A win-win case for rapid light rail along the waterfront

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by Daryl Cockburn and Neil Douglas
We believe the time for light rail in Wellington is now. It could provide the arterial high capacity, high quality and rapid southern public transport connection that Wellington needs.

Rapid Light Rail appeals to people more than bus and rail transport – this is a continual finding from market research overseas. That’s because the image, status, and higher quality of modern trams gives them the ‘feel-good’ factor, and feeling good about ourselves is a fundamental desire that should be key in planning Wellington’s future transport.

We have developed an alternative waterfront route for rapid light rail in Wellington which is far more cost-effective and can operate at reasonable speed without pedestrian interaction and without construction disrupt costs. With office developments, WestPac stadium and Te Papa all being built since the 1992 study, a light rail route along Jervois Quay is attractive. It would also enable diesel buses to be reduced on Lambton Quay and Willis Street, leaving these streets for pedestrians and cyclists ‘first.’ A win-win.

At $93million, the first stage from the station to the Embassy would be the same price as the divisive Basin Reserve flyover being imposed on Wellington by the Transport Agency. We think Wellingtonians deserve to be given a choice: light rail or the flyover. Our local election candidates should be judged on how they would spend $93million: would they build a concrete flyover or make Wellington the envy of New Zealand with classy light rail.

The city side of the boulevard along Wellington’s waterfront quays from the station to the Embassy is the ideal corridor to introduce rapid light rail, and could be easily extended to the Stadium and CentrePort. A junction on to the main line will enable the existing rail depot facilities to be used. The dilapidated eastern side of the railway station would be revitalised with a new platform & veranda.

tram

A new rapid, high capacity rail service would take 7 minutes from the Embassy to the station – twice the speed of buses. There is only one corner – where Wakefield Street meets Cambridge & Kent Terraces – and only three stations; at Clarries for Lambton Quay (a 200m walk)and Queens Wharf; the back of Civic Square for Willis & Cuba Streets (both 200m); and behind Reading Cinemas for Te Papa (200m )and Courtenay Place, (a 100m walk). The stations will provide easy and quick walks to all Golden Mile destinations. And the pedestrian experience along our nation’s premier retail and business street would be enhanced by the removal of diesel buses.

Three-quarters of our region’s population lives north of the railway station and around 11 million trips per year are made by rail to and from the station. Most of these are to places of work or study within a walking distance of the station. The RLR would not seek to attract these ‘healthy walking’ trips but aim to attract the rail users who transfer to buses, or the car users who currently don’t use public transport because of the ‘steel to rubber wheels transfer penalty’.

The airport at the southern end provides a strategic ultimate destination for the rapid light rail service. The airport is not a major trip generator, but it would be an anchor destination conveying an exotic association for locals and a highly marketable image for visitors. As a strategic transport link, it would help garner national funding support. Airport patronage is forecast to double from 5 to 10 million trips in 2030. The high quality Airport Flyer bus service is highly rated, unsubsidised and clear evidence that people will pay for higher quality. RLR would build on this demand by providing an even higher quality service and a service less subject to unreliable traffic conditions.

Our initial costs, based on official UK Department of Transport figures, place the infrastructure cost at $93million for the three kilometre first stage from the Stadium to the Embassy. Two pairs of rapid light rail vehicles could provide a 10 minute shuttle with the vehicles leased rather than purchased. Our project would be designed to achieve an economic benefit-cost ratio of 1.3 which should justify most of the capital costs to be funded by central government.

Daryl Cockburn is a Wellington architect & town planner. Dr Neil Douglas is a Wellington transport economist who has carried out over 30 transport surveys, including this year when he designed and analysed a large-scale market research study for Sydney Light Rail, involving over 6,000 interviews of bus, rail and LRT users.

Read also
World expert says costs of light rail have been over-stated

 

55 comments:

  1. Sridhar Ekambaram, 12. September 2013, 10:03

    Good one Daryl!

