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Golden Mile changes must be balanced

Changes to Wellington’s Golden Mile must be balanced and pragmatic, the Chamber of Commerce says in a submission to the Let’s Get Wellington Moving project group.

The LGWM group is seeking ideas ahead of formal engagement on how to improve bus reliability along the Golden Mile (Lambton Quay to Courtenay Place) and make it more attractive and safer for cyclists and pedestrians, and on its proposal for a 30km/hour speed limit on all streets in the central city.

Formal public engagement will take place early next year.

The Chamber’s submission says the Golden Mile is a very important route within a major network of roading, so any changes must ensure it is seen as part of the bigger picture.

"The Chamber has long been on record in its views that fewer vehicles in the CBD would be a welcome development but restricting or banning access altogether would be ill-advised," says John Milford, Chamber Chief Executive.

"The issue is all about balance. Wellington’s walkability is responsible for much of the city’s vibrancy. The city has to look good, but it also has to function properly, and it needs to facilitate economic growth. Wellington’s compact nature means scarce road space needs to be used wisely. The CBD is in a narrow isthmus through which traffic must flow to connect the port and airport from the rest of the North Island.

"Improving the surrounding routes, widening and fixing the state highway - implementing the full Let’s Get Wellington Moving Option D package - to discourage transiting vehicles from travelling through the CBD would be a better solution than restricting access to the city, in and around the Golden Mile.

The submission says businesses in the CBD are concerned about changes, given there may be further access restrictions for customers and commuters.

"We must emphasise the need for practical solutions, should there be further access restrictions. A solution also needs to be found around how deliveries to businesses would work, because most businesses do not have delivery access from The Terrace.

"We are concerned about what happens to the parking spaces on the side streets between Willis St and Parliament, and how vehicles would circulate should access to Lambton Quay close. For example, would adjoining streets become cul-de-sacs?

"It’s imperative policy changes support providing access to businesses in the central city, allowing for customer access as well as servicing and deliveries to buildings."

The Chamber is also concerned about further loss of carparks.

"Our members’ view is that finding a park in the central city is getting harder and harder. Their feedback reveals steadily growing concerns about the ease of access and the ease of doing business in the central city. That’s the last thing we want to be said of the city.

"We’ve got to get Wellington moving."

ENDS


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