Wellington Scoop

Golden Mile feedback: strong support for significant changes

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The results of LGWM’s public feedback on changes to Wellington’s Golden Mile changes have overwhelmingly backed the most radical of the three proposed options – the ‘Transform’ plan which bans cars, widens footpaths, adds cycle lanes, and closes some side streets to through traffic. But LGWM – ever cautious – is not yet committing to this plan.

LGWM reports today:

Overall there was a strong desire and interest from the general community for significant change (in line with concepts two and three).

People wanted to see increased community spaces and amenities that would encourage people to congregate and spend time in the city, as well as public transport being given priority over private motor vehicles.

They also wanted to see dedicated cycling and scooting facilities, and service vehicle access at certain times of day/night.

Feedback from community groups and organisations expressed similar desires. Often preferring concept two or three, or a combination. These groups and organisations expressed interest in detailed design elements, like accessibility, and phasing changes to see progressive improvements over time.

Feedback from the majority of retail and hospitality businesses and the groups that represent them, along with transporters expressed either opposition to the concepts entirely or concerns over certain aspects of the concepts such as reducing parking, general vehicle and service vehicle access – saying these play a vital role in their operation and the relocation, reduction or removal of these facilities would negatively impact their business. The impacts and future uncertainties of Covid-19 heightened these concerns. This was reiterated in their desire to keep service vehicles on the Golden Mile at all times, not create further open spaces (often saying the area was already too quiet) and had little preference for cycling and scooting facilities.

What people liked

Overall people most commonly commented that they liked more space being provided for pedestrians, buses being given priority and removal of general traffic. People said that they liked the closure of side streets noting that this will make it safer for people walking and on bikes and provide opportunity for the creation of people friendly spaces along the Golden Mile.

People also told us they liked the proposal to consolidate the number of bus stops, often acknowledging that these are currently quite close together and there would be benefits in spreading them out in order to allow buses to move quicker along the corridor. People also noted that any changes to bus stop locations needed further consideration particularly to ensure that the needs of those with limited mobility were catered for.

People were very supportive of having space available for cycling and other active modes along both Lambton Quay and Courtenay Place. Most felt it was very important these facilities were dedicated (e.g. separation), as it would be the safest option and therefore attract more users.

What people disliked

As with what people liked there was also a wide range of feedback on what people didn’t like about the concepts.Key concerns were raised around the removal of general traffic, car parking and loading zones along the corridor and the impact that these changes might have on businesses and concern around access for those with limited mobility.Generally, people felt that access for service vehicles should be retained. People noted that on-street parking was important so shoppers could still drive into the city with ease rather than choosing to shop at a regional shopping mall instead.

Concept three – This concept was preferred by the majority of feedback received. They said that they liked the significant increase in pedestrian space, along with the provision for cycling and scooters. As with concept two, people expressed concern that removal of general traffic, parking and loading zones may have a negative impact on businesses. Alternatively, others said they felt that the design, particularly closing side streets, would attract more people and result in economic benefits. As opposed to concept two, people also raised concerns that having only one bus lane in each direction would mean buses may not be able to overtake each other, particularly at bus stops, which would slow bus journeys down. People also raised that this concept had the highest costs, some noting that perhaps the move to this concept could be undertaken over time to manage costs and impacts…

…The next step for the project is to undertake detailed assessments of the concepts and identify a preferred option. This option may be a combination of the concepts. Once the preferred option is identified, a more detailed design will be developed that will be shared with the community for feedback before it’s implemented. The feedback received on the three concepts has provided us with a range of key things to think about and to be investigated further as the project progresses.These have been split into two categories. The first being further information needed around the impacts and benefits of each concept. The second being several elements that need to be considered as the detailed design for the preferred option is developed as part of the Golden Mile business case.

News from LGWM
Nearly 2000 people, businesses, groups and organisations gave feedback on the future of the Golden Mile during public engagement in June – August this year. An engagement report summarising their feedback has now been published on the Let’s Get Wellington Moving website.

Three possible design concepts for changes to the Golden Mile were developed following public engagement in 2019, when Wellingtonians told us what they wanted to see on the mile that runs from Lambton Quay to Courtenay Place.

In June-August 2020 we spoke to Wellingtonians again and asked them to tell us what that they liked or didn’t like about these concepts and why. We also asked people to tell us which concept they preferred for the different sections of the Golden Mile, as we understand that each street that makes up the area is different.

Let’s Get Wellington Moving Programme Director, Andrew Body says the programme is pleased with the level of engagement it received.