     
  2. Peter Newman, 12. September 2013, 10:18

    Terrific stuff. I really like your RLR proposal. Value capture could raise the funds to do this, hence it could be a private consortium that builds, owns and operates the system, avoiding all those entrenched bus proponents in the system. EOI’s from consortiums could make this happen very quickly, especially if a financing deal involving land was part of the project. [Peter Newman is professor of sustainability at Curtin University in Fremantle].

     
  3. Tony, 12. September 2013, 10:45

    “Our project would be designed to achieve an economic benefit-cost ratio of 1.3 which should justify most of the capital costs to be funded by central government.”

    It would be really great if you could link to your detailed cost and benefit estimates. Can you share this with us so we may understand the substance of the proposal ?

     
  4. Stan, 12. September 2013, 13:03

    Having travelled on light rail in Belgum there is no question that it is a comfortable and convenient form of transport. However, Wellington sold its trams many years ago as part of the family silver. It also sold off the MED to pay off Moa Point Sewage Plant. So where is the $93 million coming from? Think hard as Infratil want WCC to fund $200 million for an airport extension that appears to be an “Impossible Dream”. Who can forget the millions required required to earthquake proof WCC buildings. Once again I ask, where is the money coming from?

     
  5. Geraint Scott, 12. September 2013, 16:02

    Stan, the article already says where the money can come from – scrap the flyover and spend that same money on light rail. We don’t need both, so just pay for one, namely the better one – light rail.

     
  6. Gringo, 12. September 2013, 16:59

    I’ve always thought this was the logical route for light rail in Wellington. There are 6 lanes along the quay plus a potential 7th if you include the planted median. That is ample room for light rail. As you correctly point out it would connect easily to the train station. What it would also provide is an easy method of transport for cruise ship passengers to get from the terminal to the far side of town and potentially beyond, opening up more opportunities for local businesses.

     
  7. Phil C, 12. September 2013, 23:43

    Infratil want $$ from the WCC when the cowboys can’t even run safe buses? Blood suckers.

     
  8. Fei, 13. September 2013, 10:01

    I think the RLR plan is a brilliant idea. Not only because it helps people to have much more efficient and environmental friendly traffic tools, but also if you see it from the long term, the rail may extend to other areas thus benefitting current bus users who commute between the CBD and the suburbs.

     
  9. Chris Laidlaw, 13. September 2013, 11:42

    Well done. It’s important we keep the light rail option on the table until a new government accepts that the transport playing field has to be levelled.

     
  10. NigelTwo, 13. September 2013, 12:30

    Thank you for putting such a sensible plan down on paper. When it is successful it can be extended 1) to Newtown and 2) joined to the Johnsonville rail corridor (to replace the trains).

    Have you considered how many traffic light controlled intersections this line will pass through? There are lots!

     
  11. Dr Dave Watson, 13. September 2013, 14:11

    The Spinal Study objective was to improve public transport reliability. It achieved this by pushing the same number of users through the Golden Mile on dedicated roadways using larger buses. Fewer buses on the Golden Mile can also be achieved by moving users along other routes by bus or light rail. The “seaside” route for light rail proposed here would get users to Courtenay Place faster than conventional bus and also provide a tourist ride connecting a number of interesting destinations. Well worth further consideration.

     
  12. Sandy Thomas, 13. September 2013, 14:25

    If only the arguments in favour, construction feasibility and costs, breadth of potential financing options, ease and feasibility of interchanging and route choices were as self-evident for CBD light rail options here in Sydney! My only real initial query, as an outsider, is whether 10-minute service headways would be sufficiently attractive, but obviously improved frequencies would be possible in the longer term. If it comes down to a debate on whether it would be better to fund a waterfront RLR as suggested or a 1950s-style Basin Reserve flyover which, like all such CBD-centric radial road network developments, would ultimately serve only to encourage more inner city road traffic congestion, the answer is surely obvious. (Not that we Australians have any right to lecture you on these matters, a majority of us having just elected a new government pledging to immediately scrap federal funding of all urban rail public transport projects and spend this money, and more, on a series of economically, socially and environmentally dubious urban motorways instead.)

