Golden Mile: options for the picking by 9 August!

Your Urbanerds team, reporting back from last night’s Golden Mile webinar with Let’s Get Wellington Moving… and a Guide for submissions (now closing 9 Aug)!


[Editor’s Update: after a very stormy session with Golden Mile retailers, two extra weeks have been added to the consultation window.

It’d be impossible to prevent retailers from grumbling in any known universe. But this is next-level outrage, apparently, fuelled by some righteous anger about minimal engagement prior to the mostly website-based consultation.

The lack of a Heart of the City (inner city Business Improvement District) we can’t help but think is a contributing factor.

Anyway, back to the original post… ]

Webinar session

The Golden Mile submissions window closes 9th August and there’s been lots of stuff in the media, so it was great to hear from the folks in the know.  

Props to LGWM for their presentation as we know they’re having a lot of these kinds of conversations. The video is here and their presentation here (19MB PPT), and below is a quick summary and the key points that seemed material to our submissions.   


Seb Bishop (LGWM’s engagement lead) and Selwyn Blackmore (Stantec’s project manager in charge of the Golden Mile) gave a quick recap of LGWM in toto.  

Key points: that the Golden Mile is but one piece of the Early Delivery programme which is itself only one of five big workstreams.  And that even the “early delivery” stuff needs a business case created by LGWM, which then needs to get the tick from the LGWM funders (WCC, GWRC, NZTA). 

the Golden Mile Business Case diagram

They recapped the public impetus for change from the earlier engagement (remember that Social Pinpoint online map thingy where you dropped pins and wrote comments?).  

They took us on a whistle-stop tour of the three options, essentially the same info as you’ll find on the website. (Where the longlist and shortlist of other ideas also make interesting reading if you’re keen on a deep dive.)

Check out their presentation here (19MB PPT)

Then we heard from Rowan Schwynn, Stantec’s principal transport planner who spoke to the specifics of the options and some of the tradeoffs. Some examples included the challenges in the really narrow bits of the corridor (Manners St, Lambton/Hunter etc), and the assumptions behind “all bus stops have 5-minute walking distance”: this doesn’t count the time taken to cross streets (like Taranaki) to get there. 

In questions, the team seemed keen to hear from people who’ve done some thinking about this stuff. They asked things like where people’s desire lines are for crossing Lambton (a desire line is the route you want to go, which is often not the same as the route you’re supposed to go). 

They’re really keen on getting personal submissions so please do one and get your friends, family, workmates to do the same!

Submission guide: the Urbanerds take

We’re finally starting to see the fruits of the LGWM programmes and it is VERY exciting seeing some actual proposals for Wellington.  The option that we like most is Option 3: Transform.

“Transform” image. We like this.
  • It’s the only one that puts in bike lanes and properly gets rid of general traffic on the Golden Mile. This is the main thing that holds up buses!
  • It’s by far the best option for making for the best of this urban space in the heart of Wellington, for all that we wish there was more focus on making great places to hang out. 
  • Option 3 would improve things a lot for the bus network, and with the addition of mass transit we’d expect Option 3 to deliver a good boost to transport performance as well as much improved places to be. 

 There is more info in the presentation or video of the presentation. 

Importantly, they may do a pick-and-mix of the three options as the final recommendation to go into the business case, and detailed designs are a future step again. So if there’s something you love from option 1 or 2 or even that you’ve seen elsewhere (like here on this site, or here in Ghent!), do pop it in the comments in your submission.

That’s it really! This one is quite straightforward: unlike WCC’s parking, there’s no need for a separate TL;DR!

If Option 3 is obviously best, do I need to bother submitting?

Yes.

IMPORTANTLY, OPTION 3 IS NOT A SHOE-IN.

There’s been plenty of vociferous resistance, based (predictably) on fear and ignorance worsened by poor engagement.

Fear and defensiveness about parking is understandable in some cases where people are afraid for their businesses can’t be expected to know any better.

But city-shaping decisions need to be made with a clear eye to what we want the city to be and how we want it to serve people.  IT’S VITAL TO MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD SUPPORTING OPTION 3.
If you haven’t much time, a nice firm submission supporting Option 3 is plenty – do it here.

Oh Courtenay, you could be so much more than this… pic: Rob Kitchin | Stuff

Make “Transform” really transformational

But if you have a minute or two more, put in some comments that help make Option 3 better!

“Transform” isn’t actually that transformational because it’s very weak on placemaking. There’s almost no focus on the Golden Mile as a destination, a place to be.

LGWM staff have said quite openly “[LGWM] is a transport project, we have to sort out transport first, then we’ll do place-making next”.

Sorry folks, but there’s no self-respecting city in the world these days that approaches city-shaping like that. It simply doesn’t work, because real life towns and cities don’t work like that.

Place and movement have to be addressed together. You’ll see everyone recognising this in the plethora of “integrated planning” initiatives underway including by all three parties to LGWM. So this “transport first” approach is daft, and we deserve better.

For some inspiration on what to say to boost Option 3, check out Generation Zero’s excellent submission guide, or our guest poster Amos Mann’s lovely submission.
 

Submissions close Sunday 9th August 5pm.
The submission form takes only 5 mins (you can skip through to only the parts that are relevant for you and you don’t need to be signed in like with the WCC surveys). 

Get in there friends, and share! Closes 9 August!



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