Wellington Scoop

New coalition launches, with opposition to LGWM plan for Cobham Drive crossing

News from Wellington Chamber Of Commerce
A coalition of committed Wellington businesses, stakeholders and industry groups concerned about the focus and progress of Let’s Get Wellington Moving (LGWM) has launched today. Progress Wellington has come together because of a shared concern that LGWM is no longer focused on getting Wellington’s transport network moving forward.

The group includes retailers, restaurants, cafes, transport operators, service providers, and businesses, calling for outcomes that will ensure Wellington actually gets moving.

“What Wellington needs is a transport system where people can move easily and safely at all times of the day,” says Simon Arcus, Wellington Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive. “It needs to be inclusive, a Wellington that works for everyone. This group has been brought together to find a way through the current concerns with LGWM.

“We need to speed up the major infrastructure projects, those that will achieve the aims of getting Wellingtonians moving, rather than on the projects that are slowing things down – we can’t grind our city to a halt.”

“We need a moving, liveable and thriving city for all Wellingtonians, but the current piecemeal proposals won’t get us this,” says Greg Harford, RetailNZ Chief Executive. “We are looking for a plan that gives us confidence in what has been proposed – but we remain to be convinced.”

“So far LGWM has failed to understand and recognise many of the significant adverse impacts that the current proposals will have on Wellingtonians and its communities, like the Golden Mile, Thorndon Quay and Hutt Road, and Cobham Drive projects. What do all these projects have in common? A lack of data, economic analysis, and little understanding of how it will impact on the city, its people, and the business community.”

“In a Covid-impacted operating environment, we need to be laser focused on the real drivers that will get Wellingtonians back into using the CBD – making it harder to use and connect with the city won’t bring our heart and vibrancy back.”

Today members from Progress Wellington, along with a number of other local Wellington South and East businesses and business groups, placed a full-page campaign advertisement in the Dominion Post on the current LGWM proposal for the Cobham Drive project.

“If LGWM goes ahead with their plans to reduce the speed limits on Cobham Drive and add a set of traffic lights, more than 35,000 Wellingtonians will be impacted, while the best and safest solution for pedestrians and cyclists will be ignored,” says Steve Sanderson, Chief Executive of Wellington Airport.

“As the advert says, LGWM needs to do this once, and do it right – build an overpass or underpass instead.”

“If they want to get Wellington moving, they’ve got to stop trying to slow everything down,” says Nick Leggett, Chief Executive of the Road Transport Forum.

“This is the key and critical route to Wellington Airport and into the city from Wellington South and East. Let’s not install a pedestrian crossing, let’s do the job properly so it’s safer and faster for everyone. The case must be made that there is going to be real benefit. We strongly advocated that the other SH1 improvements be prioritised given the impact currently had on traffic flows through this area.”

In addition to today’s advertisement on Cobham Drive, Progress Wellington will be campaigning for sensible outcomes on the other LGWM proposals.

Progress Wellington is a coalition of businesses, stakeholders and industry groups frustrated by “Let’s Get Wellington Moving” progress and focus. Organisations that are members of the coalition include:

-Wellington Chamber of Commerce

-Retail NZ

-Hospitality NZ

-Restaurant Association

-Property Council

-Road Transport Forum

-SOS Courtenay Place

-Wellington Airport

– Porirua Chamber of Commerce

Additionally, the following businesses and business groups have supported the Cobham Drive advertisement published in the Dominion Post:

-Kilbirnie Business Network

-Enterprise Miramar

-Weta Digital

-Eko Cabs

-Wellington Combined Taxis

-Wingnut Films

-Stone Street Studios

-Corporate Cabs

-Super Shuttle


News from Act NZ
“The depth of feeling from Wellington businesses couldn’t be clearer, it’s time for Let’s Get Wellington Moving to start listening,” says ACT’s transport spokesperson Simon Court. “The full page advertisement in the Dominion Post from the newly formed Progress Wellington reflects the feelings of everyone I’ve spoken to in the capital. At the moment Let’s Get Wellington Moving does the exact opposite to what it says on the tin.