     
  13. Fred, 13. September 2013, 14:53

    Great idea, it can’t work unless it links to the railway station and train fares, with one ticket from the suburbs to Courtenay Place. The stadium and cruise ships is logical for the tourist trade. Getting out to the airport would be brilliant, but sadly I can’t see that ever happening.

     
  14. Stephen Bargwanna, 13. September 2013, 16:57

    This is a great idea. Cities only develop, attract and retain smart people by continuing to evolve, particularly in their public domain and in their communication and transport systems. Convenient, attractive and efficient light rail is the way of smart cities like Wellington needs to be. The overpass is like jurassic technology.
    Light rail systems also lead to urban revitalization and help pay for themselves by adding value to underperforming adjoining land uses. I have over 30 years town and transport planning experience around the world. Knowing Wellington, I think this is a brilliant concept with multiple benefits.
    Stay modern Wellington, get on this carriage!

     
  15. Barbara, 13. September 2013, 17:36

    It would be great if either Peter Jackson or James Cameron (or preferably both) could part fund this light rail idea because it would be great for Wellington and just like their films put us on the map!!

     
  16. Ross Clark, 13. September 2013, 19:59

    It would be useful if you (Daryl Cockburn & Neil Douglas) could explain if you think the other idea on the table, that of running light rail down the Golden Mile, is infeasible.

    Also, a ten-minute walk from the railway station does not impose a significant ‘transfer penalty’, as you acknowledge; but having to wait ten minutes for a tram, or bus for that matter, certainly does. I would not bother with the Clarries stop, because if it can be walked in ten minutes from the station, people really won’t bother with waiting for an LRT. End-to-end, it would take too long.

     
  17. Matt Hurst, 13. September 2013, 20:20

    I feel that this Rapid Light Rail project will do more for transport efficiency and city livability than any transport proposal we have seen offered for Wellington to-date. Assisting passengers gain rapid access between the Railway Station and the southern end of the CBD is key to the likely success that this concept will bring. Further extensions north to the Cake Tin (and nearby Centreport office complex), and south to the Hospital – and eventually to the Airport also – will complete the system. This will make the link worthwhile for thousands of travellers every day – avoiding the need for costly parking requirements, and with a corresponding reduction in car traffic congestion along any competing routes. It also doesn’t require any land resumption – being built entirely inside the existing road space. For a fraction of the cost of extending the Motorway to the Airport – but with 10 times the hourly capacity in the peak – supporting this concept should be a no-brainer for the future of Wellington’s economy and liveability. [Matt Hurst is the Lecturer in Transport Planning at the University of New South Wales and a transport consultant to the NSW Government.]

     
  18. Ian Kearns, 13. September 2013, 22:41

    Excellent work. Could the authors please come to Sydney and apply their expertise here before it is too late?

     
  19. KB, 14. September 2013, 1:03

    I applaud the use of the waterfront route as a means of fast public transport to all city centre precincts and Airport.

    However I think using light rail, while well meaning, is actually not forward thinking enough. A Personal Rapid Transport system would be so much better: On demand, electric, autonomous 4-6 seater vehicle pods would be a much better user experience, cheaper to run/purchase, and would be a fantastic promotion of the city’s innovative thinking.

    Example:
    http://www.ultraglobalprt.com/

     
  20. Keith Johnson, 14. September 2013, 15:21

    This makes much better sense to me than a line to Wellington Hospital. It should eventually be carried right through, around the coast, to Cobham Drive with multi-storey carparks in Kilbirnie and Miramar to make park-and-ride for the daily commute highly attractive to the residents of the Eastern Suburbs. I don’t see it as an alternative to the Basin – Second Tunnel initiative but as something that can be visualized 20-30 years down the track for ts maximum extension. It might then make it possible to dismantle the Flyover.

     
  21. Brian F, 14. September 2013, 17:35

    The airport is a must. I know Infratil clip the ticket twice at the moment, but there is no reason why they can’t build the airport extension anyway to preserve their monopoly.

     
  22. Adam Cockburn, 14. September 2013, 17:49

    If we can afford it, if it makes economic sense, surely nobody wants buses. Light Rail is vastly superior that’s for sure. It’d be great for Wellington.

