MaximusAugust 25, 2009
Mad on Manners
The subject of Manners Mall has not yet, it seems, gone away. The Council is still to hear oral submissions on Manners Mall, and one strong anti-abolition-of-Mall campaigner, Maria van der Meel, feels so strongly about it that she has set up a competition for Wellingtonians on that universal medium: Facebook.
The City is Ours has announced it is running a design competition for the Manners Mall Open Space starting on the 1st of September 2009 on Facebook. The design must have a feature and reflect the heart of the City where people meet, greet, sit, watch, rest, lobby, busk, ponder and shop. The design also welcomes skateboards and bicycles. The aim of the competition is to make Manners Mall “the focus” of Wellington and a central point for tourists to find their bearings while they take in blue-sky in a traffic free environment.
The theme for the design is “Relax your in Manners Mall” The City is Ours is seeking cooperation from the retailers on or near Manners Mall to display these designs so Wellingtonians can view them.The City is Ours will present these entries to WCC at oral submissions in December.
Details for the competiton will be made available closer to the time and all entries must be in by 30th of September 2009. Go Facebook Save Manners Mall.
So, despite the theme being incorrectly spelt, (did she mean “Relax, You’re in…” or did she mean “Relax your All in Manners Mall”?), it’s perhaps time for the Fish to swim back into the fray. We had a long and fruitful discussion on this subject last time (our most commented on discussion ever, I believe, with over 60 comments and over 800 active searches), so it is something that Wellingtonians do take very seriously. While we like Cuba St a lot (and discussed it here) and wondered what would replace it (discussed that one here), it seems to me that we need to see in detail what the plans actually are. And there’s the rub: they haven’t yet been published in full. Herriot Melluish Architects are a good design practice, and we’re waiting to see their designs with interest. But the key to the success or failure of this proposal depends completely on how the pedestrian spaces are configured. Here is the current situation, with bus routes and major car routes added:
And here is the proposed plan as published so far: with our interpretation of the likely car and bus routes marked on. I’ve circled the major pedestrian / car intersections in green: these are going to be the (quite literally) crunch points.
You’ll notice that there are more green ‘crunch’ spots on the After proposal than there are on the Before. That’s because at present, there is an almost uninterrupted pedestrian walkway from the top of Cuba, right down to Willis St. That’s an almost unheard of pedestrian bonus for a city – that for the most part, pedestrians do not have to fight with traffic for right of way. It’s what makes Willis St and Lambton Quay so successful in terms of market rent – the highest in the country, much better than Queen St in Auckland.
But so it is also the area that HMA need to get right – the intersections are crucial. I’m picking that the design will need to keep cars and trucks out of Manners St where they exist at present. The design will also need to give decent pedestrian priority to the crossing points marked in green, and reduce that tendency of cars and buses to charge on through. It’s a hard road picking the perfect city.