Wellington Scoop

Vital questions ignored in Let’s Get Welly Moving’s long list of scenarios

by Tim Jones
The Save the Basin Campaign welcomes the public release of Let’s Get Welly Moving’s long list of scenarios for the future of Wellington transport. But we are concerned that some vital questions appear to have been ignored during the assessment process.

First of all, Let’s Get Welly Moving didn’t release these scenarios until they were forced to by an Official Information Act request. If NZTA, Greater Wellington and Wellington City Council genuinely want informed public debate, they should have released these scenarios and workshop notes as soon as possible after the workshops in November 2016, not waited until June 2017 to do so.

Second, from the material released, it looks like some vital questions have not been asked during the assessment process. No consideration appears to have been given to either climate change or other public health issues, such as the excess deaths caused by pollution, especially from diesel engines.

Both the Government and the local authorities have commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – why hasn’t the need to meet these commitments been put front and centre when developing and assessing these scenarios?

In terms of the Basin Reserve, we are pleased that none of the scenarios appear to show a Basin Reserve flyover. But there is far too little detail shown in the material that’s publicly released to be sure what’s planned for the Basin. We need to see detailed proposals.

The Basin Bridge Board of Inquiry made it very clear that assessment of alternative transport options needs to be thorough, transparent and replicable. We’re not sure that Let’s Get Welly Moving’s scenario development and assessment process has met those criteria, and we’ll be watching their next steps very closely.

Tim Jones is spokesperson for the Save the Basin campaign

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  1. Levi, 19. June 2017, 10:06

    In the scenario report it repeatedly refers to BAU. i.e. less than BAU, more than BAU, etc. What is BAU?

  2. Levi, 19. June 2017, 10:12

    Many of the scenarios will need “grade separation between SH1 and key arterial routes”. That’s either going to mean a tunnel under or a flyover over at the Basin – and you already know which of those two they prefer… Unless NZTA / LGWM suddenly show a reversal of ideology and decide that they will follow the sort of idea that Option X was espousing, then a flyover is still on the table.

  3. Maria van der Meel, 19. June 2017, 19:26

    And how are we getting on the with the safety report for the Golden Mile?

  4. Mike, 19. June 2017, 20:36

    BAU = Business As Usual

  5. Ross Clark, 19. June 2017, 22:09

    No discussion of serious control on parking and especially central city commuter parking?

    After too many years in this field, I have come to the view that talk of ‘balanced transport policy’ is a chimaera. We’re more than happy to provide alternatives to the private car, but getting people to use them is another matter. We are certainly not prepared to put serious restrictions on car use, not even the Greens as far as I can see. There’s a reason why people use their cars, and it’s not from the lack of a workable alternative. They like doing so.

  6. luke, 20. June 2017, 8:16

    my reading of that report is that a flyover or tunnel is very much still on the cards.

  7. Mark, 22. June 2017, 9:13

    Not asking the right questions, and ALL of the relevant questions raised by all stakeholders, will simply return “the wrong answer” (e.g. a flyover) like it did last time. It was deliberate last time to ignore key stakeholders, and it’s deliberate this time to ignore important issues. That is, issues that are important, but clearly not to the “right” people.

    The PDF supplied is … curious. I guess I’m too stupid to decode how it’s supposed to be read. I don’t see a single mention of domestic or foreign tourism. Sustainability is notable by its absence too. Financing? Democratic participation? Transparency? Health concerns (hat tip to Tim), wildlife, visual pollution… the list goes on.

    Like I said, if the preconceived “answer” already suggests a flyover or another tunnel (in an earthquake prone city), then maybe you’re not asking the right question. You’re certainly not asking ALL of the right questions. And you got to ask yourself WHY they’re not asking, other than they think they know better than the rest of us, and our interests, opinions, ideas and contributions are of little import. Or maybe I’m seeing demons, where there are only children with fingers in their ears? 🙂

  8. Elaine Hampton, 23. June 2017, 9:27

    The right question has to be “why no concentration on public transport, rapid bus transit or rapid rail”? Why are our NZTA engineers locked in the last century? New Zealand is falling behind, and wasting a lot of public money kowtowing to roading interests. We don’t need our cities and open spaces chopped up for cars. What is lost is lost forever. Good clean public transport could save our cities and our health and (I expect) a good deal of sanity.
    All you young people with children – get active as we did over lead in petrol years ago; your small children and buggies are close to road level and exhaust fumes and tyre dust.

