News | 11 July 2024
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Swan Lane and Garrett Street one year on

It’s been a year since the upgrades for Swan Lane and Garrett Street were completed. We checked in to see how Wellingtonians have been enjoying the upgraded space.

Drone image of the swan lane and garret upgrades

Our Wellington City Council Urban Design team’s goal was to make Swan Lane and Garrett Street more attractive, walkable, and safe. The improvements included new surfacing, two new rain gardens, new lighting, bike racks and seating.  Speed bumps were also installed to reduce traffic speeds and prioritise pedestrians, enhancing accessibility. 

We wanted to know what the public and local businesses thought about the finished works and gathered data by monitoring the spaces and asking for feedback via an online public survey.  

The survey received nearly 200 responses, and we heard that 94 percent of people felt the upgrade has improved the area, with respondents commenting on how the space feels more walkable, accessible, safer, and friendlier.   

“The area feels cleaner and more modern now. This, as well as the improved seating areas make it easier to hang out in the space or to pass through. The lighting in the Swan Lane area in particular make it feel safer to walk through there at night,” says one survey respondent. 

As well as hearing from people online, members of our research team spent 18 hours over one week monitoring the space. They counted pedestrians, cars, and bikes in the area, and chatted to people and businesses to see how they used the space, and what they thought of it.  

While foot traffic numbers are similar to pre-upgrade levels, the consensus was that the goals of the project had been met, with people saying they like the vibrancy and people-friendly space, especially with the increase of artwork and lighting. 

Wellington City Council Senior Urban Designer Stephanie O’Shea says that it’s been awesome seeing the community spend time in the area. 

“We’ve seen lots of dog-walking, skating, people enjoying their lunches, reading, relaxing, and playing. It’s so important to provide good community spaces in the central city. 

“Our research team also observed some less conventional uses for the space, including it being used to host dance classes, and a meeting place for a costume party!” 

Feedback on the refresh for Glover Park, which happened at the same time, was also positive. People have been enjoying the new paving, brighter lighting, and new benches. Most of all, respondents loved the new artwork in the space-including 'Shadow Windows' by local Pōneke artist Andrew Beck, and a mural by Izzy Joy (Kāi Tahu). 

Businesses in the area noted that the general ambience and vibrancy had improved since before the upgrade. They provided the project team with good feedback about the construction process to take into consideration for our other urban design projects, including making sure we have enough signage to help people get around during construction.  

“It has been awesome to get this feedback on the finished space from businesses and the community and to hear how we can improve our processes for upgrading our city,” says Stephanie. 

“We are glad to see that Wellingtonians are enjoying the space! It’s been great to receive confirmation from the community that the upgrade has met its initial goals.” 

The Swan Lane and Garrett upgrades were part of Wellington’s Laneways strategy and Green Network Plan, which aims to transform the city centre into a greener people-centred place that is compact, inclusive, and better connected.