MANNERS MALL OPTIONS
- Revoke the pedestrian-only status to allow for a two-way bus route. (pictured)
- Keep the mall but ban vehicles turning right from Victoria St into Manners St.
- Make a two-way bus route via Mercer St, Wakefield St, lower Cuba St and Manners St east.
- Make a two-way bus route via Dixon St and upper Willis St.
The proposed Manners Mall makeover is relatively uninteresting, as was expected.
However, given that this design is clearly indicating that the Mall become a ‘shared street’, it raises concerns about how the interaction between buses and pedestrians will play out. Even under the Council’s busway plan, Manners will remain as a key pedestrian route, and it would seem highly possible that the heavy flow of people on foot will be at odds with the new public transit traffic. If you visualise the pedestrian flow of present-day Manners, and overlay it with the bus traffic of a hypothetical two-way Lower Cuba, will these two programmes really be able to exist seamlessly? As pictured above, it is highly likely that people will regularly cross between the northern and southern footpaths, which could create serious delays during peak times. Of course, this is assuming that the WCC will follow their Auckland counterparts, and propose that pedestrians be given legal right of way within shared streets.
The other major question is: where are the bus stops? Will the stops and shelters currently placed in Lower Cuba be shifted over to Manners? At the moment, these stops take up a significant portion of the street, and if shifted to Manners, would reduce the amount of open footpath even further. The image above would seem slightly disingenuous if it is ignoring this fact.
LOWER CUBA ST OPTIONS
- Parallel parking on west side only, pedestrian space of 2040 square metres, 10 to 12 car parks.
- Parallel parking on both sides, pedestrian space of 1836sqm, 20 to 24 car parks. (pictured)
- 90-degree parking on west side only, pedestrian space of 1574sqm, 30 to 40 car parks.
The proposed design of Lower Cuba is a little more interesting. Car parking is reduced, made parallel, and generous footpath spaces are provided — particularly on the Eastern edge. However it’s a shame that there are few stores-fronts that could really make use of these new spaces. Although the Lido already makes use of Al Fresco dining, the possibility of the DTL or Burger King expanding onto the footpath would seem less certain, especially given that they receive the short end of the stick — a paltry 4.5m of footpath, compared to the 7.5m on the other side of the road.
A way to mitigate this distance, and encourage pedestrian inhabitation of these areas, could be for the council to provide cheap and flexible seats and tables, such as those found outside cafes such as Astoria. By making such seats public and flexible, people can bring food and friends to the space, rather than being compelled to purchase from a street-side cafe. Theft is of course, always an issue, but this option has been successfully implemented, such as in New York’s Times Square, or Bryant Park.
Anyway, that’s all for know. Let us know what you think of the mockups and any questions they raise.