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After a second tunnel – four lanes through Hataitai

four-lanes-six-lanes
NZTA

by Lindsay Shelton
Reports that new mayor Andy Foster wants to prioritise a second Mt Victoria Tunnel have reminded me that eight years ago the local community was concerned to discover that a second tunnel would require the four-laning of Ruahine Street.

Andy held the council’s transport portfolio (under mayor Celia Wade-Brown) when Hataitai residents met in 2011 to express their opposition to the widening of Ruahine Street and Wellington Road.

Perhaps he has forgotten their concerns. Since his election as mayor, he’s been saying he wants to prioritise a second tunnel, ahead of the introduction of mass rapid transit.

And last week LGWM announced that it was continuing its planning for a second tunnel – though it chose its words carefully, and said planning for mass rapid transit (“we need to determine the most appropriate route and type”) would also be continuing:

“The business case for state highway improvements will identify preferred options for the Basin Reserve and an extra Mt Victoria tunnel….
It will … investigate the extra Mt Victoria tunnel, and how the wider transport system will operate with these improvements.”

“Improvements” being the planners’ way of describing road widening without using the word “widening”.

Back in 2011, Andy Foster told the residents’ meeting he acknowledged that traffic growth was decreasing and alternative technologies were being developed. And he warned:

“The risk is that we are planning for business as it’s been for the last sixty years. What if it’s not the same?”

A question which is even more relevant today.

After the meeting, a community group was set up to fight the plans for building a motorway through the eastern suburbs. Its convenor said:

“The proposed roads will erode our quality of life in the Eastern suburbs and won’t relieve traffic congestion. People living within 200m – and this includes Kilbirnie School and the adjacent Playcentre – would be exposed to higher levels of pollution. Hataitai kindergarten will need to be moved. The edge of the Town Belt would be sliced off to make room for 6-8 lanes of traffic. After a few years, congestion from induced traffic means we would be back where we started – but $500 million poorer”

The Transport Agency, then as now, was unmoved. Two years later it confirmed that a second Mt Victoria Tunnel would require widening Ruahine Street.

…the new proposals see a maximum of four lanes along the vast majority of Ruahine Street’s length

It released an illustration (above) showing that the extra lanes would take land from the Town Belt.

And then in 2014, locals discovered that the Transport Agency was also planning to take part of Hataitai Park for the road widening.

… it was likely the agency would need to encroach into Hataitai Park further than previously thought in order to accommodate new bus lanes… The bus lanes would be needed only if the region’s decision-makers decided to build a dedicated busway, rather than a light rail network.

A final decision was expected “in the next few months.” And that was six years ago. Before “Let’s Get Wellington Moving” had been thought of.

The fact that none of the decisions has yet been made gives an opportunity to reconsider the need to widen two of Hataitai’s streets. Community opposition to the road widening is as strong as ever, as shown last year when the Mt Victoria Residents Association told the LGWM planners why it strongly opposes a second Mt Victoria vehicle tunnel, the widening of Ruahine Street and Wellington Road, and the seizing of Town Belt land.

More houses – not more roads

50 comments:

  1. Helene Ritchie, 19. November 2019, 9:09

    I think Mayor Foster has some explaining to do.
    He cannot say he supports the environment (including saving miniature native snails) but at the same time support putting roading through the Town Belt, and another tunnel underneath it…for more CO2 emissions.

     
  2. Aaron Smith, 19. November 2019, 9:27

    How bloody terrible!
    We don’t even need a second tunnel or the loss of any more of the Town belt.

     
  3. Conor, 19. November 2019, 9:51

    Yes, Andy is a hypocrite on the Town Belt. It’s ok to use it for a road, but not for homes. Prioritising cars over people. I am really looking forward to people getting angry about this.

