MaximusAugust 23, 2010
The Syntax of Public Transport
Following on from previous discussions on all things transport and urban, I’ve had a play round and tried to depict some of the issues that are striking the city planners and traffic engineers – as well as causing wrangles between Mayor Kerry and Sir Bob Jones. No doubt the Council has much more sophisticated diagrams in their possession, but they’ve not shared those with the public yet. So the Fish is going to step into the Void and try to contribute.
This first image here has a combined Golden Mile pedestrian route (shown in a yellowy gold, of course), along with a Green line as a dedicated route for Public Transport. There’s a deep purple colour indicating the heavy traffic of the Motorway and the Waterfront (which, to be honest, at 4 lanes wide each way, is really just a very slow motorway), and then a lighter purple which shows ‘local’ car use in the few primary routes. If the Golden Mile was to be pedestrianised, ie no cars or taxis (somehow the problem of goods vans / trucks still has to be resolved), but still allow Public Transport (buses, trolleys, or perhaps Light Rail), then this is the sort of result we would get. It is a fantastic result for both Public Transport (no getting clogged up by cars and trucks), and for pedestrians (you can get off your bus or tram right at the door of your office building / government department). While this works well for those groups, it is not so good for people driving cars. As you can see, there is a serious clash point of cars, buses and people at Hunter St – that’s outside the MLC building and the giant green M&M sculpture. There are currently two lanes of traffic curving round at that point – but it is a bit questionable how well it would work if one goes each way.
On this next image, we see what happens to Wellington if Sir Bob gets his way: with the Golden Mile pedestrianised and the Public Transport route removed – in this case, I’ve assumed it moves a block back to Featherston St.
You can see here the problem that immediately arises – a clash / lack of complete clear route for ordinary local car traffic through the flat area of the CBD. The purple line (local car traffic, including taxis etc) has vanished as a complete route. If the Public Transport route was kept completely for buses only, etc, and Lambton Quay was there only for people, then cars have no real option but to go along the waterfront (or, if that is congested, squeeze along the Terrace – or take the Motorway out of town). So, realistically, that just won’t do at all. Back to the drawing board, it seems. Sorry, Bob!
In the next image, there is another option, which allows for partial pedestrianisation on parts of the Golden Mile (coincidentally, particularly around Sir Robert’s end of town), and is a cross between what we have today along Willis St, and allows a 2-way car route along Victoria St. Would that work?
Again, as you can see, there is a complete disconnect of local traffic where it collides with the Waterfront Quay. I’m not convinced that really works either northward or southward.
There is one other option I’m going to try (I’m sure there are millions of other options, but that’s enough for today!), where we accept that the waterfront is the place for people and public transport, and we pretend that this is the future where the Council has cut down on the cars going along the waterfront.
Actually, this works brilliantly for Public Transport, with a straightforward, clear, fast route from Railway Station into the Courtenay Quarter, and allows a route for local car traffic through town. Trouble is, that leaves the Transport far away from the street where people want to be, ie on the Golden Mile. There would also be issues over whether to have the Public Transport on the City side, or the Sea side. Over time, there would be a gradual movement of shops etc towards the sea, as that is where people would be getting off the bus / tram. So: while this would work well if the city was to adopt something like a Light Rail system, allowing a speedy service through town, it could also have a detrimental effect on passenger numbers, which renders the whole thing a bit pointless.
Any other suggestions?