Queen St Changes make goods delivery unsafe, difficult

  • 03 May 2021

Proposed roading layout changes to Queen Street will make freight and courier deliveries to downtown retail and office businesses more difficult and unsafe and says National Road Carriers Association (NRC) spokesman Chris Carr.

Auckland Transport has proposed changes to the way vehicles use Queen Street including:

• The northbound lane on Queen Street between Shortland Street and Customs Street becoming a bus lane at peak times between 7am-10am and 4pm-7pm. Delivery vehicles must use the southbound lane at these times.

• Full-time bus lanes in both directions creating a bus-only section on Queen Street between Wakefield Street and Wellesley Street.

• A full-time northbound bus lane between Mayoral Drive and Wakefield Street, with travel restrictions at the intersection of Mayoral Drive and closing the Lorne Street exit into Wellesley Street.

Mr Carr said delivery vehicles not being able to park on the side of Queen Street they were delivering to between Shortland Street and Customs Street was hazardous as drivers will have to cross the busy street with their deliveries sometimes with multiple trolley loads.

“That section of Queen St has two shopping plazas and a hotel and these proposed changes will mean that part of Queen St will have just one loading zone available at the peak courier delivery time of 7am-10am.

“What is not clear from AT’s consultation is that the ends of the loading bays are to be angled so the current bays that fit three vans will in future only fit two vans.

“This will inevitably create delivery vehicle snarl-ups and delivery drivers will be forced to find alternatives like double parking or pavement parking – or stop servicing those businesses.”

“This is going to add time, expense and risk for delivery drivers. AT says it wants to transform Auckland’s city centre into a world class place with thoughtful design. This is not well thought through at all because it will create problems.”

He said the creation of the bus only section between Wakefield Street and Wellesley Street and the closure of Queen Street to freight and delivery vehicles between Mayoral Drive and Wakefield Street would impact businesses in the area, especially restaurants.

“For example, the Carl’s Jr restaurant near the Civic Theatre is in a bus only zone with no loading zones yet it is one of Queen Street’s busiest fast food outlets.

“Delivery vehicles will not be able to access their customers and we expect some will refuse to deliver,” said Mr Carr. “We support Heart of the City’s concerns on the impact these changes will have on businesses in Auckland’s central business district.

“As key stakeholders in roading and transport, the freight industry was not properly consulted on these changes before they were proposed. These changes are part of AT’s ‘Access for Everyone’ plan but they are actually significantly reducing access for freight.”

Freightways, which owns multiple freight companies including New Zealand Couriers, Post Haste and Big Chill Distribution and makes over 800 deliveries and pickups to Queen Street businesses daily, says this reduced access will have a negative effect on business growth in the area echoing the safety concerns of the National Road Carriers Association (NRC).

“It’s no secret that the state of the roads is already creating congestion issues and many Queen Street and CBD businesses are under financial pressure as a result of Covid-19.

“Our key concern is getting deliveries where they need to be, and while we will always make it work, it does not appear that AT has properly considered the impact nor consulted stakeholders appropriately with this proposal,” said Freightways CEO Mark Troughear.

Mr Carr said he would like to see:

• The removal of private cars from Queen Street to free it up for buses, cyclists, pedestrians and delivery vehicles.

• The opening of the bus only section between Wakefield and Wellesley Streets to night time delivery vehicles when buses are not running or are less frequent.

• Shared bus and freight lanes. Melbourne CBD has shared zones which work very well.

• Retaining loading zones in the northbound lane between Shortland Street and Customs Street and not reducing the loading zone size from three vans to two.

• AT engaging better with businesses to understand their freight needs including when they need to despatch and receive deliveries.

NRC will make a submission to Auckland Council on the proposed layout changes to Queen Street.