     
  4. Jimmy, 19. November 2019, 9:59

    The mayoral rejects shout dissent from the stands. How can you be pro-sustainability and yet want to build a road? Perhaps your inability to deal with such ambiguity explains why you weren’t elected? People with real jobs, who create real wealth that pays for all of the policy wonks and life-time politicos to have their cushy Wellington life, actually need the city connected to the airport. Sure, do it as sustainably as possible. Commiserate with those whose homes are impacted. But please stop acting like nimby Ned Ludds.

     
  5. thomas, 19. November 2019, 10:45

    I was one of the owners of an apartment in Wellington Road who was forcibly bought out by NZTA back in 2012/2013 to make way for this project. We were told the project would not happen until after Transmission Gully was finished … Despite the lack of housing in Wellington, the two apartment buildings on Wellington Road have sat empty ever since. NZTA also bought some of the houses on the south side of Wellington Road, to enable this ‘four lanes to the airport’. Apparently they already own the houses on the city side of Mt Vic…. So it all seems inevitable….

    But a year or so ago someone started building a new townhouse on the south side of Wellington Road!?! How did they get resource consent to build in an area designated for demolition? NZTA will have to buy them out at market price, which is a stupid waste of money since if the work starts in 2021, this new townhouse will only be a couple of years old.

     
  6. Surface Tension, 19. November 2019, 10:46

    When we talk about the town belt in this context we’re talking about a weedy strip of grass alongside state highway one which never gets used for anything.

     
  7. Alan, 19. November 2019, 10:56

    Foster and his colleagues will have a few free lunches on ratepayers before organising another committee to talk about this issue. Let’s hope native snails won’t be on the lunch menu!

     
  8. Morris Oxford, 19. November 2019, 11:18

    Alan, our native snails are completely different from “escargots” as consumed by the lucky French. Just saying.

     
  9. Trustee of the Town Belt, 19. November 2019, 11:43

    Surface Tension you are completely missing all the points. And would it be OK to you to have your neighbors take your land that you are not walking on 24/7? An as yet unplanted strip of grass in the Town Belt, that some people walk on sometimes, is still legally part of the Town Belt .

     
  10. Conor, 19. November 2019, 12:00

    Here is Andy describing a patch of grass which is designated part of the Town Belt:
    – “These Green Belts are essential parts of the character and beauty of Wellington. They are essential to the quite remarkable – ongoing – recovery of biodiversity in Wellington. They are also fantastic recreational assets.”
    – “these special areas are a critical part of what makes Wellington, Wellington.”
    – “You would have to get around that the Mayor and Councillors hold the Town Belt in Trust on behalf of the Citizens of Wellington. In that role we are obligated to act in the best interests of the Town Belt.”

     
  11. Jeanuau P, 19. November 2019, 12:19

    Jimmy I don’t know where you do all your “productive work” in your “real job” but newsflash: Wellington City IS already connected by roads to the airport. In fact it’s one of the easier, quicker and closer-to-get-to airports, without the need to commute for a hour or more like Auckland.

     
  12. Benny, 19. November 2019, 12:23

    I wish that every commentator calling residents nimbys would be forced to move into these houses where people’s lives will be heavily impacted, and for whom they have so little care. Go on Jimmy, you can take it, move to Hataitai close to Wellington Road. And never complain.

     
  13. Glen Smith, 19. November 2019, 12:31

    I am a strong supporter of alternative transport (rail, bus, cycling, walking) and also of green space. If the Mt Victoria tunnel and Ruahine St changes only include extra roading then they should be vehemently opposed. But if they include high quality PT they should be supported. This is because the total regional loss of greenspace and total regional car use and CO2 generation will be lower with this option.
    Wellington is forecast to grow rapidly and we need to plan for this. Ideally growth should be intensification rather than urban sprawl. The large flat areas of land to the east are ideal for medium density housing via Transport Orientated Development but this requires high quality transport corridors. If development doesn’t happen here it has to occur somewhere else and at present this is car orientated urban sprawl to the north and especially the Kapiti Coast, consuming large areas of green coastal land and requiring ever increasing car use and road expansion.
    Car opponents/ PT advocates need to think very very carefully about the wider consequences of what they advocate. Loss of a strip of town belt is regrettable. But it far, far preferable to the alternatives.

