Well, Well, Welly. Wellington City Council weren’t joking when they said they were going to start work on the Manners Mall bus route. Notice in the paper one day, ripping up those horrid concrete bricks (not one of the design team’s best choices it would seem) the next day. One of our regular readers sent this pic in as they started work:

Design of the existing space, as I think I am safely allowed to say now, was pretty damn awful. Sorry Ath, it sucked in a most dreary manner. Actually, most things suck in Manners, but I digress. The concrete bricks were… a failure. The brick bricks, even more of a failure. I think we all know that, especially from the little trails of asphalt left in their place. The little galvanised cages for the plants, with the tractor seats on top – I understand the concept, but sadly they were a failure as well. Ugly, cold, the lights failed and the plants and trees never really survived the onset of Gothicus Masticus, the nasty blight affecting all the trees at least.

However, sadly, the design of the proposed new space is, as far as the Fish is concerned, still horribly wrong.

Buses, yes.

Car parks down Dixon, no.

Cars sharing part of Manners St – I really don’t know whether that is In or Out, as the quality of the design plans were so poor. I had been naively thinking that the Council might send them back for another go – can’t quite believe that they’re building from them. Actually, I’d strongly suggest that the next set of plans (for lower Cuba, Dixon St, Manners St etc) all be given to a company that specialises in creating nice places for people – an architect, or landscape architect, and certainly not a traffic engineer as per the current set. It is too important for Wellington to get it wrong. But who am I to criticise? After all, I’m just a Fish, albeit a Wellingtonian who has to walk this way every day for the next 50 years.

We can only presume that somewhere there exists a set of plans that shows lovingly thought out kerbing details, a selection of carefully coordinated paving slabs, integration of lighting in a sensitive manner (a sensitive Manner even), well planned and comfortably built seating at strategic points, and cleverly thought out design decisions on all the intersections. That’s the way it was done in Auckland down Queen St, where they won national awards for the design, and also in Wellington’s own Kumutoto, which still pleases me as a place for where the plaice meets the rat race.

Anyway, in the mean time, it appears that we’re preparing a place for Gondolas, as the street was turning into a lake yesterday, or at the very least the workers seemed to be digging a new canal….

Venice here we come!

Ooh, and one last thing: there’s a comment on a previous post of ours, that says it comes from John Key. Have we really cracked open the cabinet then? Read on…