars will just have to slowly edge their way through like they do in other countries. Either that or they are going to end up driving into a crowd.

  9. mark says:

    I’m not too worried. Shared space works on psychological principles, and I don’t buy into this “New Zealanders are totally different from everyone else” idea of why things wouldn’t work here.

    Of course some people will complain that some car driver sped through there when they visited, or bullied them with his horn - ignoring the fact that 99 others coming through there didn’t / won’t. The averages (speeds, crashes, pedestrian numbers) will tell us whether or not it works - and as I said, I am not too worried.

  10. Nick R says:

    ‘Bus lane no entry’ signs also work on psychological principles, but that didn’t stop a zillion indignant drivers from crossing Grafton Bridge and then moaning about their inalienable rights to do anything the like in their car.

    These small little lanes should just be completely pedestrian, there is zero reason to have vehicular access.

  11. mark says:

    “‘Bus lane no entry’ signs also work on psychological principles,”

    No, they don’t, Nick R. Or at least not in the sense I meant. The bus lane signs work on a cognitive basis, shared space works on a more instinctive basis. That’s why shared space uses no signs (though our Councils will likely stick up some for legal reasons anyway, sigh…)

    The Grafton Bridge bus signs work on cognitive principles: You have to actually think about what they mean (and not on an instinctive level, because text and bus icons don’t translate well for our animal brain parts).

    Then you have to make either an ethical judgement (I should not use this road, because society/Council has decided it is for buses only, I’ll be a good boy) or alternatively, make a risk judgement (I’d like to use it anyway, but if I use it, then I risk getting fined at a level which is too high for my liking). Only then are you deterred.

    Shared space works totally different. Those trees? Clear sign on a gut level: Barrier - cannot move through there. Those benches? Cannot drive through there, need to swerve around, at a pretty small radius, possibly. All those pedestrians in the way? Barrier. Pedestrians constantly crossing sideways everywhere? Blockage/collision/randomness risks. Slow down.

    Even the pavement, I understand, is designed so it breaks up the clear “move along this path” lines a driver expects along the road. Instead, for example on Fort Street, the design is intended to show large blocky shapes across the road, rather than along, and so on.

    Shared space, if designed right, works on the same principle that would tell one of our ape ancestors that it is perfectly acceptable to run full-tilt through an open savannah, yet the same speed would be stupid running through a forest filled with trees and other creatures.

  12. Joshua says:

    Agreed, the drivers will naturally be slowed down, and pedestrians will take over the space. It’s what the environment dictates that will determine driver behavior.

    In the end it will be interesting to see what does happen, but my guess is this will mainly be used by pedestrians, cyclists and service vehicles. Cars will become minority.

  13. Nick R says:

    Mark, well ok if you are talking about basic midbrain perceptual-reflex type actions I would agree ( cognition of the semantic information in signage is definitely a ‘psychological’ process BTW!), however take a good look at the concept render here:

    All the trees, seating, poles and planters are arrange in a nice linear edge down the left side, while there is a nice set of bollards of identical size at evenly spaced intervals down the right side.

    In the middle is a straight roadway comfortably wider than a car with a discrete curb line either side and a nice open ramp from Queen St guiding traffic in…. i.e. a barrier either side with a clear barrier free route through the middle well sized to take a car at fairly high speed.

    In a perceptual sense the layout appears to be designed with the sole purpose of directing drivers into a clear and unrestricted road lane in the middle while keeping pedestrians out of the road lane in the middle. The clear ‘move along this path’ line is still very much there, they have even re-inforced it with two strips of contrast paving down each ‘kerb’. You can see this in the second photo above, the worker without the hard hat on is sitting on the visual kerb marker.

    Perhaps the concept of shared spaces would work if the perceptual (mis)cues you have described were actually implemented… but in this case they aren’t actually there!

  14. patrick says:

    I don’t think the drivers will be thinking of all this

  15. Scott says:

    “I don’t think the drivers will be thinking of all this” In that case hopefully they don’t undersand that it is a shared space and assume it is a pedestrian area. This is what seems to happen in vulcan lane most of the time, I have only ever seen a one car (a builders van) in there.

  16. jarbury says:

    What they really should do is make Darby Street one-way heading towards Queen Street. That would avoid it become a rat-run from Queen to Victoria.

  17. Nick R says:

    That would help a little, but still why have any car access at all? Darby St is the same width and length at Vulcan Lane, and like Vulcan lane it has a couple of bar/nighclubs, a few shops… and no parking buildings, driveways, loading docks etc.

    So why not just pedestrainise it? Why keep the roadway there just so drivers can have two ways to access Elliot St? Surely there would be less traffic and less pedestrain congestion with two fewer intersections in the city.


Leave a Comment


XHTML: You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>