Three different concepts for making the Golden Mile better for people and buses have been released for community feedback today.
“Improving the Golden Mile is an important part of Let’s Get Wellington Moving’s plan to move more people with fewer vehicles and support Wellington’s growth,” Transport Minister Phil Twyford said.
The Golden Mile is the shopping and entertainment heart of Wellington City and one of the busiest pedestrian areas in the country. It runs from Lambton Quay through Willis and Manners streets to Courtenay Place. It’s also the core of the city’s bus network – bringing 36,000 people to and from the city on a typical weekday.
“On a normal day, the Golden Mile is at capacity - buses get stuck in congestion and footpaths are overcrowded. Fixing these issues now will help pave the way for better public transport and create a more attractive place for Wellingtonians to spend time and shop,” Mr Twyford said.
The three concepts are “Streamline” which takes some general traffic off the Golden Mile while making buses more reliable, “Prioritise” which goes further by fully prioritising buses and pedestrians, and “Transform” which changes the road layout to make pedestrian spaces up to 75% wider, bus lanes and, in some places, dedicated areas for people on bikes.
The preferred option, to be confirmed in September, may be a combination of these three concepts. Detailed planning and implementation will be underway from 2021.
“These concepts reflect the changes people have told us they want for the future of their city. We’re trying to create an accessible, liveable city with more space for people and great public transport, and the Golden Mile is a key part of that vision.
“Improving the Golden Mile will help get the city ready for other Let’s Get Wellington Moving projects including bus priority on key suburban routes into the city, an integrated mass rapid transport network, improvements at the Basin Reserve and an extra Mt Victoria tunnel,” Mr Twyford said.
Wellington Mayor Andy Foster says there’s been a long-held desire to make changes to the Golden Mile, but how far people want to take these changes vary.
“This is a chance for all Wellingtonians to have a say about the level of transformation they really want for this key part of our city.
“Deliveries and pickup spaces are important to business owners along the Golden Mile. That’s why Let’s Get Wellington Moving will be talking to delivery companies and businesses about the workability of proposals of changing or removing on-street parking and relocating loading zones,” Mayor Foster said.
Chair of Greater Wellington Regional Council Daran Ponter says bus priority on the Golden Mile is one of the key levers for reducing travel time variability in Wellington City.
“We welcome these options. Bus drivers tell us that no two days in Wellington City are the same and that they are locked in a constant battle against the city’s layout and pinch points like the Golden Mile as they try to get from one side of the city to the other.
“Alongside better pedestrian and cycle access, bus prioritisation on the Golden Mile also means we can make the most of our current and future electric buses, making the core of our city a cleaner and greener place to work, shop, visit and enjoy,” says Chair Ponter.
In late 2019, Wellingtonians were asked how they’d like to see the Golden Mile improved. Many people wanted private vehicles removed from the Golden Mile entirely or some of the time, buses to be given priority, more cycle lanes, and closures of side streets. On the footpaths people wanted to reduce crowding and clutter, and make sure people on bikes and e-scooters weren’t using them. These ideas helped develop the three concepts the community are now being asked for feedback on.
From this week residents, business operators and property owners along the Golden Mile will receive letters encouraging them to give feedback. There will also be events for businesses and the community – an opportunity to ask questions of the project team.
Feedback on the three concepts is open until 26 July. Find out more and have your say at lgwm.nz/goldenmile.
Let’s Get Wellington Moving is a partnership between Wellington City Council, Greater Wellington Regional Council, and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.
Let’s Get Wellington Moving’s vision is to build a great harbour city, accessible to all, with attractive places, shared streets, and efficient local and regional journeys.