Project update #4 – Lower Cuba Street

With work beginning in earnest since the Christmas holiday, we can start to get an idea of what the “shared-space” in Lower Cuba Street is going to look like. We’re six months away from completion, which seems a bit long, but such is construction.

The council have released a very nice guide to the development, which includes the following plan of what the area should look like after completion.

I guess my two concerns would be that it doesn’t turn into a car-lined wind tunnel, like Blair or Allen Streets, and that we get some decent retail developments down there. Some of the buildings, particularly the one that housed the Down Town Local bar and it’s neighbour, were terrible and really need to be replaced. Hopefully the “shared space” development will improve the values in the area and prompt further development.



7 responses to “Project update #4 – Lower Cuba Street

  1. Yes, it is a nice document, except I still cannot figure it out.

    It looks like the lane is one way, so how is anyone who is parking in there (in the metered parks particularly) going to get back out without using the bus lanes on Manners?

    Could someone from the council please explain, or better yet, draw a better rendering of how cars are going to use the spaces?

  2. Trees would be lovely, but will there be enough sunlight for them down there? Lower Cuba feels a bit like the ravine in 127 Hours.

    Also, it would’ve been nice if the designers had been a little more courageous and taken out the car parking to broaden the pedestrian areas, maybe just leaving a couple of loading and 10-minute zones, but I know the retailers would kick up a massive stink.

    • Just perhaps such retailers might have a point. It is not as if Cuba St is a park, but rather a part of the CBD where people go to shop.

      Maybe the designers refused to be so timid as to remove the private car from lower Cuba in the face of every hipster and their scooter? Or is courage a one way street in the opposite direction?

      • You’re missing the potential benefits both to pedestrians and retailers of successful shared streets, like the one in Copenhagen that has revitalised the city centre and encouraged loads of foot traffic. And it’s not as if a no-car Lower Cuba would be hard to access for drivers – it’s only 140m from end to end, with two parking lots adjacent.

        But if, as Andy Foster says, the Council weighs up improving pedestrian access around Te Aro Park instead then that would be a good compromise too.

  3. Quick response
    JSmithKaukau – if travelling by vehicle you’ll get into Lower Cuba from Manners St (drive up from Taranaki) You will leave Lower Cuba directly into Wakefield St (ie the whole system is one way reverse direction from what it was previously) Reason for reversing it was that it helps (slightly) reduce the number of turning movements at Taranaki intersection.
    WCC Watch – agree with you regarding some buildings in Lower Cuba – though there are some very nice buildings and overall the buildings there are certainly more interesting than the former Manners Mall area. I need to check what further development is intended for the James Smith Building – I believe there is intended to be some below ground cafe type development. More substantively last September there was an announcement that the Cordon Bleu school would be located in the Regent Centre – opening onto both Lower Cuba and Manners which would really change that area very positively (would replace precisely the poorest buildings you mention)
    Final comment is that the decision on number of carparks rested with Councillors. The majority of the previous Council preferred an option with 20 carparks, the minorityof us opted for an option with 10. This could have been revisited by the new Council, but I think looking ahead the area I am most keen to take some of the new additional parking (Manners Mall redevelopment allowed a net 40+ additional carparks) back is in lower Dixon Street where I think we can do something much better as a people space around Te Aro Park.

    Warmest regards

    Cr Andy Foster
    Transport Leader WCC

  4. The development is interesting and am looking forward to the end of the consistent “Jack-hammering” going on below me, One of the better options for the council would have been to remove the Blue building of scummy flats and build another car park building with retail on the ground floor. This could remove one side of the streets parking opening it up for outdoor cafe type strand. Similar to the very attractive “Strand” Area in Tauranga city. The trees in a perfect line don’t seem very align to the image of Wellington. I would think Wellington is a little more Quirkier than that. But perhaps solid artforms could alter this look.

  5. Pingback: Sharing spaces·

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