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Looking at trees while you’re stuck in traffic

Opinion from the Strathmore Park blog
Wellington City’s Draft Annual Plan, recently released for “consultation,” represents a watered down, ineffectual attempt to pander to personal projects, released by a Council that is in serious trouble. I’ll bet you $50 that it gets passed despite opposition from residents. The WCC has proved again and again that its “consultation” process is of little value and lacks the credibility it deserves.

New projects listed in the plan are ineffectual and of low value.

“Greening Taranaki Street” as an example. The WCC plans to spend a pile of cash on making the street look pretty rather than resolving the issue around traffic on the back bone transport corridor. This means that you’ll be able to look at some trees while you’re stuck in traffic.

The reason that Taranaki Street is a nightmare of traffic is because the Green central and local movement blocked the proposal to underground the bypass where it crossed the street. So you have a major convergence of Southern traffic meeting East West traffic. This effectively cripples the bypass.

While we are on traffic, the plan lacks any kind of spending to resolve the growing, serious issues of the backbone transport corridor. That being from the Coast, or the Hutt, down through the city, up through Newtown or through Mt Victoria, out to the Eastern Suburbs and the Airport.

Where did that plan go? The last Council spent substantial amounts of cash preparing to bolster the corridor along with aligned public transport and the ability for infill housing on those routes.

It’s gone. What we have is money to be spent on guard rails, earthquake strengthening, and more cycle lanes. We lack any cohesive plan to fix the appalling state of our public transport or to plan for future transport woes that are here now. Including any vision around Wellington International Airport and its expansion, despite that being key to the economy of Wellington.

Perhaps the trees on Taranaki Street will suck up the tonnes of carbon that we generate while we sit for an average of 86 hours in traffic each year.

Nope. Instead they are proposing a million dollar spend on upgrading the kids park on Queen’s Wharf and investigating access for the disabled to other city playgrounds. Which is good, because the increase in service costs is going to slowly mean that the disabled, less fortunate, and elderly are simply not going to have anywhere else to go. They’re cutting back the hours of some libraries (but starting a fund for “education” to get more school visits to the capital), and increasing charges for swimming pools not only at the door but also now paying for parking where we didn’t before.

This is an edited version of an article first published on the Strathmore Park website. Read the complete article here.

Read also:
Why isn’t the tunnel being extended under Taranaki Street?
A processional route past the car yards