Have a Say on Opening Manners Mall to Buses

29 September 2009

Consultation begins today (Tuesday 29 September) on Wellington City Council's proposal to open Manners Mall to buses and compensate for the loss of public space by creating a new shared space in lower Cuba Street.

The proposal would mean a more direct and obvious bus route through the city and faster trips for the thousands of Wellingtonians who use the city's buses every day. It would also provide a clearer pedestrian connection between Cuba Mall and Civic Square and the waterfront.

If the proposal goes ahead, the Council's Urban Development and Transport Portfolio Leader, Councillor Andy Foster, says better pedestrian links and public spaces in Dixon, Wakefield and Mercer streets will also be developed in the next few years.

"Vehicles will still use those streets but there are opportunities to make them more attractive places for pedestrians and also provide some additional car parks because they would no longer be used by buses."

Cr Foster hopes people will carefully consider the proposal and think about the future needs of the city and its transport network.

"The suggested bus route changes are an important part of an ongoing programme of measures designed to reduce delays and improve bus journey times through the central city," he says. "We've already made improvements on Lambton Quay and Willis Street and have been told by bus operators and transport planning consultants, who have looked closely at the bus route options for Wellington, that allowing buses through Manners Mall is the single most beneficial change we could make to further improve travel times.

"A reliable bus service is absolutely critical to remaining a sustainable city with a functioning transport system - something that won't just benefit bus users but make it easier for general traffic to get around too."

Wellingtonians were asked last year what they thought of the idea of allowing buses through Manners Mall and the original plans have since been amended to help address concerns about the potential loss of public space.

The Council is proposing that a two-lane 30 km/h busway with wide footpaths on either side be built through what is now Manners Mall so buses could travel in both directions. Lower Cuba Street would be a shared space where pedestrians would have priority. Vehicles would be able to travel through at walking speed and park, but drivers would have to give way to pedestrians. 

City Councillors voted in June to support the proposal in principle - subject to further consultation. The special consultative procedure that starts today is required under the Local Government Act to revoke Manners Mall's pedestrian mall status.

Brochures and the more detailed statement of proposal, both with submission forms, are available from libraries, the Council Service Centre at 101 Wakefield Street, in the Public Input section of this website or by phoning (04) 499 4444. Submissions are required by Friday 30 October and can be made online.