“The Golden Mile isn’t just important to the region and network, it’s important to people and the community. We’ve received a diverse range of invaluable feedback on these concepts, and we’re very thankful for the level of honest engagement we received,” says Mr Body.

“The responses to our online survey have shown strong community support for significant changes – especially for public transport, walking and cycling. We’ve also heard the concerns from some of the retail and hospitality businesses located in and around the Golden Mile.”

The feedback received is being used to help assess the concepts and identify a preferred option, which could be a combination of the concepts. It will also help the project understand how a preferred option could be improved, adjusted or staged.

Let’s Get Wellington Moving is a partnership between the Wellington City Council, the 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.


  1. Mike Mellor, 28. October 2020, 11:42

    Excellent to see that the majority of submitters supported the transformational option 3, while most opposed the do-minimum option 1.

    So option 3, modified as necessary, must be the preferred opinion – let’s get on with it.

  2. greenwelly, 28. October 2020, 13:42

    2022 is the current timeline for actual implementation….
    + then these is the small issue of who pays…. given
    A) that the options document already noted that option 3 was almost twice the indicative budget… and
    b) WCC seems rather pushed for funding on pipes and buildings at the moment….

  3. K, 28. October 2020, 16:03

    “The next step for the project is to undertake detailed assessments of the concepts and identify a preferred option” – Didn’t they just identify the overwhelmingly preferred option??? Or is this what they do when they want another chance to somehow allow cars in the final design.

  4. Patrick Morgan, 28. October 2020, 16:04

    There are 29,000 car parks in central Wellington, including on and off street. Let’s repurpose a few hundred to make room for bus lanes, bike lanes, wider footpaths, green space, and retail. We’ll all be better off. [via twitter]

  5. Claire, 28. October 2020, 16:31

    Can someone tell me the point of making the Golden mile carless. This is our premier shopping strip where the shops want to be because of foot traffic. They are the very important small businesses that also rely on people parking close by to pick up and deliver, goods for the shop, and customers to shop and take largish bundles to their cars. Hard to takes big packages on a bike. Also where do the cars get parked if there’s limited parking.

  6. k, 28. October 2020, 16:58

    Claire. The premier shopping strip would be amazingly more attractive to shoppers if you remove the parking and make the pedestrian area much wider for easier transit and also ability to host outdoor dining, like other premier shopping areas around the world. Under any carless proposal, access for supply/service vehicles will still be maintained. The amount of people who are carrying a package of such tremendous size from a shop that they need a car outside the door is a tiny niche case, and for these people a cart can be used to get the extra tens of meters needed to a side street with vehicle access – just like they do at an indoor shopping mall. I’m struggling to think of a single shop on the golden mile that would sell such sized products. (It is also next to impossible to park a car outside many shops on the golden mile as it is, so this example isn’t really that valid).

  7. Dave B, 28. October 2020, 17:42

    If cars and parking are so important along the Golden Mile, how come Cuba Mall seems to work so well without either? Cuba Mall and its numerous successful businesses surely gives the lie to those Golden Mile business-people who claim that their shops would fail without car-parking right outside.

  8. Traveller, 28. October 2020, 18:20

    Claire. You can’t park close by the shops at Queensgate or any other big malls. You have to walk … carrying your purchases. Or have them delivered, which is no problem these days.
    And Dave B is correct when he refers to the success of the traffic-free part of Cuba Street – it’s the city’s healthiest and most pleasant shopping area.

  9. Joel MacManus, 28. October 2020, 18:43

    An interesting data point: Only 14% of people said they travelled to the Golden Mile by car (less than any other method). Only 4% of people use cars to get around the Golden Mile. The idea that Lambton Quay businesses are dependent on car traffic just doesn’t bear out. [via twitter]

  10. Claire, 28. October 2020, 21:40

    Cuba Street is more akin to Courtenay Place ie restaurants and bars. Sitting out eating and drinking in a courtyard style may work there.
    European square and broadwalk dining is about multitudes of restaurants, not clothes shops. This sounds to me like nice to have in the Golden Mile. WCC needs to fix the pipes. Forget about the nice to haves till the basics are looking good. And please borrow borrow borrow, money will probably never be as cheap.

  11. Ralf, 29. October 2020, 12:06

    Kind of expected outcome. Citizens prefer option 3 since it makes the city more liveable and walkable.
    Business prefer option 0 since they are not interested in new business and want to cater only to existing out-of-town shoppers.
    Council prefer option 2, option 1 and 3 were given as extreme outcomes to make option 2 looking as a good compromise (option 3 was never a realistic suggestion since it was priced out of the given budget). It also allows them to push their bus solution over alternatives.