     
  14. Jimmy, 19. November 2019, 12:32

    So, Trustee of the Town Belt, should we propose compulsory purchase of the houses on the other side of the road instead? It’ll cost more, and inconvenience more people, but it will save 35 metres of town belt.

     
  15. Jimmy, 19. November 2019, 12:39

    Of course it’s horrid, Benny. But lots of us have had to give up plenty of things that we would have liked to have kept for “the greater good”. It’s called being part of a community. Sometimes we give, sometimes we receive. How do you think any airport, road, train track, public building, park, etc, etc ever gets built?? Or perhaps you’re in favour of urban sprawl? We could move the airport somewhere else with better transport connections.

     
  16. Jimmy, 19. November 2019, 12:45

    Jeanuau P – you’re totally right. It’s fantastic when I’m going to the airport at 5.15am. Sadly, for the residents of Lyall Bay, Strathmore, Kibirnie, etc, it’s a bit of a horror show getting into town in the morning and getting home in the evening.

     
  17. Benny, 19. November 2019, 13:24

    @Jimmy: Certainly, for me, I reject what has been a technological plateau for too long, during which we were reaping the benefits (being moved) and considered the nuisance to others as necessary evils, or mere by-products. To me, we should indeed now reject any further developments that impact people, because if you don’t do that for people, who do you do it for? We live in the 21st century – cars should be 100% quiet, emission-free, and so should planes, boats, buses, trucks, etc. As a community, we should demand clean and silent modes of transport rather than do what we’ve always done. When we are all driving EVs, or run on PT/AT, it’ll be much easier for everyone to live close to an artery or an airport (if planes have finally become silent), as long as we make it look as pretty as in this diagram.

    Finally, I don’t think urban sprawl is a bad thing, as long as it is supported by clean and reliable infrastructure (following the standard described above). At the end of the day, we are looking at putting people in these homes, and they shouldn’t be doomed to live crammed together. Believe me, people would prefer to have more space over no privacy. Yes, it is more costly, but this is for the right reasons: to ensure residents and newcomers have a good quality of life.

    I don’t live in Hataitai, but there or anywhere else, I care for people’s wellbeing and don’t think they should just suck it up. When so many peoples’ lives are at stake, the ground for “greater good” is way less clear.

     
  18. Ms Green, 19. November 2019, 13:39

    Or perhaps Jimmy we shouldn’t have a Town Belt at all…what a waste of land?
    Ruahine St used to be Town Belt, so did many other parts of the city – some gobbled up for housing, some for roading, some for a hotel etc.

    Then again we could park the planes in Lambton Quay when the cars are taken out … but the buses might get in the way (if there are drivers for them).

    @Glen. Don’t let the mayor or NZTA fool you that a second tunnel will be for cycling, walking and public transport – yeah right, just like Transmission Gully could be part of an electric bullet train line one day, with trolley bus priority lanes on either side leading to the greater urban sprawl that Kapiti and Porirua will have become. Now there’s some good ideas!

     
  19. Mark, 19. November 2019, 13:44

    Jimmy why build another road where and when it’s not needed. Increasingly now the what and how our money is spent from taxes are not for “the greater good”.
    You appear as the Oligarchy’s Think tank: “If it’s not broke, suggest fixing it”. This has been done over and over at a great cost to the taxpayers. Simultaneously what needs fixing is ignored.

     
  20. glenn, 19. November 2019, 14:58

    @Ms Green………….whether you agree with it or not, it’s called progress.

     
  21. Curtis Nixon, 19. November 2019, 15:01

    The airport at Rongotai will eventually go the way of Kai Tak in Hong Kong, for the same reasons. We need to be planning for and building an alternative at Paraparaumu or the like.

    The land use of an airport is not harmonious with a modern city, thus the pressure to move them out of town where the noise and sprawl is less of a problem.