     
  23. Paul Bruce, 14. September 2013, 21:36

    Thanks Daryl Cockburn and Neil Douglas… this is a great contribution to the debate… the most important reason for light rail is to improve the reliability of our public transport services by decreasing bus congestion during peak hours.

    However, the Golden Mile route still has a lot to offer, with high capacity light rail reducing the number of vehicle movements enough to create a pedestrianised space with considerable increase in amenity – a unit every two or three minutes would do it.

     
  24. Paddy Evers, 15. September 2013, 17:20

    Great work Daryl, excellent idea and will definitely help our future generations. Paddy (2)

     
  25. Brent Efford, 15. September 2013, 17:23

    If this proposal is designed to extend the rail system south using light rail – i.e. tram-train, as proposed in several studies in the 1990s and the 1999 Regional Land Transport Strategy – then that is great. The farcical and incompetent Public Transport Spine Study proposes to permanently cripple the Wellington public transport spine by maintaining the break at Wellington Railway Station indefinitely.

    Paul Bruce is right about the Golden Mile, though. Point to point vehicle speed is far less important than overall comfort, nearness to final destination and door to door speed for the passenger. I don’t think that a waterfront route on its own ticks enough of the boxes, compared with the accepted central-CBD route through the Golden Mile – even if the latter’s max speed is 30 km/h. I have long been involved in advocating a waterfront tramway, but only as part of a streetcar circulator system including the Golden Mile, the latter being the primary spine, and as a express/peak route as advocated in Neil and Daryl’s proposal.

    As alluded to by Paul B, there is a widespread desire for more pedestrianisation along the Golden Mile – that cannot be achieved with buses still running through it (remember the Manners Mall fiasco?) but it would hardly be feasible or get public and business support if there was NO public transport running along it! On the other hand, trams through pedestrian areas are common around the world.

    Every transit system in the world (except Wellington, it seems) aims for a “through the CBD and out the other side” configuration for very good reasons. And anything that doesn’t address continuity of the rail spine that connects to 75% of the region’s population (and is 92% of the total transport spine length) is simply not being competitive with car use, which enjoys a state highway which is continuous by definition and is to be made wider and faster by RoNS.

     
  26. Carol Radford, 15. September 2013, 20:08

    Brilliant concept and well thought out. I would like to see it go from Inter island Ferry to Cruise ship terminal – Stadium and all the way to the airport – the more extreme option would be the most cost effective in the long run.

    Congratulations Darryl and Neil

     
  27. Bos O'Sullivan, 15. September 2013, 20:32

    Waste of time trying to appeal to NZTA or National. Best strategy to delay approval and construction of ridiculous flyover until Nats are tossed out. This opinion is based on experience as a Kapiti person of dealing with Govt and NZTA lies, tricks, and bullying in relation Kapiti so-called expressway. Just hang in tough and keep selling your case. It’s the right thing to do.

     
  28. Celia WB, 16. September 2013, 6:21

    There are some interesting ideas here. Please be sure to make submissions on the PT Spine Study so all these ideas can be fully evaluated – closing date 30th Sept then hearings later in the year.

    First stage is getting the route(s) right so we can earmark bus priority lanes. It’s very exciting to see such interest in how we can make a strp change in public transport attractiveness and effectiveness.

     
  29. Sally Evers, 16. September 2013, 9:30

    Yes, please submit on the Spine Study. I attended an information session as a humble ratepayer. Ears were closed. and no minutes of the meeting recording queries, objections and alternatives were taken, or at least nothing that would be available to interested persons. So all of us above who think this well researched proposal has merit need to submit on the PT Spine Study.

     
  30. Jenny Clark, 16. September 2013, 10:52

    It seems that we haven’t weighed our transport options properly. We are looking at spending a huge amount on the first flyover, and then a similar amount on the second. Is the road traffic actually that bad? I sometimes travel through the tunnel to and from Hataitai in a car during the rush hour and it takes maybe five minutes max more than at other times. Have we analysed the problem before we have leapt to a solution? Surely moving hundreds of people by light rail would relieve any current and future problems with single occupant car use! Flyovers are so old-fashioned. Have we costed light rail properly? There seem to be so many varying costings as well as objections to all the solutions that we surely need a rethink.

