The Golden Mile is going to be pedestrianised – and that is great news. Great news to me, great news for Wellingtonians, great news for visitors to our city if they ever return, but apparently some of the retailers along Lambton Quay feel that this is not great news. I’m not sure why – nobody in their right mind tries to drive to their favourite retailer in Wellington at the moment, so I’m not sure why they would in the future.
We’re not alone in this move to pedestrianise the main shopping street of our city. Guess who else is doing this? Well, Auckland for a start – they’ve been making plans for that for some time. New York is going that way too, with large chunks of Broadway being made into cycle-friendly and pedestrian friendly spaces over the past decade. And now London is going the same way too, with an announcement that Oxford Circus to be pedestrianised coming out on the same day as our announcement here.
Full pedestrianisation is not being attempted in either city, with the main thoroughfare still being kept clear for buses. Of course, in London they also have an Underground tube line running directly beneath the roadway (Central line) and of course the much-awaited and ever-delayed but finally almost-here arrival of CrossRail running below that.
This is a pretty big move for London – for those of you that don’t know, Oxford Circus is a grand public space that was never really able to be enjoyed due to all the endless traffic going through – so I’m amazed and impressed that they have managed to figure out a way to cut the traffic off in at least one direction. We here in the capital of NewZillun are also cutting off traffic entering from the side streets, but the result is not quite as impressive – largely because there was never that much side-road traffic in the first place.
So – what do you reckon?
Post-script: Here is the “draft” plan that LGWM have posted up – almost pointless in its simplicity. Yes, OK, it shows some of the streets being shut off, most of which are an absolute “no-brainer” in terms of things to do. But of course what it implies, but doesn’t explicitly state, is the remaining intersections which will stay full of traffic. And that’s where I have a problem with the LGWM approach – they need to show an integrated response. An overall masterplan. A coordinated interaction plan of all the various modes of transport – you simply cannot do these things one by one – they need to be organised, planned, designed, coordinated, integrated etc – all as one.
Which areas am I talking about?
Well, these for a start! I have a number of issues with LGWM issuing such an incomplete plan. First of all – how does the rest of the “Masterplan” interact with what you have shown? We get that there is a Slow Bus route down through the Pedestrianised Golden Mile. But can you also please show us what the route is for the RAPID Transit? I’ve made a stab at it in green. Am I right? How are you going to resolve this at the places where the two routes cross? Underground? Overground? Wombling free? Next: major intersection/clash points – I’ve shown in red. I think that LGWM made a start at these cross over areas, but they will require a lot of work. The grey lines indicate roads with cars still moving on them. Victoria St, Willis St, Cambridge Tce, all these require careful design consideration. Especially Taranaki St, as this is the major clash point between two or three routes. Next: how will Tory Street work if cut off like that? I use this route all the time when I drive, and I have no doubt that it can be made to work, but LGWM are on a hiding to nothing if they don’t produce a diagram to show how the traffic needs can be resolved. We need that now, not later… And last (for now) where would the Cycle route(s) go? Along the bus route? Crossing the bus route? Beside the Light Rail? Through the pedestrians? Again – LGWM have already got some of the answers on this – but they need to be out in the public realm NOW. To help them along, I’ve started off a Masterplan for them to work on, with some missing pieces for them to fill in….