     
  22. Jimmy, 19. November 2019, 15:21

    Well, Mark, I’ve also got a beautiful image on my desktop of a by-pass around the Basin that was crafted in 1979. That’s 40 years ago. And what’s happened since? One stretch of road past the war memorial. If we keep waiting for the right time and the right technology, we’ll have REAL gridlock in that part of town. Infrastructure projects take years, so they are always a risk. But sitting around doing nothing is really not an option. Do councillors sit there petrified that they might be called out for building the next Bridge to Nowhere?

     
  23. Potamous, 19. November 2019, 15:58

    Good point Mark and I see you got no answer from Jimmy to the question “why do the unneeded”.
    Glenn: this is called regression not progress. That is what’s been going on in this best little city without a Town Hall, regression in the decision makers.
    Nixon: the airport is one of the marks of a modern city. I disagree on its relocation to Kapiti as it’s lucky for travelers that they don’t have a sprawling drive for over an hour to catch a plane.

     
  24. Pam, 19. November 2019, 16:22

    The green area adjacent to Ruahine Street is home to an important dog walking area. Important? because older citizens and people with disabilities can access it easily. Sadly the Wellington Town Belt like salami has had slice after slice taken off it. The argument being that a little slice doesn’t matter. Already 50% of one of Wellingtons greatest assets, the Town Belt, has been eaten away.
    If part of Ruahine Street Town Belt is taken under the Public works act, the council is entitled to ask for compensation. Land in Clifton Terrace taken from the Town Belt by the government is an example of land that could be returned.

     
  25. Jimmy, 19. November 2019, 17:24

    Au contraire, Potamous. Did I not mention that gridlock was inevitable in that part of town without action? Do you not travel around there? Add a planned airport expansion and higher density housing on that side of town, increased traffic is inevitable. All I’m suggesting is getting on with building some needed infrastructure rather than waiting for gridlock. A bit like buying spare toothpaste before the old tube runs out.

     
  26. Jimmy, 19. November 2019, 17:36

    According to Amy Jackman’s article from 2014 (that’s 5 years ago!), Ruahine Street was already the home of “traffic nightmares”. So, perhaps rather like climate change deniers, there are a breed of people who are Ruahine Street traffic problem deniers? Deluded folks who want to ignore the evidence of a problem that needs some swift and positive action?

     
  27. Conor, 19. November 2019, 17:41

    We’re all suggesting that Jimmy, though we may disagree on what exact form that infrastructure should take. Some of us are also asking how Foster squares his concern for the Town Belt with this plan to take some of it.

     
  28. luke, 19. November 2019, 18:30

    If you want more traffic, build more roads. Good little earner for the road builders eh? That’s why Wellington won’t get quality public transport, the highway builders and their puppet politicians don’t want it.

     
  29. Glen Smith, 19. November 2019, 19:37

    Benny. Urban sprawl is most definitely a world wide problem with the total area of land occupied by cities due to triple to 3 million square kilometers by 2050, largely at the expense of some of the most productive land.

    Ms Green. A second Mt Victoria Tunnel is inevitable because transport capacity to the east is inadequate and will become more so over this century. Ignoring this won’t make it go away. The best outcome is to support a plan where the majority of this added capacity is more efficient alternative transport modes (dedicated PT, cycling and pedestrian) with a small amount of additional road capacity for trips which can only be undertaken by car. This is what I am advocating for and what I encourage you to advocate for. How do you think refusing to consider ANY tunnel is going to further this best outcome? It will simply cause LGWM and the central government (likely National when re-elected) to dig in their heels and force through the new tunnel without the most important component – dedicated high quality PT capacity.

    Jimmy. I suspect the beautiful image of a bypass around the Basin that you have on your desk only included additional road capacity. If you think this will prevent escalating congestion then you are sadly misled. Experience worldwide and the Regional Council’s own professionally modelled projections show building more roads without providing high quality PT alternatives inevitably leads to more congestion (around 90% increase by 2041 according to GWRC modelling).