  9. David Bond, 23. June 2017, 12:37

    According to the 2015 GWRC Regional Land Transport Plan, 45% of commuters from the rest of the region use the train to get to and from Wellington. That is an incredibly high market-share that rail has managed to capture, and shows the massive contribution it is making to the corridors that it serves. Witness the traffic-problems that have occurred on the rare occasions that rail has been unavailable.

    Why then is no consideration being given to extending the rail system over the City-Airport corridor, which is deemed important enough to need a motorway?

    And by “extend the rail system”, I don’t mean an entirely separate light rail system. I mean an extension of what we already have; what has been proven as effective, and what is needed to bring similar benefits to a major area of the region that is currently un-connected.

    It should be possible to board a Matangi unit in Upper Hutt, Waikanae or Johnsonville and ride right through to Newtown, Kilbirnie and the Airport. This would provide the level of regional public-transport connectivity necessary to offload pressure from the present road-route, and make the sort of difference that it already makes to the Hutt Valley, Porirua and Kapiti routes.

  10. Ross Clark, 23. June 2017, 20:39

    @David Bond
    Agreed. While the bus’s share of the commuter market into central Wellington is IIRC similar to that of rail, extending the heavy rail network does need more attention.

    That said, I am not sure how much more of the through-CBD market it would pick up. The number of rail-to-bus PT journeys from the rail catchment to south of the Wellington CBD and vice versa is not that great to start with; I think around half a million trips per year. A direct rail link will grow this market, certainly, but the size of the end-to-end market may not be that large to start with.

  11. luke, 24. June 2017, 6:58

    the end to end market is reduced partly because transferring between bus & train cops both time and fiscal penalties.
    Integrated ticketing, and not all buses using the congested spine, would help to test the market.

  12. David Bond, 26. June 2017, 17:37

    The “end-to-end” public-transport market (rest-of-region to south-of-Wellington) is virtually non-existent because of the awkwardness and slowness of such journeys. The Airport Flyer bus has attempted to bridge this in a limited way, but it is a poor substitute for the entire regional rail system being extended along the City-2-airport corridor.

    The overall market for north-to-south is huge. Hence the perceived need to build a continuous motorway. But until heavy rail is extended, that market will not be seriously tapped for public transport. The private car with all its problems will continue as the dominant mode until this is done.

  13. luke, 26. June 2017, 20:22

    The only way I can see heavy rail heading south of the station is some sort of flyover along the quays, akin to the brisbane airport or bangkok’s bts. I imagine hooking it up with the existing network would be problematic, so Id just go for a standalone system with people transferring at the station.

  14. Alan H. Spinks, Chartered Engineer., 27. June 2017, 10:24

    Certainly copy the Brisbane to Airport railway. It is very efficient and causes no congestion. One solution for connecting it to the existing rail network is to keep the Johnsonville line at high level to connect to the new high level line. Connections to the existing platforms at Wellington station will be via covered escalators. The high level rail at Wellingon Airport will deliver passengers right into the check-in hall as at Brisbane. The Brisbane railway cost $220 million in 2002. I hear today a new east-wast road to Onehunga is to cost $2 billion. We need to get our priorities right.

  15. Neil Douglas, 27. June 2017, 10:55

    Alan, and next year, the Gold Coast will be connected to Brisbane Airport via LRT with a transer at Helensvale.

    Malcolm Turnbull’s passion for rail helped Phase II of the Gold Coast railway (oh and the Commonwealth Games).

    We need a real champion for rail in Wellington (and Wellington’s trolley buses) who can tap into central government funding and/or introduce a regional fuel tax.

  16. Michael, 27. June 2017, 19:52

    @Neil . . . isn’t it too late for a champion, or anything else, as the deal to pollute our beautiful city with diesel buses has been struck. GWRC has ridden rough shod over everyone with little regard for people and the environment.