Over the next few weeks, new stormwater drains will be laid across the mall at various points. A new two-way bus-only roadway with wide paved footpaths on either side will then be constructed. The work will be carried out in sections to help minimise disruption and ensure pedestrians can still walk through and get to shops, businesses and food outlets.
Mayor Kerry Prendergast, the Council's Transport Portfolio Leader, says much has to be done in the mall, and in Willis and Manners streets, over the next few months as changes are made that will further improve the city's already well-patronised public transport system.
"Transport experts agree that a simpler, more direct public transport spine through the city is an essential next step, so it is great to see this work under way," she says. "It will mean slightly shorter bus journey times and give us a two-way route that could, at some stage in the future, potentially be used by a more modern type of bus or light rail."
The changes will enable buses to travel in both directions from the railway station to Courtenay Place through Lambton Quay, Willis Street and Manners Street, restoring the route trams and buses used before Manners Mall was created in the late 1970s.
"The new shared space planned for lower Cuba Street is an important part of this project," she says. "It will provide a clear, pedestrian-friendly link from Cuba Mall to Civic Square and the waterfront, help compensate for the loss of public space in Manners Mall and continue to provide some parking."
Work in the mall is expected to be complete by late September and buses should be using the new route before Christmas. Work on the new shared space, where pedestrians will have priority, is planned to start early next year once the new route is operational. Manners Street will continue to be a major pedestrian thoroughfare with wide paved footpaths on either side.
Work is also under way in Willis Street and at the Courtenay Place / Taranaki Street intersection. The work at Courtenay / Taranaki includes changes near Te Aro Park to allow buses to travel two ways on Manners Street, and some safety improvements. More pedestrians have been hit at this intersection than anywhere else in the city.
In Willis Street, the central island near Mercer Street has been removed so buses can travel in both directions. Over the next six weeks, the road between Mercer and Manners streets will be widened. Some trees south of Bond Street will be removed but these will be replaced and some additional trees planted.
Over the next month, Wellingtonians will also be able to have another say on a proposal to reduce the speed limit on the remainder of the Golden Mile and in some adjoining streets from 50 km/h to 30 km/h and a proposed 10 km/h speed limit for the planned new shared space in lower Cuba Street.
The lower speed limits were flagged back in November 2008 as part of the proposal to create a more direct bus route and feedback at that stage was very supportive, however the Council is now required to carry out a more thorough consultation under its speed limits bylaw.
Information is available from the Public Input section of this website and from libraries. Submissions are required by Friday 16 July.