    Pam. Compensation for the town belt land take along Ruahine St is an excellent idea. I suggest WCC use this as a bargaining chip to ensure the land in northern Miramar is conserved as a large public regional park.

     
  30. Dave B, 19. November 2019, 19:54

    Well Jimmy, with the greatest of respect, I’ve also got a scruffy scan on my computer desktop of an extract from the De Leuw Cather report showing an extension of the rail system through the city that was proposed in 1963. That’s 56 years ago. And what’s happened since? Nothing. I also have a copy of their 1966 report which states that “We consider it extremely important that the recommended railway extension into the Wellington central area be proceeded with at an early date to ensure that the planned highway capacities will not be exceeded”. “Every effort should be made to ensure that the recommended railway extension is operational by 1976”. Ha ha!

    If we keep expanding only road capacity, we’ll continue to have REAL gridlock all over the city. And the fact that successful mayoral candidates and the folk who elected them choose to ignore the sorry history of trying to rely on cars to meet all the transport-needs of a city, means that those with more insight into this subject should continue to call out the reality.

     
  31. michael, 19. November 2019, 22:53

    Little wonder nothing gets done as, no matter what is proposed, there are people who will protest against it, be it tunnels, cyclelanes, buses or light rail etc.

     
  32. Northland, 19. November 2019, 22:54

    The eastern suburbs need improved transport links, both roading and ideally some sort of light rail.

    The important thing is to get these improvements going now rather than waiting another ten years while everyone talks around the issue and money is frittered away on consultants and PR.

    Absolutely Positively Wellington – or – Let Keep Welly Dreaming ?

     
  33. Ross Clark, 20. November 2019, 0:53

    What we’re not acknowledging is that if a plan was put in place to build more public transport capacity before more roads, there would be a lot of political and other pushback. There are significant volumes of road traffic which can’t be diverted to public transport.

     
  34. Peter, 20. November 2019, 4:02

    It’s 2019, we know that induced demand is a thing, we know that climate change is real, and we know that people who are exposed to a higher level of particulate matter are more likely to get cancer.

    The current public transport option from the Eastern suburbs is unattractive, unreliable and excessively expensive. We need to focus on fixing that and giving people a viable alternative to driving before further destroying our health, communities and planet with more car infrastructure.

     
  35. TrevorH, 20. November 2019, 7:07

    A second Mt Victoria tunnel is absolutely vital if the airport keeps expanding its passenger capacity and major developments on the Miramar Peninsula like Shelly Bay proceed. The current peak hour congestion is an increasing cost to the Wellington economy. More public transport options could be helpful if they went where and when people want them to go, but organizing a competent system seems to be outside this city’s abilities.

     
  36. Matty H, 20. November 2019, 7:13

    Jimmy – a Hataiti motorway eating up the town belt would not stop the gridlock that has been compounded by the failed public transport system. But I imagine the Shelly Bay developer is pushing this hard as currently there is no traffic capacity for his plans for our recreational area and penguin habitat to be turned into a sprawling new ugly suburb .

     
  37. Jimmy, 20. November 2019, 7:15

    This thread of comments pretty much sums up my experience of living and working in Wellington. Lots of people who want to say ‘No’ to anything suggested by anyone else but cannot come up with a pragmatic suggestion of their own. I totally support light rail (or equivalent) from the city to the airport. But will that fix the Basin snarl up? Will it help the thousands of people who go the airport directly from their homes? (I presume mass transit won’t go to every suburb). Perhaps I should get on my ebike, Conor? Get out of the stands and start backing the guy who was democratically elected by the people of Wellington.

     
  38. Harry McNaugh, 20. November 2019, 8:58

    Jimmy here’s a pragmatic solution for your problem. If you can’t live in the same city where you work, let me tell you about working from home (remotely) and using skype for meetings. It’s all the rage to stop bizarre living arrangements requiring air travel to get to work. Or even better move to the place where you work.

