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

Monday, June 19, 2006

In the end you will submit

With all the consultation and public feedback processes going on recently, it's been easy to lose track and miss the chance to have one's say on the future of the city. So, thanks to the magic of JavaScript, I've added to my sidebar a little semi-automated listing with a countdown to various submission deadlines. I might expand this in the future to incorporate other events, but for the moment it will help you (and me!) remember to make submissions on time.

Those of you who read this in the next three hours will note that feedback on the Lambton Quay redevelopment plans closes today. I've taken all your comments into account, and I'll probably submit something along the lines of "it's nice to see improvements to the pedestrian experience, but it's all a bit timid, and I'd like to think that this is just a step towards even greater pedestrian priority". I'm a little sceptical about whether anything can be done about the extreme grottiness of Farmers Lane, but I'm willing to be optimistic.


At 12:31 am, June 20, 2006, Blogger David said...

Lambton Quay isn't a friendly street. Whether it is the corporate feel, the continuous wall of buildings, or the modern redevelopment of most of it, but it doesn't have the interesting lived-in feel that other parts of Wellington have. It's pretty dead after 5:30. And I'm not sure what could be done to remedy the problems.

Outside dining and drinking would probably help, but the climate doesn't make that easy. A large number of inner city apartments would improve things, but I'm not sure where they would go. Possibly if you relocated the rail yards, cut and covered a couple of lines for commuter rail services, and dropped housing for (say) 10,000 people on to the rail site, then you'd have anchored the rail end of town and the Manners/Cuba end of town, and the bits in between would look after themselves as people walked through them?

At 12:15 pm, June 20, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

I also prefer Te Aro to Lambton, but I actually like the wall of buildings along the street: combined with its curves, it gives it a great sense of containment and spatial drama. While most of the modern buildings don't even aspire to mediocrity as individual pieces of architecture, I think they go together to make a satisfying urban composition.

Featherston St is actually better for shops and bars, but it's too straight ot be interesting and it lacks the street trees that soften Lambton Quay. I'm not quite as averse to the corporate feel of Lambton Quay as you are, so I find it a relatively friendly street, certainly compared to parts of Taranaki or Victoria St which feel too wide and lack decent-sized buildings and street activity.

More residents would definitely help. Certainly, things are better down this end of town at night and weekends than they were a decade ago, partly thanks to apartments on the side streets and the Terrace. I'm not sure it will ever become a truly mixed-use district, and there's nothing necessarily wrong with it being primarily an office and retail destination with a sprinkling of bars. There are plans for a few apartments at the northern end of Kumutoto, and in the longer term, the City Gateway plans call for 4-8,000 residents near Thorndon Quay once the rail yards are rearranged.

My main gripe with Lambton Quay as a pedestrian experience is the crowding at rush hour. The wider pavements proposed in this plan will help a little bit, but they'll only be a tiny improvement. Jan Gehl suggested that north of about the Cable Car, the entire western half should be pedestrianised, which should help with the foot traffic congestion as well as making it a better environment for street cafés. Gehl also pointed out that it's crazy to have cafés shoved upstairs while dull activities like banks hog ground floor space. If it's possible to swap them over, that would further add to the Quay's friendliness.

At 3:17 pm, June 26, 2006, Blogger s. said...

Nice code, Tom. Don't mind if I borrow some of it, do ya? ;)

At 9:21 am, July 10, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

Not at all, Stephen. As long as you share your secret for how to add comments without a notification email being sent: you're the only one who's comments don't get sent to me!


Post a Comment

<< Home