News from Save Kapiti
Save Kapiti Inc has sought leave to appeal to the Supreme Court on the legality of the board of inquiry’s decision to grant consent to the Kapiti Expressway. The request was lodged today, 10 days after the High Court decision which declined their initial appeal. Appeal is not an automatic right in this instance. If leave is granted, the Supreme Court may choose to hear the matter themselves or may refer it to the Court of Appeal.
Save Kapiti spokesperson Mark Harris says Save Kapiti are taking this step for two reasons. The first is because there are strong public interests involved.
“The case tests whether pre-existing consented activities which are already in the district plan have any status at all. Clearly there are public interest grounds here which affect all councils, developers’ and ratepayers in every part of New Zealand where there is a district plan operating.”
Secondly, Save Kapiti remain very concerned that the “solution” of putting a high speed motorway through three coastal communities is unnecessary to solve the roading problems in the district.
“We acknowledge there are some very real traffic problems on the coast, although we contend they are not as bad as NZTA has painted them in trying to make their case for this motorway. But there is a simple, effective and much cheaper solution – the pre-existing plan for an urban arterial to take local traffic off the highway, and make improvements to SH1 on its existing path,” said Mr. Harris, referring to the Western Link Road and SH1 Improvement plan proposed by KCDC in 2009.
“Many people are unaware that on any day, when you drive through Kapiti, that 3 of the 4 of the drivers around you are locals travelling between their homes in Paraparaumu and Waikanae. NZTA acknowledged this in their proposal.”
“The State Highway is currently the only way that Kapiti locals can drive between Waikanae and Paraparaumu – this means for all trips to and from home to work, school, sports or the shops – they are forced to use SH1 as there is no other way to go north/south through the district.
“Taking this local traffic out of the picture, NZTA figures show that only 6,500 of 23,000 vehicles using the road every day are vehicles passing right through the district without stopping. The current proposal is therefore like using a sledgehammer to crack a walnut. As a comparison, NZTA decided not to pursue an expressway for the Otaki to North of Levin section as it felt the 9000 vehicle journeys a day did not warrant the expenditure.“
An NZTA Senior Transport Planner acknowledged this issue in 2009 saying “A high proportion of trips on SH1 are local trips. One of the objectives of State Highway operations is to remove local trips from the SH where possible.”
NZTA’s own figures show that there has been no growth in traffic volumes in this area, as anticipated, for the last 10 years – in fact, volumes are falling.
Save Kapiti says this is not a delaying tactic, with no chance of success.
“The point of law is a good one. We don’t agree with the High Court’s understanding of it, so we’re appealing. If that decision had gone our way, you can be sure NZTA would be appealing it. Also, this appeal does not halt construction as the last appeal did. We think it’s unlikely NZTA would commit to major expenditure while it is motion, but there’s nothing to stop them,” said Mr. Harris
“We know some members of the community will be angry that we are taking this action. We’ve already seen disappointing comments from Mayor Rowan and some councillors, all of whom are positioning themselves for election. But we did not create this situation – NZTA did. If they and Minister Joyce had not interfered in 2009, we would already be driving on a second bridge across the river and looking forward to the upgrades on the State Highway. This project is bad for Kapiti and bad for the country, and we are committed to opposing it.”
Jo Draper, a Senior Transport Planner, NZTA, email, June 2009, said:
“A high proportion of trips on SH1 are local trips. One of the objectives of State Highway operations is to remove local trips from the SH where possible. Building an expressway without a local alternative route will not achieve this.”
NZTA called on Andrew Murray (Beca Infrastructure Ltd.) to give Expert evidence to the Board of Inquiry
Statement of Evidence ( SoE) for Board of Inquiry hearing:
SHI carries 20-24,000 vehicles per day (Andrew Murray SoE para 21) with 8% being heavy traffic
From Andrew Murray’s(AM) evidence (para 54) we now know that, in fact, 75% of these trips have at least one end of the trip starting or ending within the corridor between MacKays Crossing and PekaPeka. This figure of 75% then includes all trips within the district, and all commuter trips between Wgtn and Kapiti, and trips north starting from Kapiti.
