Dave Armstrong got it right on Monday. He wrote about the moving choke point that’s causing peak-time frustration on the new Kapiti Expressway:
It seems that as more daily commuters whizzed down the spacious and efficient expressway on their way to Wellington, the “chokepoint” simply moved south. Yet according to some hopeful motorists, things will all be sorted out when Transmission Gully opens in 2020. Really? While Transmission Gully may improve travel times for commuters moving up and down the coast, how will it affect the ubiquitous queues that form outside the Terrace Tunnel every morning?
By building flash and expensive new roads are we simply pushing chokepoints further and further south? Could Kapiti commuters find themselves whizzing effortlessly from their home to just outside the city then be driven crazy by increasingly long waits to actually get inside the CBD?
Critics of the consequences of expressway have been warning about this for years.
Back in 2013, Sue Kedgley wrote:
“Forecasts of a 50% increase in city congestion during the morning peak by 2031 as a result of new motorway building should trigger a major re-think of the region’s transport policies … A 50% increase in congestion would clog our city, ruin our enviable quality of life and threaten our economic and social viability. What is the point in spending $3 billion on new motorways, if they are going to accelerate congestion, and gridlock our city?”
“The reality is that the viability and livability of Wellington depends on reducing, not increasing traffic, by investing in alternatives to cars such as light rail, improved public transport, walking and cycling, and other work related strategies such as flexible working hours.”
But the planners weren’t listening.
And back in 2015, Dave Armstrong also got it right with his description of how traffic congestion around the Basin Reserve could easily be solved.
As I cycle home towards Newtown from the CBD, I see the problems. Two lanes of traffic in Kent Terrace remain virtually empty, yet the right-hand lane backs up with traffic almost to Courtenay Place with traffic headed for Newtown and the motorway north. However, when you get to the lights near the Mt Victoria tunnel bottleneck, the inside lane is virtually empty. Then at the Adelaide Road lights, half the traffic wanting to turn left into Newtown has to wait for traffic going straight ahead. Then the lane going north to Cambridge Terrace is largely empty while the lanes heading toward the motorway north are congested – though the Arras tunnel has made a huge difference.
Is anybody listening?