     
  39. Conor, 20. November 2019, 9:28

    Jimmy, I agree with you. Every issue is a third rail issue in Wellington. Foster is often one of them! The frustrating thing is that there was a transport plan agreed on by all stakeholders including Foster as councillor. He then campaigned against the plan, without having a funded and supported alternative. It proves your point. The people who voted for Andy were voting No to a plan, not Yes to some alternative. It’s a real shame, because it’s just more delay. But good to agree with you Jimmy.

     
  40. Traveller, 20. November 2019, 9:31

    The NZTA illustration shows how Hataitai would be well and truly cut off from the Town Belt. That would be really bad for everyone.

     
  41. John Rankin, 20. November 2019, 11:20

    @Conor: the difficulty I have with the “transport plan agreed on by all stakeholders” is that rapid transit doesn’t get past Newtown to the airport until about 2035 (assuming no delays). As others are pointing out, the eastern suburbs have a serious and rapidly worsening problem today and can’t reasonably be expected to wait 15+ years for a practical alternative to travel by private car. Of course, if there is a National-led government in the next 10 years (when rapid transit stage 2 is scheduled to start), it will cancel the project under current policy.

    So: LGWM is not going to deliver rapid transit to the eastern suburbs and airport until 2035 at the earliest, 2045 if there is a National-led government for 9 years. Hence it seems rational to say that if that’s the plan, Wellington needs more road capacity now. The status quo is not a realistic option.

    A better plan would build rapid transit to the eastern suburbs and airport as soon as possible. An opening date of 2029 is completely achievable, if there is the will to make it happen. I don’t understand the reasons for the slow roll-out. Let’s provide a congestion-free alternative to driving – sooner rather than later.

     
  42. kerry, 20. November 2019, 20:00

    John. I think the problem is the scale of change. LGWM are forecasting that car-use will fall by about 15% by 2036 (Recommended programme of investment, p 24), with another 18,000 people coming into the city each morning. So far so good, but there seems to be a growing perception of climate-change risks.

    — The IPCC Climate Report 2018 introduced a new target; making a strong attempt to control temperature global average temperature at 1.5˚C, not the 2˚C of the Paris agreement:
    “In comparison to a 2°C limit, the transformations required to limit warming to 1.5°C are qualitatively similar but more pronounced and rapid over the next decades. 1.5°C implies very ambitious, internationally cooperative policy environments that transform both supply and demand.”
    — Australian bush-fires have begun earlier than before, with a very bad season predicted and no certainty of better conditions in coming years.
    — California is just as bad.

    In Britain in the 1830s, top railway experts were making mistakes that look silly today, because they had no experience of such rapid change. Faster railways were changing everything, and now we are facing the same common factor – very rapid change. LGWM has two options here:
    — Plan for rapid change and slow down if it proves unnecessary.
    — Plan for slower change and discover, too late, that it is not enough.
    This applies to light rail in particular. Planning for rapid introduction costs little more than something quicker, and holding back at the stage of letting a construction contract would be easy enough.

     
  43. Sasha, 20. November 2019, 22:33

    We have a traffic bottleneck and a second tunnel is a very sensible solution. Of course it necessitates additional lanes, it would be truly senseless to funnel the traffic immediately into a single lane. What we have here is a logical solution, one which would solve a massive problem. But it necessitates change.

     
  44. Peter, 20. November 2019, 23:33

    Sasha, fixing this ‘bottleneck’ by widening the road and building a new tunnel will simply make driving more attractive in the short term until new bottlenecks appear (the arterial streets that lead onto the newly widened road).

    Sure the traffic on Ruahine Street and around the Basin can be slow sometimes but every city in the world experiences some degree of congestion on their roads. Wellington’s level of congestion isn’t bad at all. The best thing we can do is provide congestion-free alternatives, like public transport with it’s own right of way. The ‘logic’ of trying to fix traffic congestion by increasing road capacity instead of building alternatives to single occupant vehicle travel is how Houston ended up with their Katy Freeway (google it).