    The clear majority seems to be for option 3 though (and looking at the election results in Wellington I think this was not just a loud minority but is actually the wish of the majority) so we will see whether the council will go for option 2 or include some (or all) of option 3 going forward.

  12. greenwelly, 29. October 2020, 14:32

    @Ralf, It’s not a Council decision (at least at first). It’s in the Hands of this “thing” called LGWM. Whether the council gets the final decision on anything that comes out of LGWM is unclear.

  13. Teri O'Neill, 29. October 2020, 16:04

    60% in favour of making the golden mile and all side streets, car-free. Only public transport, servicing vehicles and pedestrians allowed. Woohoo. [via twitter]

  14. greenwelly, 29. October 2020, 16:20

    Teri, I think taxis and “ubers” are also allowed in …

  15. Claire, 29. October 2020, 16:41

    Teri it’s not a done deal yet. The business people will still have a more refined input. It’s really a nice to have anyway. How about sorting out the pipes for example.

  16. Russell Tregonning, 29. October 2020, 21:10

    LGWM now has a firm mandate from the Wellington public. There is abundant evidence that removing CBD carparks does not adversely affect businesses . The effect is either much the same or improved. The research has been done both from overseas and in New Zealand.
    Please LGWM —get on with the transformative change which the people clearly want and stop the incessant consultation. You have done five years of consultation – – enough already.

  17. Alf the Aspirational Apterxy, 30. October 2020, 7:14

    Russell Tregonning. There is no “mandate” from the Wellington public, most of whom will have been unaware of the “consultation” because they are too busy earning a living.

  18. Ms Green, 30. October 2020, 7:57

    Take the buses out too. Put them in Featherston St. and Jervois Quay.
    Make it really pedestrianised so we can relax while we shop and socialise.
    A pedestrian area with huge polluting buses going through it is not a pedestrian Area. It is a dangerous place.
    Why do we have to keep saying the same thing over and over to LGWM and the Councils?

  19. K, 30. October 2020, 9:25

    @Ms Green: Agree 100%, buses should also be removed completely from Lambton Quay and run on Featherston Street.

  20. Pam, 30. October 2020, 18:04

    Already many people are choosing to shop elsewhere; removing car parking will exacerbate this trend. There usually is available parking around Cuba Street and this is the precinct where retailers are choosing to go. Suggest the council takes a look at Manners Street, very few retailers of any substance remain there. The fact the council is even considering closing streets shows how out of touch they are. We are in a pandemic, housing rates and home insurance unaffordable. Serious problems with sewerage should be the priority.

  21. Andy Mellon, 30. October 2020, 19:17

    Interesting how the results of the LGWM survey seem to suggest that the users of the area think they would frequent the retail areas more with greater emphasis on the pedestrian whilst retailers seem to think those same users would frequent the area less. These two opposing views are, realistically, mutually exclusive. The area can’t both see less and more people.

    What is the experience elsewhere in the world? From what I’ve seen, pedestrianised high streets seem to be more heavily laden with customers than those beholden to the car, but I’m sure there’s plenty of data that can be gathered on this question

  22. TrevorH, 31. October 2020, 7:22

    @Pam. I agree completely. With the reduction in parking I now avoid the CBD and have gravitated to upper Cuba St. Will inner city apartment dwellers make up for the loss of business Lambton Quay retailers/food outlets are experiencing because of COVID-induced changes to work patterns? Removing vehicles will be the coup de grace in my view.

  23. michael, 31. October 2020, 10:00

    Russell Tregonning “There is abundant evidence that removing CBD carparks does not adversely affect businesses”. But is this evidence based on the existence of a fast, reliable, cheap public transport system and/or several large park and rise facilities for out of town travellers, as is the case of Oxford in the UK?

  24. Toni, 31. October 2020, 10:09

    The noise and carcinogenic pollution from the multitude of ghastly diesel buses going up and down the Golden Mile is far worse than any of the cars that travel along there. I see no point in doing any of this if the buses are to remain belching their dangerous fumes all over the pedestrians. If Lambton Quay is to safely pedestrianised, then move the buses to Featherston Street.

  25. Marion Leader, 31. October 2020, 12:12

    I agree with Toni about the filthy belching. How does the Regional Council justify such a thing? When will the buses be replaced, especially the ones which were discarded from Auckland?

  26. Northland, 31. October 2020, 17:54

    No point unless the buses are removed. With buses present, it is noisy, polluted and dangerous for pedestrians. But imagine instead a nice electric tram service running along at street level – wow – that really would be revolutionary!

