The Waewae express

Wellington needs to be a friendlier place for people, with better spaces and places. Here are some improvements I want to see happen.

Removing cars from the Golden Mile

Everyone agrees that this project must happen. I just want to talk a little bit about all the side benefits you get from this. All of the streets that currently run on to Lambton Quay from Featherston street will be dead end stubs once cars are removed from Lambton Quay. This will also be true for some streets that connect to Willis and Courtenay. They can be turned into street side dining, pocket parks for people to eat lunch in, or whatever we fancy. It’s a massive opportunity to beautify the heart of the city, and I’m really looking forward to this happening.

Railway station plaza

Bunny Street is the street right outside the central Railway Station. Every day tens of thousands of people arrive at Wellington station and cross this street. This is maybe the busiest pedestrian part of the country. Yet Bunny street serves no traffic purpose. Whitmore street is parallel to Bunny a few hundred metres down the road and enables every traffic movement Bunny does. We should close Bunny street to traffic, and make this a beautiful plaza, the welcome mat to Wellington. It’s what any civilised city in the world would do. Mobility parking is the only thing that needs catering for, and could be either provided at Platform 9, or through some smart design of the Bunny Street plaza.

Blair and Allen Streets

It’s hard to understand why we have traffic and massive angle parks on these streets. They could be street trees, bike parks, parks, whatever. They serve no traffic purpose, as neither connects to the north or south. Instead of the current set up, let’s make these streets more appealing to people. Again if there is a need for some limited traffic movement it is only for mobility parking and potentially early morning deliveries, which could be catered for through the use of retractable bollards.

Suburban street upgrades

Rather than any specific plans here this is more just the idea that pedestrians need to be accounted for when any suburban upgrade is happening. I was in Thorndon recently, and was surprised at how bad the streetscape was designed. The curbs down at the traffic lights were so steep that wheelchairs really struggle. Nowhere was there a raised crossing for pedestrians or any traffic calming measures. We need to keep people in mind when we redesign our suburban centres.

Overall we can make our streets so much better places for people to be. While we may need some creative solutions, we can surely do better than we are now.

Conor Hill