     
  31. Tony Randle, 16. September 2013, 11:01

    @Sally Evers: What “well researched proposal” ?
    All I see is a 700 word press release with a map and a picture.

    The authors claim it will cost only $93M “official UK Department of Transport figures” but do not provide any detailed costing. The authors claim this project would “achieve an economic benefit-cost ratio of 1.3″ but do not provide any detailed benefits analysis.

    None of the huge range of issues raised and addressed (although not always properly) in the Spine Study are discussed. For example, Brent Efford, a light rail supporter, makes the very valid point about the extra distance from the waterfront route to where many people work along the Golden Mile. He is right that the key PT criteria of “nearness to final destination and door to door speed for the passenger” counts against this proposal. I respect his consistency in promoting light rail options, if they are to work in Wellington, which need to go along the Golden Mile and through the CBD.

    Let us see the detailed facts and figures of this proposal and judge it against the options proposed under the Spine Study (and others such as outlined by Brent). If the authors (claiming to be professionals) cannot table such information then everyone can see this is not a serious proposal . . . even the proponents of Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) did better than this !

     
  32. Alister Koning, 16. September 2013, 21:14

    Great idea in my view. Have the light rail along he waterfront connecting Te Papa to railway station, and close Lambton Quay to all traffic except pedestrians. No cars or busses on Lambton Quay. People can use the rail to get in and out of town and walk to Lambton quay. The air in the city will be cleaner, there will be more room for pedestrians and cafes. What a great CBD we will have!

     
  33. Peter Kennedy, 17. September 2013, 2:47

    Please, can someone tell Alister Koning and the WCC that commerce needs to be more than just cafes if a city is to survive. Under the long-term district plan, Johnsonville, Kilbirnie and Adelaide Road are all supposed to be in-fill housing with apartment blocks, and the Council sees cafes as the solution for ground floor businesses. Fantastic, till most of them start going broke.
    The other thing about turning Lambton Quay into a pedestrian thoroughfare, come wintertime, normally Wellington’s weather can be a bit rugged. Not the sort of place you would want to hang about, day in, day out.

     
  34. don wignall, 17. September 2013, 6:47

    LQ and Willis have continuous retail frontages and significant volumes of pedestrian crossing movements between them – these streets, and you could include Manners as well, are only suitable for low traffic volumes and low traffic speeds. There is a tension when volumes and/or speeds rise above acceptable levels to pedestrians (in terms of perceived and actual safety). When this happens, crossing movements between frontages – and as a consequence economic activity – is reduced. Ideally vehicle speeds should be closely related to pedestrian speeds – say 10 kph – but certainly no more than double this … 20kph in my opinion. These can never be rapid PT routes – especially in a city like wellington that has such a small number of pedestrianised streets. It is not simply a matter of reducing the speed limit on LQ, W and M – but of changing the feel of the street to i) narrow the area available to vehicles and ii) introducing ‘calming’ shared surface areas to encourage pedestrian activity. This is not to say PT should be excluded from these areas – far from it – PT should take people where they want to go, but where LQ/W/M is their destination.

    Faster ‘through’ PT movements – to get from the rail station to CP or beyond – is much better routed along another route eg FS or CHQ. These are much heavier trafficked routes and in the case of CHQ has the road space available to introduce two way segregated fixed link PT operations. FS and CHQ have a higher need for more formal pedestrian crossing arrangements than LQ/W/M. This is because traffic volumes and speeds are (in general) much higher. In the case of CHQ, the road corridor width and the lack of continuous frontage on the seaward side means that occasional formal light controlled crossings are needed – these are ideal for also crossing a fixed link rapid PT system.

    The effect of introducing the PT corridor on CHQ would be to improve access to the waterfront and to reallocate road space in favour of PT, resulting in mode shift in favour of PT. In these circumstances, experience has shown that – in contrast to pre implementation fears – queuing and congestion will be reduced (more on this is available – traffic degeneration and all that – unlike traffic model forecasts which have very poor predictive abilities in these circumstances.)

