Shared Spaces Are Halfway Houses


The more I look at the Shared Spaces being developed around Auckland’s CBD, the more I am convinced the only way they will work effectively is if vehicles are banned from Queen St itself.

Dodging cars in the yet-to-be completed Fort St, for example, is not a pleasant experience.


Imagine if it was just for those strolling and cycling.

Vehicles using Lorne St are coming from or to Queen St so we need to get serious about a vehicle ban there.

Imagine how wonderful it would be to not have to wait at lights to cross as you wander up and down the main street.

Fort St is actually a busy street as motorists use it when they can’t turn into Queen St and come a back way through from Customs.

How peaceful it would be without worrying about cars - especially those coming through the side street between Shortland and Fort which can catch you by surprise.

Darby St, much as that too is welcome, also has some issues.
It is not the traffic but the lack of identity.
There are few reasons to stay there. it is just a thoroughfare. The businesses are a mixed bag with no interesting shops nor any smart cafes.

Darby is not a Vulcan Lane which has atmosphere, eating and drinking places and a reason to stop.

Around the corner from Darby, Elliott may fare better especially with places there like the Stables and dreadful Atrium although it does have a lot of courier and delivery van traffic.

Hopefully after the earlier tinkering, it will be got right this time.

Anyway good to see Fort St getting closer to finishing.

But let’s ban the cars completely.




  1. Patrick R says:

    Shared streets are by definition ‘a half way house’ . And a huge improvement and a good step towards getting the cars out of Queen St. Really there is no reason this couldn’t happen tomorrow.

  2. George D says:

    I had to drive through it the other day (went down it and then had to get on Queen St), and it wasn’t any more pleasant as a driver. Even though I went very slowly and gave way to pedestrians, the level of alertness demanded in case you have someone walk in front of you is pretty high.

  3. LucyJH says:

    I think that’s the idea isn’t it… The streets will be so hard to drive down hardly anybody will - it’s like Queen St. in the past I would drive down it quite regularly (bc I often go from Kingsland area to the Eastern Bays). But now I generally remember how slow it is with the 4 way crossings and I don’t - instead I take symmonds or another route. The shared spaces will (I think) function like that. People will just stop driving down them unless they absolutely have to.

  4. BA says:

    Yeah I’d wait until it’s all finished for my final judgement. Fort Street, from what I can see will turn out to be fantastic. Lots of eateries on the northern side.

  5. George D says:

    I think that a low (5kph?) speed limit will be necessary, if not already posted. Some interaction will be inevitable, but at a low speed any possible danger is gone.

  6. rtc says:

    @AKT - if you look at pictures of Vulcan lane before it was pedestrianised, you’ll see it was not much different than Darby Street. Narrow footpaths, lots of cars parked down the sides. It probably took a few years before it became a destination, and the same will take place in Darby Street - it just takes time.

  7. Patrick R says:

    A lot of the rest of the world has restricted [or privileged] times for deliveries to be made in dense CBD areas…. I think it is time we considered that for central ak, say pre 9am…. It should come with further reductions in on street parking and most importantly, the removal of cars from Queen St. This would free up the way for deliveries so we could afford then to limit the hours that they have access. Before 9am may be too hard for retail deliveries, before 10? Trucks and vans could have rights at the chosen times to stop anywhere without blocking PT or emergency access?

  8. DT says:

    I walked down Darby St yesterday and there were cars parked illegally from one end to the other. Without better enforcement that side of the street will just become a de facto road. Since loading waiting time is restricted to 5 mins I can’t see why you’d need more than a couple of areas for stopping, maybe some more physical obstructions need to be placed on that side.

  9. rtc says:

    @DT - furthermore it’s only beween 6am-11am that they’re allowed to stop for 5 minutes. Why isn’t the council enforcing this?

  10. Andrew says:

    I wouldn’t give up on Darby St just yet, as Rtc has said it will take time for it to liven up, and I think that may even be delayed by it opening as we go into winter rather than summer, but until then it will at least serve as a northern pedestrian gateway to Elliott St from Queen St.

  11. Andrew says:

    Oh and enforcement is important. I’m staying in Paris at the moment and I must say the parking habits of Parisians are awful. They park through intersections, across driveways, across pedestrian crossings because they know they can get away with it. The police and councils seem pretty useless here at enforcement.

  12. Kansas says:

    The shared space concept has done wonders for Auckland’s image. Can’t wait till the entire project is completed :)

  13. max says:

    Guys, some of you are being heavily sceptical and even outright negative. You sound like parents who are unhappy that their child still hasn’t learned the ABC. Even though it has been at school for a whole day now! Give it some time.

    I had a look at Darby today, and it was okay. Yes, there were a few cars here and there, but they tended to move after a few minutes (that was around 5pm on a workday). No, it isn’t a destination - and not every place in the CBD needs to be! One can have just run-of-the-mill GOOD streets that aren’t something you have to rave about in “Lonely Planet Auckland”.

    Oh, and the speed limit thing was discussed. a 10km/h limit was mooted. Apparently, the decision was taken NOT to sign one, because that would contradict the idea of the shared space - you drive to the (pedestrianised) conditions. Not to a “Seriously officer, I wasn’t going too fast, but then that pedestrian just…” environment.

  14. [...] stick by my earlier post that the only way this will truly be effective is for vehicles to be banned from Queen St. [...]


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