     
  45. Potamous, 21. November 2019, 6:13

    Sasha. We have a bottleneck as soon as the motorway ends, and traffic jams up way before that. Traffic and traffic jams is a city side effect. If you cram too many people into a small concrete urban space and tell them to get to work at the same time. And if you invite them to move to Kapiti by marketing it and building them an expressway.
    The “traffic” problem which is the one person per car will not be mitigated by an unneeded Basin flyover , second tunnel or more lanes sprawled out through our town belt. Fix the failed public transport system, and the govt need to make an effort to get its employees to carpool, work remotely from home and get people like Jimmy to live in the same city they work.

     
  46. Leviathan, 21. November 2019, 7:21

    There is a big difference between what NZTA was promoting for Ruahine St at the time of the Basin Bridge enquiry vs what should be a more realistic assessment. NZTA were proposing to take the two-lane road and make it into a 6 lane road (2 permanent lanes each way, plus slip lanes etc each side to Goa St, Wellington Road, nearby houses etc. That would ensure a massive effect on the Town Belt, including demolition of Badminton Hall, removal of trees in a major intersection with Wellington Road, and generally a road designed for 70-100kph. Difficult when the Town Belt legislation was specifically tightened to avoid authorities slicing away at the land.

    Let’s face it – Ruahine St has a tidal flow for most of the day, i.e. more traffic in one direction in the morning and the opposite direction in the evening. A lot of the issues it faces could be solved with one extra lane, and tidal flow management, at very little detriment to the Town Belt. Would that be so bad?

     
  47. Keith Flinders, 21. November 2019, 7:29

    So assuming Mayor Foster gets the second tunnel, widened Ruahine and Wellington Roads, how is he proposing to reduce the congestion though Te Aro? Unless doing the project as a whole, all the work done from the western portals of both old and new tunnels will only result in more space for vehicles moving as slowly as they do now. With a flyover off the agenda, what are his plans for the bottleneck around the Basin area? Mayor Foster needs to share what he knows and the public don’t know yet.

    Spending now on the long term mass transit requirements is surely what any progressive civic leader ought to do, as did the ones of 100 or so years ago. Wellington needs to get out of the short term mentality when it comes to transport needs vital to its economy. We can spend $200 million on a conference centre to serve at best a few thousand people a month, whilst baulking at spending ten times that figure on a light rail or similar system serving potentially tens of thousands of users per week.

     
  48. Tony, 21. November 2019, 8:54

    Having lived in the eastern suburbs for the last 54 years (all my life) the Mt Victoria tunnel expansion has been talked about for as long as I can remember. The main reasons have been, and still are, for local population growth expectations as well as the Airport growth. These are now looking to grow even more and still nothing is being decided.
    Now we have further concerns of global warming, sea level rises, earthquake tsunami risks etc. I wonder why we’re not looking more at moving the Airport as if any of the above occurs there’s no way out or in!
    In the past, the Kapiti Coast was an option and once Transmission Gully is in place a 30 minute drive into the city will be no different to what it currently is during peak hours. A big difference will be that the location will be more central for the lower to central north island. Rail is also in place on the Coast. This location still has the natural risks and would need to be factored in. Alternatively the Wairarapa could be an option with tunnels needed.
    Having travelled to many countries, including Britain, USA, China, Japan etc., locating an Airport that most travellers need to get through the local CBD with only one way in and out just doesn’t exist. So what would we do with the current Airport land if this was to happen? Well a few houses could be located there and public transport could take over from the road traffic.

     
  49. Ian, 25. November 2019, 1:09

    “It’s first principles; don’t point a highway at a CBD, that’s why the Pacific Highway is being focused on missing town centres. You don’t put traffic where lots of people are, so why do you aim a motorway at a CBD?”

    This applies to Wellington too: read this.

     
  50. Wellington.Scoop, 25. November 2019, 8:30

    Comments on this subject are now closed, because our system has reached capacity.

     

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