WellUrban

Personal reflections on urbanism, urban life and sustainable urban design in Wellington, New Zealand.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

In Memoriam


I can finally mention what I've known about unofficially for a while: it's been publicly announced that New Zealand Memorial Park will be built in front of the old Museum on Buckle St. It's not quite what I originally speculated about when demolition of the service station first started, since it will be where Buckle St is now rather than on the north side of it, and there's an additional nice touch in that the "Greening the Quays" project will be extended up Taranaki St to the park.

There are a few weird things, however, and all are related to the bypass. First, since one of the purposes of the bypass was to ensure that traffic goes in a nice straight line, rather than having to twist and turn, isn't it a bit strange to realign Buckle St so that it will now presumably have to take a sharp dog-leg to match up with Arthur St? It also seems a bit of a waste to have just repaved the northern edge of Buckle St as a pedestrian and bicycle path, only to dig it up again. And what about this quote from the Mayor: "we are honoured to have such a poignant memorial in the middle of our city"? If it's a "bypass", then by definition it should bypass the central city. But this park will be on the side of the "bypass" that's away from the city, meaning that either this park won't be in the middle of the city, or that the "bypass" is a huge misnomer since it's actually ripped through the "city" rather than going around it.

10 Comments:

At 6:21 PM, April 24, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If one good thing has come from the bypass, and I'm still a still a skeptic, it's that now there is little uncertainty in terms of development in that whole area. Why there are big awkward gravel spaces next to the bypass is beyond me, however. That gravelly bit on the Northwestern corner of Taranaki x Buckle x Karo intersection is a great opportunity for an unusually shaped medium rise apartment building or buildings, which maybe overhangs the bypass in places. I'm thinking something like the monstrosity on top of Harvey Norman Tory Street might fit in a bit better in that spot with it's awful balconies etc. (although it's arguable that that wouldn't fit in anywhere, ever.)

I also have trouble with the fact that they closed access from the motorway to Ghuznee Street. Surely that could've been the last exit on the urban motorway, so any traffic wanting to get into the Willis quarter is separated from Airport traffic before the Vivian Street intersection? The only other option is to get off at the Terrace and go down Boulcott Street. I'm pretty sure at rush hour that whole area is gridlocked and there is a lot of traffic, especially delivery and construction type traffic that wants to get to the stretch of Willis between Boulcott and Vivian.

Also, I'm happy about the Taranaki street "greening," however I'm worried it will prevent any turning traffic into Haining, Frederick and Jessie Streets from the northbound side of Taranaki street.

 
At 6:26 PM, April 24, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, I'm struggling with the angles and dimensions of this park- and what is going to happen with the old HMNZS Olphert (is that what it is?) buildings? What is to happen to that big empty lot where the service station was, I can't see Buckle being THAT dramatically realigned. Will Mt. Cook school be extended or affected? Will it become zoned for warehousing etc?

And while I'm ranting and raving, has that PaknSav for Rugby street been confirmed?

 
At 6:44 PM, April 24, 2007, Blogger Tom said...

"Why there are big awkward gravel spaces next to the bypass is beyond me, however. That gravelly bit on the Northwestern corner of Taranaki x Buckle x Karo intersection is a great opportunity for an unusually shaped medium rise apartment building or buildings, which maybe overhangs the bypass in places."

I agree totally, though the probable explanation is that it's hard to find a lucrative enough market for such a building.

"I also have trouble with the fact that they closed access from the motorway to Ghuznee Street. Surely that could've been the last exit on the urban motorway, so any traffic wanting to get into the Willis quarter is separated from Airport traffic before the Vivian Street intersection?"

Can't you turn left at Willis St?

"Also, I'm happy about the Taranaki street "greening," however I'm worried it will prevent any turning traffic into Haining, Frederick and Jessie Streets from the northbound side of Taranaki street."

I presume that there'd be gaps in the median strip for such turns. I'd actually prefer more trees along the pavement itself rather than along the median: there's some lovely examples on Willis St just south of Dixon.

"Also, I'm struggling with the angles and dimensions of this park..."

I'd need to see plans before commenting, but I think Buckle St is indeed intended to go through the old service station site, and I don't see the Olphert site being affected. Come to think of it, the latter would be a great opportunity for a residential development, converting the old buildings and building on part of the empty land, while keeping some of it as a courtyard for residents.

"has that PaknSav for Rugby street been confirmed?"

Not that I've heard.

 
At 3:35 PM, April 25, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fantastic news about Taranaki St ! Some trees at last in that sterile asphalt concrete pseudo motorway. We may yet live to cross the road another day. The present configuration is even worse for pedestrians than it was before.

However, lets hope they make it into a proper boulevard with trees in the centre AND the sides, instead of a mere pretence like the Customhouse Quay "Greening" has become. That was promised to have trees on the sides as well as the middle, but the council renegged and we've only got a fraction of what it should have been.... Don't give up on us Kerry !

 
At 12:45 AM, April 26, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still say the bypass should have been done right. A straight road underneath the memorial park without having sh1 traffic passing right next to it.

 
At 9:26 AM, April 26, 2007, Blogger G7 said...

The HMNZS Olphert site is still in use by the Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve (about the 6th line of defence or something.

Hopefully the realignment will make the turn from the Basin onto Buckle Street slightly less of a bitch - when the Buckle-Tory lights are red, the traffic backs onto the Basin, blocking those wanting to go onto Cambridge or to Mt Vic tunnel

 
At 10:05 AM, April 26, 2007, Blogger Maximus said...

yes, although of course if they were being logical the ring road would flow straight under Tory St, so no intersection would be needed there, and allowing the park to flow uninterupted over the top and down to meet the grounds of the Mt Cook primary school, and permitting Massey students to walk into town without being slaughtered by motorway-ready cars racing past their door.

But then no one on the motorway would get to see the Memorial and the new park, which would then be left just to the locals and people who actually want to get out of their cars and walk to pay respects. Shocking concept.

 
At 10:16 AM, April 26, 2007, Blogger stephen said...

Slightly off topic, but over at xkcd.com: Highway Engineer Pranks.

 
At 3:51 PM, April 26, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Umm. But moving the road over, and the park where it is now blows away any chance of trenching a tunnel through next to buckle street in that vacant space...

:-\

I guess it was too much to ever expect anyway... Is odd the whole having just build the new bike path with the trees etc "now we're moving the road".

 
At 5:34 PM, April 28, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i love xkcd.com

 

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