Kirks on Golden Mile

November 22nd, 2009 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The managing director of iconic store , writes in the Dom Post:

Kirkcaldie & Stains is one of Wellington’s longer-established stores.

As its managing director, I was delighted to read the views of the Wellington Chamber of Commerce on proposals to make the Golden Mile a mall and I  empathise with Sir ’ vision for  the city.

But I also fear that without much  more work being done, we risk badly damaging New Zealand’s best urban centre. …

Ease of access is vital for our company. Most customers are happy to walk some distance to visit us, others take public transport. But a significant number of customers like being able to park their cars nearby during the week and particularly at weekends.

If access becomes too difficult, customers will cease visiting the CBD and will do all their shopping in the city’s suburban malls.

I agree. And what may have to be looked at is more parking buildings, so people can still park easily next to Lambton Quay.

We need to be sure that we have sufficient population numbers and visitors to sustain a mall of the size that is being proposed. And central to the issue of ease of access for private transport is the matter of access to affordable and convenient car- parking.

I am a little unsure what Sir Bob is proposing with regard to this important matter, and I am also unsure what the Wellington city and regional councils can deliver on car parking now that the car parks are essentially out of their direct control.

I am not saying that any of the concerns or questions raised are reasons why we should not run with Sir Bob’s vision.

But I agree fully with the Chamber of Commerce that we need to give the idea very careful study.

Study yes – but a study that goes somewhere. Not a study to justify doing nothing. I want a study on what would be the best way to achieve Sir Bob’s vision, and how practical it is.

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12 Responses to “Kirks on Golden Mile”

  1. Rod (236 comments) says:

    Bob Jones is a property developer, not a retailer. Read between the lines – no cars equals retail suicide. The MD of Kirks sees the need to speak out but he is being very polite. He has every reason to swear. I would. And I speak from very hard earned experience. Pedestrian malls are a 1970s experiment that failed commercially everywhere they were tried.

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  2. gazzmaniac (2,319 comments) says:

    Kirks could have free 1 hour parking in their basement.

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  3. peterwn (3,192 comments) says:

    The present District Plan as far as I know restricts the number of parking places that developers may include in new buildings in the CBD. This was a deliberate move to coerce people into using public transport.

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  4. Rod (236 comments) says:

    “The present District Plan as far as I know restricts the number of parking places that developers may include in new buildings in the CBD. This was a deliberate move to coerce people into using public transport.”

    In Wellington there have been relatively few shopping alternatives to the central city because of geographic restrictions. With such an artificial “monopoly” you can perhaps understand why some people think they can dictate to shoppers. In Christchurch, for example, where there are plenty of alternative places to shop, the central city has died for retailers since this kind of social manipulation tactic was tried from around the 1970s. People simply went where there was car parking for shopping, and shrewd developers built more and more such places. Folks, they are called Shopping Malls. In Christchurch there are a ton of them. Wellington has been a late starter down this trend. Watch out if you head down this long outdated public policy path. In the US the devastation of inner city precincts caused by this past policy has become a huge issue over the past decade. For goodness sake, be careful you don’t make well known and old mistakes.

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  5. Lucia Maria (2,238 comments) says:

    I don’t shop in Wellington at all. I just drive through it.

    Parking buildings are not attractive at all. Normally you can’t walk from a parking building straight into the building you want to shop at – you have to go outside. Maybe cross a road or 3. Brave the wind and/or rain. Not pleasant. Far better to drive to a mall, park close the entrance near the shop you wish to go to.

    Plus malls have food halls where, once the location of the food hall is discovered, buying an assortment of food for all the family is relatively easy. Can’t do that in Wellington, you have to go traipsing around to try and find a cafe with food everyone likes.

    Malls will win in the end, much to the consternation of the supporters of the “golden mile”.

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  6. RainbowGlobalWarming (295 comments) says:

    “New Zealand’s best urban centre.”

    Ponsonby? Tauranga? Newmarket? Whitianga? Napier?

    No, Wellington the countries largest coffee shop for public servants.

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  7. Anthony (784 comments) says:

    There is currently next to no parking in Lambton Quay anyway. The issue is how the side streets with the parking will still be able to be accessed if cars are shut out of Lambton Quay.

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  8. jcuknz (704 comments) says:

    When I visited the centre of Denver [ Colorado USA ] I was impressed, as a tourist I admit rather than as a shopper,at the way their ‘main street’ was connected to the suburbs with light rail. I’d left my car out there in a carpark next to the station. Then to travel up and down ‘main street’ there were numerous and frequent electric powered buses continuously providing free transport. In the centre of the street between the bus lanes is space for men playing chess and various food stalls amongst the trees …. not the barren Lasmbton Quay I remember from when I lived in Wellington City and delivered cakes to Kirk’s.

    My memory of Wellington tells me that there was a street parrallel to Lambton Quay [ on the Harbour side ] and anothe likewise to Willis Street which ‘curves’ around to parrallel Manners/Courtney Place .. if there is a will there is a way.

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  9. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    So we want to turn Lambton Quay into a mall, but turn Manners Mall back into a road?

    I think both the above proposals are just plain dumb. The Quay is just too much of a main arterial feed for that end of the city, with no alternative to replace it should it be lost.
    And meanwhile the WCC wants to remove the people friendly area of Manners Mall which functions so well in conjunction with the adjacent Cuba Mall – dumb, dumb, dumb.

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  10. cha (3,825 comments) says:

    The SO dragging me to the Queen Street Mall in Brisbane wasn’t the miserable experience I thought it would be. I loved it!.

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  11. Jeremy Harris (323 comments) says:

    Plenty of international studies have shown that pedestrianisation in CBD areas actually doubles the number shoppers, NZ is one of the few countries in the world that still thinks every store needs 4 parks outside to be successful…

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  12. Brent C (1 comment) says:

    Rod: I agree that Pedestrian Malls were a failure in the U.S in the 1970s. The opposite has happened in Europe on the other hand. Copenhagen and other European have actually made these malls successful. Now you have to look at the characteristics of Wellington, its it like cities in the U.S or is it like cities in Europe? What happened in the U.S is these malls lacked mix density, access, cafes, quality street furniture and in the end they attracted budget shops such as $2 shops.

    This video tells the story of what happened in Copenhagen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rstEWMD89L8(9.50mins)
    The story is very familiar to whats happening now in Wellington. But from the 1960s!!!

    Because Wellington has high patronage on public transport and high density in the CBD, pedestrianising the golden mile can be a successful. I cannot see parking buildings making the central city a better place. Thanks to Bob Jones experiencing Europe and bringing many of these ideas to Wellington, we will become a forward thinking city. As long as the council encourages cafes and on street activities, the mall shall work successful.

    Do you also think that rent prices will drop? Why? By predestrianising the golden mile, it will allow more people to use the route at a slower rate (the slow people travel, the more things they do on there way). It will also improve access to Kirks for those people who are walking along Lambton Quay (as most people walk along the western side).

    Kris K: I hope not. Buses would (in my opinion) run along the quays

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