Trams Up Queen St Plan
Mayor Brown says a tram loop up Queen St, along K Rd and then back to Quay St is being looked at as part of extending trams from Wynyard Quarter to Britomart.
This would bring back trams to the city’s main street for the first time since they were discontinued in the mid 1950s.
In an interview on TVOne’s Q&A, he said there are two options with Q St under consideration – either entirely pedestrian only or partly.
“Over the next five or 10 years, we will look at the possibility of either fully pedestrianising or partially, depending on the feedback we get from our community.
“We could look at tram up Queen Street. I mean, one of the most successful things has been to bring back the tram out at Wynyard Quarter, and we’re looking at the possibility of a tram loop up Queen Street, K Road and then back down into Quay St.”
Earlier Auckland Council Transport Committee Chair Mike Lee initiated a plan for the trams to go to Britomart as soon as possible. He wrote to to Mayor Len Brown and Auckland Transport for the waterfront tramway to be extended to Britomart “as soon as possible.”
A motion was passed at the Council’s transport committee meeting for Auckland Council officers to work with Auckland Transport and the Waterfront Agency for this to happen and this has now been followed up with talk of it being done next year and eventually being replaced with a modern light rail system.
Presently, the heritage tram travels clockwise on a 1.5km circuit of Wynyard Quarter between Jellicoe, Halsey, Gaunt and Daldy Sts.
An online petition seeks for them to go up College Hill and through Ponsonby. National Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye has been pushing for this.
Theere also a suggestion of it going as far as Western Springs to meet up with the MOTAT tramway and tourist attractions of MOTAT, Western Springs and the Auckland Zoo.
Also in the TV interview, the Mayor denied to Paul Holmes that Transport Minister Steven Joyce has said he can not have the proposed City Rail Loop.
“We have not been told that at all. In fact, the government said, ‘We will support you designating the route and going into a resource-consenting process. We see it strategically as being a part of Auckland’s future. It’s about timing.
“In terms of the money, our council will certainly will have skin in the game, the ratepayers will have skin in the game.
“I am convinced and I have no doubts that the government will have skin in the game. It’s about how much.”
In terms of the possibilities for funding help such as a congestion charge, the Mayor said:
“Do not underestimate how determined the Auckland people are to see this transformation in place, and so the very least that I’m putting up to them – I’ve been saying this for the last 18 months – I’m prepared to have the debate, and it’s just not congestion charges; it’s also a possibility of network charges.
“So congestion charges – what London did around the inner CBD area. We will put up options for network charge for our entire transport system. And, we want to see whether the community’s up for this. I believe they are, and time will tell. We’ll go through this discussion over the next two or three months. ”
Pointing to the success of Brisbane’s pedestrian-only main thoroughfarte, also called Queen St, the Mayor said he wanted Quay St as a boulevard and Victoria St with reduced lanes.