The Eye of the Fish

Philip
March 8, 2008

Courtenay 2.0

Is it just me, or has the media coverage of the proposed Courtenay Place changes focused a little too much on the issues related to the curbing of an “out-of-control” party zone, much to the detriment of several other important issues. For example, in the Dominion Post it was noted that:

“Out-of-control drinking … has prompted a radical review, which could result in which could result in closed-circuit television cameras scanning the streets, a 24/7 alcohol ban and peak-hour traffic blocked.”

The polemic of Courtenay as a dangerous embarrassment may or may not be entirely valid, and I understand the usefullness of alcohol bans and CCTVs, but of what relevance are the drinking problems to restrictions on peak-hour traffic? 8am and 6pm are hardly the epicenters of anti-social drunkenness. I feel these changes should stand on their own merits; if implemented, this change – and several others in the same vein – would have a dramatic effects on how the area operates.

Another interesting suggestion is to increase the amount of outdoor space available to bars and resteraunts by removing car parks and extending the footpath – particularly on the Courtney ends of Blair and Allen. Although, it seems that blurring the lines between street and bar could create some strife with any new crack-down on public drinking.

Other proposals include:

Having not found a developer for the proposed wine bar, it has also been recently envisioned that the heritage Toilets becomes a storage area/dressing room for the music, theatre and performances that Courtenay Park is aiming to host. I’m slightly skeptical about the use of the park as an outdoor venue for such activities, it’s awkwardly shaped, relatively small and in the middle of heavy pedestrian traffic. Surely this would not be an ideal spot for anything beyond very small performances?

I like the direction proposed for Courtenay, an increased focus on pedestrian qualities seems to be the right direction for the area. However given the recent drama raised when Courtenay Park overwrote several parking spaces, is it realistic to assume that car access to the area can be realistically limited, or even removed?

Should – and can – Courtenay become the new Cuba St?

http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominionpost/4429291a6000.html
http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominionpost/4425514a6000.html
http://www.captimes.co.nz/news/32/n/1701/ChangeforCourtenayPlace.boss

erentz
8 - 03 - 08

Sshh. I thought the focus on crime was a nice bit of political manouvering. (If that’s what it was.) “Hey, we’re going to close Courtenay Place because it’s dangerous and there is lots of violence and other bad nasty stuff. Ahem, and ahh, also during peak hours, ahem.”

I think most people in this town are more likely to support closures to streets for this reason than if you were to suggest closures for traffic management, or the creation of pedestrian spaces.

cc Vince
8 - 03 - 08

As a bar manager in the area I think any steps towards cutting the level of intoxication on the street is a good idea.

The 24 hour ban would be great however it needs to be combined with a higher level of awareness in the bars of the laws and need to not serve intoxicated people or even allow them on premise. It’s all fair and well to say no to drinking on the street but many bars in the area allow a far too high level of intoxication.

Also, more outdoor space would be good during summer but we’re not exactly on the med here, I can’t see alot of people wanting to sit out side mid-winter in a good old fashioned southerly

Maximus
8 - 03 - 08

“peak hour traffic blocked” ? arguably, i suppose, there are more people there at 2am on a Saturday morning than at 9am on a weekday morning, and so therefore after midnight IS peak hour traffic… There’s certainly no need to drive down there at that time of night, unless you have a big spoiler on your boot, and have a car that has mag wheels bigger than your necklace…. If they are going to stop them woompfing though, i’m all in favour. But i pity the poor folks who bought apartments to be near the “entertainment zone” cos their lack of sleep is just going to get worse…

Maximus
8 - 03 - 08

cc vince – well, sitting outside in a southerly is fine if you have enough clothes on, but if you’re in your skimpy little dancing number, as most of them seem to be… ….hmmmm.

actually, i don’t mind how much people drink, but i do object to how loud they get when they’re off their trolley. Perhaps a beeter solution is compulsory muzzling for all the underage drinkers who can’t handle their liquor…

Stephen Judd
8 - 03 - 08

Well, let this be the thin end of the wedge for a pedestrian-only precinct that goes from Kent/Cambridge up Courtenay, along Manners and through down to the lower end of Lambton Quay.

Really, it’ll be great.

However, I strongly oppose the cameras. Let’s not extend the panopticon further.

cc Vince
9 - 03 - 08

Maximus you make a good point, would be a shame to see skimpy little dancing numbers go…and to quote the ad your right in the fact that its not what but how people drink.
I think that’s where cameras will come in handy. I’m hoping that a few very noticeable and obvious cameras along with several not so noticeable cameras will make people think twice about being loud and idiotic when they realise there will be pretty high definition evidence the next day.

David
9 - 03 - 08

I’d be in favour of pedestrianisation (‘cept for buses) and much wider pavements.

But I think feet on the ground would be a better option that security cameras. Why don’t all the entertainment venues club together and sponsor a couple of police to be on duty from sunset till late?

lgm
10 - 03 - 08

greater pedestrianisation sounds like a good plan to me – but perhaps more narrowing of the street than complete obliteration of cars – perhaps linking to the pedestrianisation of Dixon Street and on to Cuba mall. I think the slow moving traffic along Courtney is part of its fabulously festival atmosphere – we’ve also got to make sure there’s enough room for the occasional street parade vehicles!!
I’m also not keen on CCTV cameras – but could be fun if the footage was projected around the city. Those drunken little teenagers are a hoot to watch… I know they’re loud and a pain for apartment dwellers but the life of Courtney place is an important part of the city – I think it should be cherished.

Alex
10 - 03 - 08

Traffic flow through Courtenay is quite fast. I remember in the mid 90’s being stuck on buses on my way to work, it was quicket to get off at Courtenay Place and walk to the MidCity Centre. Never occurs to me anymore. However, as a rule, I am for greater pedestrianisation – not sure it needs total closure though. Sometimes (slow) passing cars add to the streets safety.

erentz
13 - 03 - 08

Alex, “Traffic flow through Courtenay is quite fast.”

Woah! When? I don’t take the bus through C Plc anymore since I moved jobs last year so maybe it’s changed a bit. But at peak times then it was dire, as you experienced in the mid 90’s it was notably faster to walk from Willis St to Courtenay Place. This seemed to be due to two things, 1) cars filling up space in Cuba/Manners St, and Courtenay Plc. and 2) the pedestrian crossing on C Plc stopping traffic.

Anyway, anyone noticed that the intersection of C Plc and Taranaki now has three lanes instead of the old two? It now has a dedicated left turning lane. Maybe it’s just for during the construction I dunno, or maybe it’s permanent to replace the pseudo-free turn that used to be there.. (I’d assumed the moving of the median was in preparation for widening the path beside the toilets, but looks like maybe that wasn’t the case.)

erentz
13 - 03 - 08

Oh and naturally 3) dwell times with more busses and more passengers meaning more of them paying for their tickets meaning longer dwell times and more congestion.