     
  35. Sally Evers, 17. September 2013, 14:04

    Tony and others
    The waterfront route deserves further investigation. Its costings are based on official UK figures, whereas the costing of light rail in the Spine Study appears to grossly over-estimate it, effectively “engineering” selection of the other two options. See the work of Peter Newman who is part of this thread.
    What a pity that the light rail proposal north of the railway station and particularly not through the Golden Mile was not shortlisted for the Spine Study. $1 million for that study to over-estimate cost of the limited LR option!

     
  36. Tim Jones, 17. September 2013, 14:28

    I suggest light rail advocates should be talking right now to the Greens, Labour, NZ First, Mana, the Maori Party and United Future to get support for light rail in Wellington from across the grouping of parties who may come to power (in some combination) after the next election.

    Greens, Labour, NZ First, Mana and United Future all oppose a Basin Reserve flyover, which suggests that a consensus on alternatives may be possible across a wider range of parties if the work is done now to build it.

     
  37. Geoff, 17. September 2013, 20:13

    I don’t see how this will resolve anything. It’ll be useless for people commuting from the suburbs. It wont help Wellington regional people get to their destinations in Wellington City. Pedestrians will still walk in front of them.

    The only benefit will be for tourists and inner city residents who usually walk anyway.

     
  38. Daryl Cockburn, 18. September 2013, 4:54

    Hi Geoff !
    80% of the trips for the 75% of the region’s population north of the station are to the CBD. That is Welly’s main traffic issue. And it’ll go past the hospital & Kilbirnie to the airport. They are the most popular PT in the world.

     
  39. Tony Randle, 18. September 2013, 9:06

    Hey Daryl,
    Do you have anything more written down about your waterfront light rail proposal . . . like detailed costings, your benefits estimates and, of course, the predicted patronage changes? If you can really prove a Benefit Cost Ratio of 1.3 then please share these figures with Wellingtonians so we can consider you more than just “dreamers with a good idea” and understand why we should take your proposal seriously ?

     
  40. Geoff Workman, 18. September 2013, 10:41

    This is the best idea anyone has come up with yet. This will allow freedom of movement in the inner city, this will benefit couriers and delivery trucks etc. The route is great that it being on the outskirts allowing less walking distance and less congestion of inner city movement.

     
  41. John, 19. September 2013, 10:59

    Its excellent that Celia W-B and Chris Laidlaw are supporting light rail as an option that must be kept on the table. The key to viability is the patronage (current and future) ex the station in rush hour who would use light rail and who would have an incentive to abandon their car trips. The % who walk the distance of the CBD for exercise and lack of interest in putting up with interchange time will probably continue to do so. It seems to me we need a detailed survey/analysis of current and projected train patronage and destinations.

     
  42. Daryl Cockburn, 19. September 2013, 11:22

    Hi again Tony Randall. Regarding our statistics, we have enough overseas & local experience to be confident about our proposal and so we do believe that a BCR of 1.3 is achievable. If proved otherwise we would not recommend our option. Our article also mentions some data that cannot be divulged at this stage e.g. the 6,000 surveys of LRT, bus and train users in Inner Sydney. We are prepared to say that this research showed LRT to be the most highly rated mode by bus and rail users as well as LRT users.
    You question our professional status. Dr Neil Douglas has a PhD in transport economics and 30 years experience in forecasting patronage and evaluating transport projects including Busways and Light Rail that have been built (eg M2 and Hoxton Park-Parramatta Busways in Sydney, and Manchester LRT). He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, and did the PTSS funding study for GWRC.
    I am an architect & planner w an MSc (Edinh) and was Forward Planner for Livingston new town and Senior Planner for Glasgow City Centre. My Wellington practice has completed over 500 projects
    How about you Tony, perhaps you can share with us your professional qualifications in transport, planning or economics?

     
  43. Tony Randle, 19. September 2013, 12:26

    @Daryl: I do NOT question your professional status. I have seen the good work that you and Neil have done and nothing I have stated should be taken as a slight on your professionalism in your respective fields.

