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Golden Mile feedback: strong support for significant changes

golden mile logo [1]

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 [2] 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.