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11 comments:

  1. Ellen Blake, 15. April 2020, 14:01

    Good ideas Ian. Now is the time to focus on what we need. For some of these projects skilled staff will be required, like for a council works department, would these be taken from the private sector that delivers these projects now?

    One thing that Wellington is seeing now is a big increase of local walking, both in parks and on the footpath / road. Let’s see some projects to make that better – Nicola Young’s idea to get numbers on all city centre buildings could be extended to include road names in the right places with signage for all our fabulous shortcuts; Iona Pannett’s plan to fix verandahs could really use a boost. Clearly some of our footpaths are too narrow and there is extra funding to temporarily improve that. And how about more seats and shade so that all folks can easily get around. These simple actions make a big difference to what we need now and are great value too.

     
  2. Sue, 15. April 2020, 14:29

    Well said Ian, a convention centre … really.

     
  3. Alan, 15. April 2020, 16:44

    If these ideas for wider footpaths ever come to fruition then please, please let’s keep them for walking. Footpath = feet. Roadways are for such things as scooters, skateboards and cycles. Feet didn’t have wheels on them last time I looked.

     
  4. Northland, 15. April 2020, 19:12

    Excellent article Ian. Belt tightening is not going to be enough. We need more radical thinking. Council spending on the likes of WREDA, Singapore Airlines needs to get the axe.

     
  5. Pam, 15. April 2020, 19:26

    Construction of light rail would likely be a serious concern for an already crippled CBD. Prolonged (very prolonged based on Sydney experience) closures of city roads could be the nail in the coffin for many retailers and other businesses. Affordable rates, including rubbish collection, affordable tip fees, water, sewerage and basic services is core council business. It is very debatable whether in the current climate the council should be funding community groups with often noble aims but unproven outcomes and frequent duplication of programs and work undertaken by Crown agencies. Rates reduction and making the central city open for business again should be council goals. Available affordable parking is essential if the retail sector is to survive.

     
  6. Peter, 16. April 2020, 9:04

    Pam, we need to be thinking long term! We need better transport in this city, it’s urgent. Yes there would definitely be a period of disruption when the tracks are laid, but I think you are overstating how much it would actually affect business.

    Ask yourself – are people currently driving right up to retailers in the CBD and expecting a park right outside the shop they want to go to? Nope – they park in a garage, take public transport or walk. As long as walk-ability is preserved, then I can’t imagine the construction having a significant effect on the CBD.

     
  7. Pam, 16. April 2020, 19:45

    Peter perhaps, when lockdown is over, drive out to the Hutt or North City on a Saturday, or take the bus if you don’t mind a long wait and getting wet if it’s raining. Traffic jams, full car parks, hundreds of shoppers.
    Compared with Lambton Quay, virtually empty on the weekend. It remains to be seen if some major CBD retailers will reopen post lockdown. Mass transit to an airport that may well have a reduced number of international flights will be very comfortable with very few passengers on board, heavily subsidised by ratepayers.

     
  8. TrevorH, 18. April 2020, 10:10

    @ Peter: In the post-COVID 19 world, will more public transport be a desirable thing, as we prepare for the next pandemic? This paper describes the New York City subway’s role in seeding coronavirus in that stricken city:. Its conclusions are sobering.

     
  9. Mike Mellor, 18. April 2020, 15:49

    TrevorH: that’s an interesting paper, and if you read it carefully the author identifies a key factor: millions of people still had to go to work while the subway was reducing service. As he says: “the resulting reduction in train service tended to maintain passenger density, the key factor driving viral propagation. How ironic it is that, from the public health perspective, the optimal policy would have been to double – maybe even triple – the frequency of train service” (pp16-16).

    So it wasn’t the presence of the Subway that was the issue, it was the disproportionate reduction in Subway service cramming people into a smaller space – precisely the opposite of what was required. From a public health perspective, more, not less, public transport should have been provided. That is indeed a sobering conclusion.

     
  10. TrevorH, 18. April 2020, 16:59

    @ Mike Mellor: passenger density is indeed the key factor, and while it may be reduced by providing greater frequency of train service, it cannot be avoided altogether on the subway. The paper recommends providing other modes of transport during “renormalization” including subsidizing drivers to transport people in SUVs, vans and minibuses.

     
  11. Traveller, 18. April 2020, 18:15

    Interesting to compare the NY subway with Wellington’s buses – all seemingly empty these days… (And a London friend says that London bus drivers – nine have died from covid-19 – are not protected from passengers, as has been so well done here with the front doors being kept closed.)