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Five years of not getting us moving

lgwm logo 2017 [1]

by Lindsay Shelton
There was another reminder last week that Let’s Get Wellington Moving is mis-named. Announcing that public feedback from 2000 people [2] on changes to Wellington’s Golden Mile had overwhelmingly backed the “transform” option, it said: “The next step … is to identify a preferred option.”

If only LGWM could move on from research and consultation to what we thought it was supposed to be doing – getting us moving.

But its five year history shows that research and consultation is followed only by more of the same. Having asked us this year what we wanted for the Golden Mile, LGWM admits that it had also asked us last year, when “… Wellingtonians told us what they wanted to see on the mile that runs from Lambton Quay to Courtenay Place.”

We told them this year. We told them last year. And it was the same in 2018 [3] – after prolonged public consultation in 2017, the LGWM programme director announced that

“We’ll use the feedback to help guide our work as we develop a recommended programme of investment.”

We didn’t get a programme of investment. Instead: two more consultations asking the same questions, again. And getting the same answers, again.

In one of the findings from 2018, we told them: “It is time to act, while being mindful of cost.” Two years later, there’s no sign that LGWM have reached the time to act.

In September last year, mayoral candidate Conor Hill wrote [4]:

We’ve waited almost 5 years for an announcement that lacked the sort of detail you would expect after that time frame. Something as simple as a mass transit route and technology is not a clear part of the package. Long awaited changes to the Golden Mile are still awaiting a business case and another round of consultation… We could argue about this forever … Instead, let’s push hard to deliver the projects in Let’s Get Wellington Moving as fast as possible.

As consideration of what to do on the Golden Mile drags on into 2021, it’s impossible to believe that LGWM is pushing hard to deliver anything. In an unfortunately named ‘progress report’ in February 2017 [5], it summarised consultation that it had carried out in 2016:

In April and May 2016, we invited people across the region to share what they love about Wellington City and what frustrates them most about getting around it. More than 10,000 people joined the conversation. This provided Let’s Get Wellington Moving with 2,500 ideas, suggestions and options for improvements. It helped us understand the problems people face day to day as they walk, cycle, use public transport or drive around the city. Insights we’ve gained from the feedback so far have been used to help develop a set of 12 urban design and transport principles

They understood our problems. They gained insights. They developed a set of principles. There was more:

We’ve collected a wealth of data from different sources on where, when and how people travel around Wellington City. Additional information has been gathered on the reliability of journey times. This has built an excellent evidence base to inform decisions about possible improvements.

Almost five years later, where are the decisions? Where are the improvements? Where’s the action?