  27. K, 1. November 2020, 9:57

    I’m chuckling at the proclamations that people are increasingly retail shopping in “upper Cuba street” because of car parking availability. I don’t think one can take this seriously given that upper Cuba street is mostly bars/restaurants with almost no retail shops apart from the odd 2nd hand thrift shop and dairy. Essentially it is a dead zone for retail.

  28. Andrew, 1. November 2020, 17:16

    I disagree K. Upper Cuba St has a high density in shops that are not clothing related and therefore actually interesting… Elmers mowers/weedeaters on Cuba St and around the corner on Abel Smith St is the engineering supplies store, opposite the Southern Cross.

  29. Pam, 1. November 2020, 20:39

    There are a wealth of clothing retailers in Cuba St and adjacent Ghuznee St: Barkers, Glassons, 27 Names, Mandatory, Service Depot, Cotton On, Area 21 just to name a few and many more are joining them. Check out College St as well.

  30. GK, 2. November 2020, 12:31

    – 100 electric buses on order for Wellington City routes (98 new, 2 conversions of diesels).
    – 67 for NZ Bus east-west unit, due for delivery between July 2021 and early 2023.
    – 31 for Tranzurban (north-south, Khandallah & Brooklyn units), due for delivery between April 2021 and late 2022.
    – First of the trial 3-axle double decker conversions is in workshop now.

    – 61 diesels planned to be withdrawn (+ 2 converted)

    A question: What’s particularly bad about the ex-Auckland buses? There are other buses of same/similar age and emissions standards (ex-Hutt Valley or ex-Christchurch or originally bought new for Wellington City routes). In some cases they are exactly the same model and even from the same order.

  31. Henry Filth, 2. November 2020, 13:00

    Is there going to be a roof? Lambton Quay in the rain is a very unpleasant experience.

  32. Dave B, 2. November 2020, 19:20

    @ GK – What’s bad about the ex-Auckland diesels is that they were brought in to replace the scrapped, 100% electric trolleybuses.

    @ Henry F – Lambton Quay already has a roof over much of its walkway-length: the awnings that extend out over the footpath from most buildings.

  33. GK, 3. November 2020, 12:59

    @ Dave: Are you suggesting that because some buses are ex-Auckland (& therefore “bad”) they should be withdrawn before older more rundown buses originally from elsewhere? How certain are you that you know which buses are ex-Auckland without looking up fleet numbers? Easy for those still in old colours, but many have been given the full Metlink treatment and more of the newer ones are currently getting a full Metlink makeover (that’s why spare Airport Flyer single door buses are currently running some Metlink services).

    As the new battery electrics enter service, I want to see the oldest buses withdrawn first regardless of whether originally from Auckland, Wellington, the Hutt or Christchurch. If that means keeping some of the newer ex-Auckland buses a bit longer, it’s better that than withdrawing them just because they’re from Auckland and continuing to run old clapped-out smoke-belching buses originally bought for Wellington. The newest ex-Auckland buses were built in 2012, while the oldest NZ Bus buses running Metlink services are from 2003.

  34. Morris Oxford, 3. November 2020, 13:13

    GK, I think that you can tell the most problematic Auckland buses because they are purple and much noisier than almost anything else on the road. Have you ever heard one? Do you know if they have passed any of the official noise tests?

  35. Dave B, 3. November 2020, 14:14

    Agree, GK, we should get rid of the oldest diesels first, wherever they are from. I was just commenting previously that the ex-Auckland buses are “bad” because they should not have been here in the first place. I am not casting any aspersions on the buses themselves, but on the administration that made the decision to prematurely withdraw the trolleybuses and rip out their infrastructure. This should not have been done until a full fleet of battery buses was ready to take over, and not until all diesel routes had already been replaced by battery buses. The trolleybuses could probably have continued for another 10 years while the battery bus rollout progressed.

  36. Keith Flinders, 3. November 2020, 16:53

    GK: An inventory of Wellington bus fleets can be seen here http://revoltwellington.flinders.nz/Busfleet.pdf

    The list was current as at late 2019, some of the buses not in Metlink livery may have been withdrawn since, but I suspect more purple ones have been added. Some purple ex Auckland buses had done over 1 million kms before they were foisted upon the Wellington City public.

    For pollution levels pre and post the demise of the trolley buses
    see http://revoltwellington.flinders.nz/ All the Euro 3 buses should be off the road by now as the Euro 3 emission levels applied only to the vehicles as they left the factory, not once in service.