Golden Mile transformation will bring more life into the city says Greater Wellington

  • Published Date 26 Jun 2023
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Mock up view of the Golden MileGreater Wellington says Golden Mile rejuvenation plans from Let’s Get Wellington Moving (LGWM) will make Wellington City and public transport more attractive and bring more life into the CBD. 

The plans are ambitious, clear, and unapologetic about bringing as many people as possible into the city says Chair of Greater Wellington Daran Ponter. 

“The benefits of the rejuvenation plan are plenty and undeniable. Distinct precincts that make it easy for everyone to get around, more reliable and uninterrupted journeys for public transport passengers with modern accessible infrastructure designed to keep people more safe, more sheltered and more informed,” says Cr Ponter.  

Currently, almost 90% of Wellington City bus routes utilise the Golden Mile, with 22,000 passengers boarding at bus stops on the Golden Mile each day, and around 2 thirds of all journeys being to or from the Golden Mile. 

“With plans to remove general traffic, as well as intersection improvements, we will have continuous bus lanes in both directions for the length of the Golden Mile. That’s a real game changer, enabling buses to arrive more frequently and reducing travel times for passengers travelling the length of the Golden Mile from 14 minutes to around 12 minutes. 

That might not sound like a lot but, over a year, it works out at around 45,000 hours of saved travel time for Wellingtonians and equates to $76m in travel time savings and reliability for bus travel over time says Cr Ponter. 

Fiona Abbott, Acting Group Manager for Metlink, says the transformation will also have a positive outcome for bus drivers, reducing the level of stress and frustration currently experienced on the Golden Mile. 

“The removal of general traffic, better spacing of stops, more designated loading areas and improved intersections means drivers will have a more consistent experience each day and won’t have to second guess what obstacles they might have to face each shift,” says Ms Abbott. 

Cr Thomas Nash, Chair of Greater Wellington Transport Committee, says the environmental impact shouldn’t be underestimated either.  

“Better journeys for passengers and drivers have additional benefits for the environment too. With 100 electric buses already in operation on the Metlink network and a commitment to electrify all core routes by 2030 and the whole fleet electric by 2035, more freedom of movement on the Golden Mile means we can grow our services while reducing noise and providing cleaner air in the CBD. 

Just a reduction in the 4,000 trips in the peak two-hour periods each day means Golden Mile transport emissions will go from 5,255 tonnes of CO2 in 2025 to 3,753 tonnes in 2040. Shifting people from private vehicles to public transport will also have a $112 million health benefit,” says Cr Nash. 

There will be broader accessibility for passengers with mobility needs, increased security and comfort as well as better audio and visual information at bus shelters as part of the upgrade plans, with Greater Wellington and Metlink having full responsibility of the design for the first time. 

LGWM, with the support of Metlink, is using significant community feedback, GIS modeling and pedestrian accessway information to better place where stops need to be, so passengers have access to shelters in the right places and so journeys aren’t disrupted by an overabundance of stops. 

“We also want people to have pride and ownership in the infrastructure around them and we’ll be aiming to provide shelters designed to reflect the attractive new streetscape that will provide better access, shelter and convenience” says Cr Nash. 

As part of the revitalisation, footpaths will be widened wherever possible and 4-metre-wide accessible footpaths will feature along the majority of the Golden Mile corridor. This will make the CBD a more attractive place for people to spend time. 

“Alongside the closure of some side roads this will make this whole corridor safer and more accessible, providing more room between people using the footpaths and passengers waiting for buses. It also means there will be more attractive public amenity spaces, lined with native planting, that businesses and the public can make the most of. 

“All the most successful cities in Australasia have these kinds of super high quality public spaces on their main shopping streets, focusing them on people rather than cars and essentially providing linear parks for people to get around, hang out and actually be attracted to visit. This planned Golden Mile revitalisation is pretty standard stuff now and if we want to attract talent and businesses and investment to our city then we need to get on with it,” says Cr Nash. 

A second public transport spine, using the waterfront quays, to complement the Golden Mile, is also being considered, which could increase the overall access to bus services in the CBD.  

While discussions between LGWM, Wellington City Council, Waka Kotahi and Greater Wellington are ongoing, Metlink has begun work on what bus network improvements could be realised with a second spine in play. LGWM is currently considering how best to sequence and integrate activation of any second spine plans with Golden Mile, City Streets (Featherston St) and MRT construction. 

Updated June 27, 2023 at 11:54 AM

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