    However, you DID include your professional qualifications with your light rail proposal leading me (and probably others) to think you have done a professional job on it. I am just surprised at the inability of you to provide the detailed costings, benefits analysis or patronage information that any professional (and many amateurs) would have created before they published their PT proposal.

    The Spine Study main report (52 pages) is supported by a detailed modelling on patronage (see modelling report, 158 pages plus appendices) and detailed costings (see Appendix E of main report) on each option. The logic and substance of their recommendations can be understood and critiqued.

    You have publically announced your waterfront light rail as superior to other rapid transit proposals. Why can’t you back it up with any details ?

     
  44. Daryl Cockburn, 19. September 2013, 14:02

    Thanks Tony. We note you omitted your academic and professional qualifications in your response. Do we take it that you have no formal qualifications to back up your opinions?
    The $1.1 million dollar PT Spine Study did not come up with one economic route/technology. We therefore suggested our alternative waterfront route. We believe our route would be economic. Yes, we would like a professional appraisal and agree with those contributors such as Dr Dave Watson – former transport manager of GWRC and Celia Wade Brown who advocate a new independent assessment. We hope that this new independent assessment should include our route and suggest that should be done for a tenth of $1.1M

     
  45. Polly, 19. September 2013, 16:02

    I think this light rail idea is brilliant. It sounds to me like a well researched and smart idea.
    What I do think is funny is Wellington’s ridiculous assertion that it has a traffic problem. Have those involved in city bypasses ever been overseas?
    Try L.A. Try Sydney. Try London. That’s traffic.

     
  46. Rufus Sixsmith, 19. September 2013, 18:31

    @John. Remember that Chris Laidlaw said all the right words about the flyover and why it was a bad idea, and then he voted for it. In the end it doesn’t matter what you say but how you vote and I suspect he will say he is all for light-rail but will vote against it in the end. That is why I’ll rank him second last in the candidates I vote for in Regional Council along with Judith Aitken (who does the same) but I’ll rank them above Fran Wilde.

     
  47. Traveller, 19. September 2013, 18:37

    @Rufus. Remember it’s not compulsory to give everyone a ranking. You can leave some of the boxes blank, to ensure that the least favoured candidates don’t get to benefit from any second or third recounts…

     
  48. Rod Jenkins, 21. September 2013, 15:08

    A fantastic proposal Daryl and Neil! I think your RLR concept will work well, because it will achieve continuity with the existing rail system while providing a form of transport which is considered comfortable and pleasant by passengers. Your proposed route around the quays will also be faster and safer than a RLR route along the golden mile would be and will brilliantly serve the needs of commuters from both the Northern and the Eastern suburbs. Adoption of your plan could reasonably be expected to significantly reduce the congestion of our motorways and city roads over time.

    I think that Wellington will still require a PT system along the golden mile though, to provide a multi-stop route for shoppers and tourists, so existing trolleys would need to be retained, but it should be possible to get rid of the polluting and dangerous diesel buses along this route. Strict speed limits will need to be applied to the remaining trolleys.

    Proof that running more buses along the golden mile won’t work was provided by what happened after implementation of Wellington City Council’s $10 million bus re-routeing plan a couple of years ago. Before the plan, buses went via Victoria Street and avoided Manners Mall. But the WCC wanted to speed up buses by a couple of minutes by re-routeing them through Manners Mall and along Willis St. What happened after the new route began, as we all know, was that there were lengthy and costly disruptions to local businesses and that pedestrians started being hit by buses. In response, the WCC put up barriers to try to discourage people from crossing the road between pedestrian crossings and made some changes along city roads to make buses more visible. But pedestrians still kept getting hit, including the CEO of NZ Bus. Shocked bus drivers instituted a go slower policy and this necessitated the re-writing of the timetable.

    The net result of all this was disastrous: at least $15 million of public money was wasted, several people were seriously injured and the appearance of our streets was degraded. The lesson we should learn is clear: operating rapid buses in narrow streets with a high pedestrian count is unsafe and should be avoided.

