Manners Mall's busway gets bigger
An $11.1 million plan to rip up Manners Mall and turn it into a bus-only road has hit a snag – the bus lanes will have to be wider and the footpaths narrower than those first proposed by Wellington City Council.
Opponents say the footpaths may have to be even narrower yet to accommodate bus wing mirrors, though the council says that is untrue.
The hiccup has opponents of the plan requesting that the council extend the public consultation period.
Council documents previously released state that the two-way bus lane would be six metres wide, with footpaths on either side spanning five metres.
However, the council's urban development and transport director, Greg Campbell, now says the bus lanes would be 6.5m wide, with footpaths reduced to 4.75m.
"If you are being picky, then the figures in the consultation document aren't exact, but it is not designed as a construction planning document," he said.
But Richard Tingey, from Levin, said the misleading information was a serious oversight.
"It's only Kiwi fairness that the city council should extend the time for submissions by a month to November 30."
But Mr Campbell said the figures used by the council were "indicative" and the consultation period should close as scheduled on Friday.
"The key issue here is can a busway and wide footpaths be accommodated [in Manners Mall] and the bottom line is yes it can."
Members of lobby group The City is Ours have measured the width of buses and claim the bus lane may have to be as wide as 7.1m to accommodate wing mirrors.
Mr Campbell said that figure was wrong. "It is a bit dangerous for amateurs with tape measures to go out and measure stuff – 6.5m is the standard we use for bus lanes."
Abrakebabra restaurant manager Stewart Zaya was "really disappointed" with the entire project.
"I don't know who came up with the idea but it is really pathetic and they should be using the $11m to do other projects."
The Manners Mall area, between Cuba and Victoria streets, stopped being a street used by vehicles in 1979 when the council created the mall.
The council also recommends lower Cuba St be transformed into a shared space for pedestrians and vehicles, with a speed limit as low as 10kmh.
It would feature super-wide pavements for outdoor dining and street furniture.
There has been considerable opposition to the proposal. A Save Manners Mall Facebook page has 4730 members, while two petitions have a combined signature total of more than 3300.
ACTION THROWN OUT
The Wellington man campaigning to stop a plan to run buses through Manners Mall, has had his High Court case to halt the proposal thrown out.
Benjamin Easton, a beneficiary, could not come up with $8000 to show he could make a contribution to the legal costs of Wellington City Council in the event that he lost his case against the council.
He had until last Friday to pay the money or show how it could be paid. His application for an injunction against the council has now been struck out.
The Dominion Post