Victoria Street transformation under way

13 November 2014

An $11 million street upgrade project getting under way this month will help transform Victoria Street – a part of the city that is set to become one of Wellington’s busiest inner city neighbourhoods.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says exciting things are planned for the area, including several new apartment complexes and a proposed new Whitireia and WelTec campus for more than 1000 students on the Farmers/Deka site which fronts Cuba, Dixon and Victoria streets.

“The work we’re doing over the next eight months will support these developments, which are very much in line with the Council’s vision for the area and new Urban Growth Plan.

“The improvements – which include wider footpaths, two new paved park areas, more than 55 street trees and a new southbound cycle lane – will make this area a more appealing place to be and hopefully encourage even more landowners and developers to invest here.”

The Council is working very closely with the NZ Transport Agency, which has responsibility for Vivian Street (State Highway 1), and the Memorial Park Alliance, which will complete the detailed design work and carry out the improvements.

Preliminary work has started at the intersection of Abel Smith and Victoria streets and will become more obvious over the next few weeks as construction ramps up.

Work will be largely confined to the southern end of the street before Christmas – mostly between Vivian and Abel Smith streets. Next year, all three blocks between Dixon and Abel Smith streets will be affected. The work will involve temporary parking restrictions, pedestrian detours, lane closures and traffic disruption at times.

Transport and Urban Development Committee Chair, Councillor Andy Foster, says the Victoria Street area is an ideal part of the city for more residential and commercial development.

“It’s slightly higher than some central city areas, not on reclaimed land and has plenty of room for growth and development. Over time we expect there to be more than 1100 new apartments housing at least 2500 people in this area and an additional 37,000 sqm of new commercial space,” he says.

“It will remain one of our most significant transport routes but at the same time be an attractive tree-lined boulevard suitable for the growing number of pedestrians who will be walking through here and using this area on a daily basis.”

Cr Foster says the aim is to complete the work as quickly as possible but with the amount of work to be done on and next to the road, some disruption will be inevitable.

“Memorial Park Alliance did a fantastic job of keeping disruption to a minimum during the construction of the new tunnel but without a dedicated alternative route – as there was in Buckle Street – this project will be challenging to manage. People using the route should expect delays at times.

“We will soon be looking at a CBD bus and cycle network and none of the changes are incompatible with reallocating the road space in a different way in the future.”

Improvements include:

  • realigning, widening and significantly improving the footpaths on both sides
  • retaining the existing road width to allow for future bus and cycling improvements
  • developing new paved parks at the corner of Dixon Street (Volunteer Corner) and near the intersection with Vivian Street where the triangular slipway is at the moment
  • a 1.7m wide southbound cycle lane between parked cars and the traffic (cyclists currently share a 3m wide lane with general traffic)
  • a new left-turn lane onto Vivian Street
  • evening peak-hour clearways on both sides of the road between Vivian and Abel Smith streets.