    In contrast, the proposed RLR system along the quays will serve the needs of commuters and achieve higher speeds and higher safety standards than are possible along the golden mile and should help to further integrate the waterfront area with the central city, while a continuing trolley bus system along the golden mile at restricted speeds will continue to serve the needs of shoppers.

     
  49. Ross Hayward, 22. September 2013, 22:27

    Interesting LRT proposal. It would certainly address the issue of buses on the Golden Mile. The PT Spine Study “solves” the problem of bus numbers by splitting the movements and using much larger vehicles. Is that what users of the Golden Mile and outlying areas really want? In reading the Spine Study obviously a great deal of work has gone into it. However given the limited patronage increases and poor BCRs I wonder if the study has got somewhat lost along the way. I suspect most Wellingtonians were looking for a quantum leap in public transport, but the PT Spine Study is is not really it. Maybe we need a bigger transport vision or perhaps the money is better spent elsewhere.

     
  50. Gwyn, 22. September 2013, 23:18

    Thanks Daryl and Neil – Wellington needs to implement creative long-term public transport solutions such as your idea.

    Living in Sydney, I’m used to having rail and light-rail as a viable option. This project could be a first step in rolling out light-rail to all Wellington’s inner suburbs as a replacement for the buses that riddle the CBD at peak times.

    If it can be done, it should be done.

     
  51. Ross Clark, 24. September 2013, 2:46

    @Daryl
    “Forward planner on the Livingston New Town project”.

    So were you the person who left it full of roundabouts?!

     
  52. Daryl Cockburn, 24. September 2013, 11:28

    Yes Ross. We had no choice. It was the 1st Mk4 new town based on 100% car ownership for immigrants, who couldn’t drive, from the Glasgow clearances for its failed Ring Road etc, which I had to watch when I was in charge of its CBD plan-making. That combined 6 year experience taught me a lot about the damage cars do. Livingston built over the belle arable land of the Almond Valley. The 4.5ac cloverleaf interchanges were on a 2x1km grid! Glasgow demolished the homes of 20K people in one year, and took no records of where they went, probably mainly Canada & Oz. I returned and saw our “Thorndon Trench” but not the metro planned, when I had left in 1967, under The Terrace with level access to Lambton Quay. Then at the by-pass Environment Court the judge thought it would be like Tinakori Rd, easy for pedestrians. The Oil Age has damaged our cities. What wasted opportunities

     
  53. insider, 24. September 2013, 21:12

    @ daryl: I suspect Tony Randle doesn’t need a masters to be able to spot bulls@&t. Your need to parade your qualifications is about as convincing as your costings.

    Remember the yellow hopper buses that used to take a very similar route? The only people who used them were tourists. Wellingtonians wouldn’t ride them, but I’m sure you know best being qualified and all. It’s ironic that we get public transport fanatics bombarding us regularly about how wonderful and convenient it is, then come up with proposals like this that are less convenient in terms of stops and access to places people want to go, and we the plebs are expected to stand by and uncritically cheer.

     
  54. Daryl Cockburn, 26. September 2013, 11:20

    Insider: Tony’s terms “claiming to be professionals” and “dreamers” promoted a reply. It wasn’t a “parade”.
    The yellow hopper bus route wasn’t conveniently alongside the back of Post Office Square, Civic Square and Readings in both directions. The Q is: would speed near the Golden Mile be more valuable than being actually in it but slow? The rest of the line would be fast past the hospital east and/or south like many LR plans including GenerationZero’s excellent plan.
    Why not sign with your name?

     
  55. Margaret Tobin, 29. September 2013, 17:02

    Having travelled to Europe twice now I am more convinced than ever Wellington is missing out on useful transport particularly around the city hub. A tram travelling between Courtenay Place and the Westpac stadium would be a winner for people going to any of the stops in between. Going along the waterfront route is good for sightseeing and convenience. Putting our commuter buses along this route as has been proposed would be congestive. Quick, quiet and attractive trams additional to the current buses on Lambton Quay are desirable.
    Over time trams all the way to the airport would be an added bonus. This would provide great extra commuter options and sightseeing for visitors.

     

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