Slowly but surely, at a majestic but glacial pace, Let’s Get Wellington Moving are moving forwards. Well, moving, at least. Maybe it is forwards. Maybe it is sideways. But at least it is not backwards. They’ve released some proposals, and want your / our feedback. And that means it is time for a closer look.
Evidently, LGWM are working on this whole project bit by bit. And for today, this bit of the whole package is the detailing of the Golden Mile, in closer detail than we have seen before. While I can understand that they need to move forward, and that this is the only piece they have “consulted” on before, I find it frustrating, and more than just a wee bit stupid.
If I was in charge (and quite obviously, I’m not, and never will be), I would make the big decisions first, like: what sort of high speed rapid public transit system are we having? And secondly, what is the exact route it is travelling? Because, after all, those are the most important decisions of the whole project. And thirdly, how does it connect to our existing mass transport systems, because that is the only way that we can get passenger numbers to flow through at the current junction.
But instead, LGWM are doing this piecemeal, and are just showing the Golden Mile, so I’m placing these blow-ups of what they are planning here, all at the same scale, so that you can see what is proposed. The website must be quite expensive, to say the least, and there is no indication over who is actually doing the work – is it one traffic consultant, or is it a consortia of architects, traffic engineers, landscape designers, etc, and who are they?
But the cool thing is that it seems that people’s comments are being retained, live, on the map, so that we all can see what other people are saying. Perhaps people get to choose their own logo? There’s evidently a Landscape person who has been quite vocal already – and the site has only been open for a day so far!
It’s a wee bit frustrating – very hard to really see much detail on a laptop, but the more you zoom in, the more detail you can see – although it is still very far away from doing actual working drawings. And while most of the decisions are sensible and entirely predictable and logical, some of them are a trifle concerning, to me.
The most concerning to the Eye of the Fish is that LGWM are proposing something that retains existing pinch points and does not address them in a way to ensure that the LGWM will not / cannot clog up. And to me that is a vital point. The Golden Mile is being retained as a way for the buses to be retained, from end to end, allowing the Waterfront Quays to be used as a route for Rapid Transit. That’s fair enough.
That also means that the bus-route (eventually, they will all be electric, and quiet, but for now still belching diesel fumes out at everyone walking) – the bus route absolutely needs to keep flowing. As we know, the bus route is already clogged, but this pressure will be relieved at some point in the future, when the RT starts up a hop, skip and a jump away along the Quays.
But we also know that buses can, and do, break down, and electric buses are no exception. There will be the need for the massive breakdown truck to get in and tow away a dead EV bus at some stage – so we always need to retain room for that to happen.
In fact, access for trucks of all kinds is one of the most vital parts of the plan, and something that I sincerely hope that LGWM have been furiously consulting on with every retailer and office dweller along the Mile. Putting it bluntly – how does McDonalds get it’s fries delivered to their door (and a thousand other businesses as well).
Obviously no one needs to get a car park outside Kirkcaldies any more – and it hasn’t been that way for years (I know, I know, Davy Jones locker etc, but honestly, that was never going to work – department stores have long since had their day) – but I guess that some buildings still have basement car-parking that they would like to access? And of course, Ubers and Taxis need to be able to get close to pick up those that cannot walk that far – or all of us, when it is raining.
So all those side streets now abut up to the edge of the Mile but go no further (Panama, Brandon, etc), and that all makes sense, except for the exceptions. The major junctions where we know there will be a major junction dysfunction, where Public Passenger Transport clashes with Private Transport. Where Car meets Bus, and where Bike meets Pedestrian, and where the rubber meets the road. Those junctions like the Mile vs Taranaki St, for instance.
Or the main pinch point and junction in the city for the last 182 years – around the Old BNZ corner, or Stewart Dawson’s corner, Windy Point or Clay Point, whatever you want to call it – have they resolved that clash point of transports here, yet, in these plans? Voice your comments below.
And of course, put your comments on the LGWM interactive map – and most of all, send your comments in to LGWM – we have until 14 August, only one month away. Email them at email@example.com