New designs show a car-free Golden Mile in Wellington


Let's Get Wellington Moving has released the detailed design for Wellington's Golden Mile Pedestrianization Plan.  1 credit

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Let’s Get Wellington Moving has released the detailed design for Wellington’s Golden Mile Pedestrianization Plan. 1 credit

A car-free Golden Mile is one step closer to reality, with new information on Wellington’s central streets pedestrianization plan.

Details, including artists’ impressions of the streets, were released on Monday as Let’s Get Wellington Moving again asked for comment. This is the fourth round of consultation, following rounds on earlier versions of the project in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

The big decision to remove private vehicle access has already been made, after strong opposition from Wellington retailers and a heated debate in Wellington City Council. The project’s latest budget is between $85 million and $100 million.

Now the finer points are worth consulting – things like bus stop locations, where to place trees and seats on the widened pathways, how delivery and rideshare drivers would get around the city, and how ensure that the plan is accessible to everyone.

READ MORE:
* Golden Mile or rocky road: Council approves car-free plan after heated debate
* “Detailed plan” for Let’s Get Wellington Moving which will be reviewed by project partners in the coming weeks
* Cars will be banned from Wellington’s Golden Mile within three years

The designs show a Golden Mile – the stretch along Lambton Quay, Willis St, Manners St and Courtenay Pl – where buses and pedestrians are given priority, with expanded pedestrian space and room for amenities like furniture urban and trees. Construction is expected to begin in the first half of 2023.

The widened walking path and cycle path planned for Lambton Quay.

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The widened walking path and cycle path planned for Lambton Quay.

A key question in consultation is how to avoid problems between scooters, pedestrians and cyclists. Let’s Get Wellington Moving is considering setting a speed limit for bikes and e-bikes in the new shared areas.

Although buses would move faster in dedicated bus lanes, the plan would reduce the number of bus stops (from 15 to 10). The map shows just five pairs of bus stops along the Golden Mile, but says they are strategically placed so that no pedestrian is more than five minutes from a bus stop.

The old paving slabs on Courtenay Pl and Lambton Quay would be replaced, but more minor changes would take place on Willis and Manners streets, where there was less room to create “substantial new urban areas”.

The detailed design of Lambton Quay.

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The detailed design of Lambton Quay.

The updated plan addresses some concerns raised earlier in the process. Lambton Quay businesses were concerned that delivery trucks would not be able to access their businesses from side streets, so the new plan includes a proposal for truck deliveries between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., and 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Uber has also been considered in the detailed design – taxis and rideshares will be able to use a service road on Courtenay Pl between 9pm and 6am. To “recognize the key role food delivery services play in supporting local businesses”, food delivery scooters will also be able to use the service lane for deliveries between 4pm and 6am.

During the day, the service road will be exclusively reserved for cyclists, scooters and skateboarders.

About 100 parking lots will be removed from the Golden Mile and more than 200 will be removed from side streets, which will be converted into two-way dead-end streets. Priority for the new cul-de-sacs will be mobility parks, roundabouts and loading areas for couriers accessing the Golden Mile, which means less on-street parking for drivers.

The map of the cul-de-sacs leading to the Golden Mile.

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The map of the cul-de-sacs leading to the Golden Mile.

Some private vehicles will still be able to access the Golden Mile, if they are licensed or heavy delivery vehicles. The details of the permit system are still being worked out. The access times currently offered are between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. and between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

All streets will be accessible 24/7 for emergency vehicles.

Consultation on the detailed design of the Golden Mile is now open via an interactive map.

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