AM Para 53 breaks this down further:
25% is through traffic – true inter regional traffic
43% is purely local traffic with trips that start and finish between Ppm and Waikanae
13% starts in Waikanae and goes south beyond McKays
19% starts in Ppm and goes north of Peka Peka
Traffic volumes growth have been modest at 0.3- 0.8% per annum since 1997 with a decrease in 2011. Predictions are for 1% per annum for SH traffic and 2% for growth in local traffic (AM paras 65 and 66.)
Comment: These predictions have not been borne out so far
AM para 76:
[a]n objective of RONS is to appropriately balance the competing functional requirements of inter regional and local traffic ….enabling local facilities and amenities to be efficiently accessed.
AM Para 135
By 2026 NZTA expect that
11,600 vehicles will travel “ be diverted” onto the new highway south of Pekapeka ( 57%)
17,200 vehicles will travel on the new highway south of Te Moana ( 54%)
14,100 vehicles will travel on the new highway south of Otai Rd (55%)
10,800 vehicles will travel on the new highway south of Kapiti (34%)
Comment – these figures are presumably based on their 1% SH traffic per year and 2%local traffic growth figures – not local traffic which is now expected to grow at double rate of SH1 traffic
See diagram Fig 7
A total of 26,000 individual trips expected on new xpw. Of these:
6,800 (26% ) are through traffic – inter regional
6,800 (26% ) are entirely internal to the Kapiti District – purely local
8,600 – 33% from PPM to points south or north
3,700 – 14% from Waikanae to points south or north
Comment – Note – only 26% of this traffic is true strategic traffic that must be on a state highway. As long as local motorists wishing to travel out of the district could access the highway appropriately positioned interchanges, presumably their needs could equally well be accommodated on a decent north/ south local road.
AM states in his view the project will contribute strongly to five objectives in para 159 LTMA objectives
In that it will, inter alia,
“Separate local and through traffic particularly in the urban sections along the existing SH1 route .”
Comment – This statement must be highly dubious – see above para which shows at least equal amounts of local and strategic traffic on new expressway – hence, on the new expressway there is no separation of local and through traffic and volumes of both are the same –…why doesn’t the local traffic take the newly labeled “urban arterial, or existing SH1? The reason is that it is not central to where local traffic wish to travel .
Falling traffic volumes reference
The number of cars travelling along State Highway 1 where Transmission Gully and the Kapiti expressway are to be built is declining, which has some questioning the logic behind the roading projects.
Transport Agency data from the past five years shows SH1 traffic between Linden and McKays Crossing, which will be bypassed by Transmission Gully, has, in some places, dipped by thousands of cars.
The Mungavin Rd interchange has experienced the most dramatic decline. The daily average heading north through the interchange was 12,008 in 2010 but only 9444 last year – a 21 per cent drop.
All but one of the 26 monitoring sites along the route experienced a decline in traffic during the past three years. The more common declines were between 4 and 6 per cent.
SH1 from McKays Crossing to Peka Peka, which will be bypassed by the section of Kapiti expressway that gained resource consent last week, also experienced declines across all nine of its monitoring sites of between 4 and 7 per cent. The biggest decline was north of Lindale, where the daily average fell from 23,660 in 2009 to 22,119 last year.
Greens transport spokeswoman Julie Anne Genter said those numbers showed that spending $630 million on the expressway and potentially up to $1.3 billion on Transmission Gully should no longer be a Government priority. “With rising petrol prices, people are driving less and using public transport more,” she said. “Spending billions on duplicate highways is not the way to fix peak congestion or support Wellington’s economy.” She recommended targeted safety improvements to the existing road and reliable public transport.