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The problem

Federal Street, from Victoria Street and Fanshawe Street was a car-dominated one-way street with little to offer to pedestrians or cyclists. Federal Street forms part of a future Laneways Circuit, a network of streets for people in central Auckland. Significant construction activity on the adjacent Albert Street arterial also increased Federal Street’s role in providing for pedestrians and cyclists.

How the project responded

Auckland Transport trialled a contra-flow cycle lane and test street layout ideas before Federal Street’s scheduled permanent upgrade, using the following treatments:

  • colourful paint at intersections
  • PlaceKit planter boxes along the bike lane
  • ‘armadillos’ along the bike lane
  • a new pedestrian crossing.

The treatments were used to:

  • narrow the street, particularly at intersections
  • slow vehicles
  • create a contra-flow cycle lane
  • improve pedestrian crossing opportunities.

‘Consultation by trial’ was used and changes were made before seeking public feedback, giving people the opportunity to experience how they were impacted before responding. Budget was put aside for post-delivery changes based on the results of the consultation and evaluation processes.

Auckland Transport Federal St Wolfe St intersection

Federal St/Wolfe St intersection. Credit: Auckland Transport(external link)

Federal St from corner Wyndham St

Federal St from corner Wyndham St. Credit: Mackie Research.

What was learned

A comprehensive evaluation was commissioned, which analysed before and after measures of:

  • traffic and cycle volumes and speeds (using speed tubes)
  • road user interactions (video recordings)
  • crash data
  • road user perceptions (surveys)
  • expert cycle route assessment (head cam videos and Sensibel).

The key findings were:

  • traffic speed and volume decreased
  • numbers of pedestrians and people on bikes increased
  • fewer interactions between people on bikes and other road users
  • perceptions among all road users that the street is now safer, more attractive, and more usable.

Areas for improvement identified were:

  • maintenance of the plants in the planter boxes
  • susceptibility of the planter boxes to being moved or tipped when vehicles nudged them
  • pedestrian concerns around the armadillos as a trip hazard
  • fading of the painted dots and road markings over time.

The lessons reinforce the value of a trial approach where improvements can be made post-implementation, with the evaluation recommending that the changes be converted to a permanent upgrade. The project further points to the need for ongoing maintenance costs to be budgeted.

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