“LGWM’s website says “Let’s Get Wellington Moving is working with the people of Wellington to develop a transport system that supports your aspirations for how the city looks, feels, and functions. The programme partners want to support Wellington’s growth while making it safer and easier for you to get around.”

“It’s time for it to reflect on its mission statement. ACT absolutely positively supports Progress Wellington. It’s time to actually get Wellington moving.”

Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz
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  1. TrevorH, 5. August 2021, 9:46

    Very pleasing to see this group formed. LGWM’s pedestrian crossing proposal is mad.

  2. Diane Calvert, 5. August 2021, 10:07

    Good on them. For too long these businesses & groups have been ignored and concerns brushed aside. [via twitter]

  3. Mickey mouse, 5. August 2021, 10:27

    Are these guys serious? Pillars of Wellington? Nothing better to do than protest against a pedestrian crossing and a few seconds added on to car and truck travel? C’mon. There are far more important issues in Wellington than this. How about you start with a plan to mitigate climate crisis.

  4. Mark Cubey, 5. August 2021, 10:57

    They should have called themselves More Roads for More Cars and be done with it. Or, The Usual Suspects. [via twitter]

  5. Mike Mellor, 5. August 2021, 11:20

    Very interesting, in that their view of “everyone” clearly means people in vehicles, and they have no knowledge or appreciation of the needs of other road users, of vehicle use and climate change, or of economic analysis.

    For instance, Mr Sanderson’s “best” solution for pedestrians and cyclists involves them climbing 7 or so metres in the air, using 60 or so steps or hundreds of metres of ramps, to cross on a bridge exposed to strong prevailing northerlies (and to southerlies, too) – certainly not “faster for everyone”, as Mr Leggett seems to think. These guys may be experts in their fields (with a heavy dose of self interest, of course) but their supposed consideration for other users – who have as equal a right to cross the road as vehicles have to go along it – is reminiscent of crocodile tears, or greenwashing.

    Mickey mouse’s name and comments say it all – clearly businesses in Wellington has no significant problems if creating a small delay is their major concern. It’s a shame that they don’t understand that a crossing will make the while community better off, while the value for money of a bridge or subway are so poor that we will all suffer the consequences – not just the poor people on foot and bikes who make up many of their customers, but about whom it’s clear that they don’t really care.

    And it’s a real shame that respected councillors and community organisations acquiesce in this shallow we-know-best-despite-the-evidence thinking.

  6. Sue, 5. August 2021, 11:29

    There are many issues in Wellington but what LGWM, Waka Kotari and GWRC want is to slow down the traffic so everyone will jump on buses (which is a joke in the Eastern Suburbs), cycle and or walk along Cobham Drive in a gale force wind with the waves coming over the road…(so will take the risk of dashing against the lights). Love the cycle-ways, and yes getting people out walking I’m all for. But did WCC not consider that the new cycleway and footpath along Cobham Drive will create more of this type of traffic wanting to go to Kilbirnie – ASB Centre rather than by car due to the present danger of crossing Cobham Drive; the pedestrian crossing with lights will back up the traffic even more when the 350 houses are built at Shelly Bay and a further 300 on Watts Peninsula and the airport doubling by 2040. Common logic must prevail.

  7. Vicki Greco, 5. August 2021, 11:35

    Thank goodness finally some common sense. These are the type of people we need to elect at the next election. Those who care about Wellington as a whole. Time for party politics to stop in local government – they have crippled our current Council and made very bad decisions that will destroy Wellington.

  8. Traveller, 5. August 2021, 12:16

    Bad luck for pedestrians on Cobham Drive. They’ll just have to stay on one side of the road. Or take their life in their hands, as happens now. Does the new car-centric coalition also want to abolish the pedestrian crossing and traffic lights at the corner of Kilbirnie Crescent and SH1? And will it want to get rid of the pedestrian crossing and traffic lights at the intersection with Evans Bay Parade?

  9. Regan, 5. August 2021, 12:18

    As a pedestrian & cyclist (& driver btw) I am super-stoked that the CE of Wgtn Airport knows what is “best & safest” for me. Apparently that’s a tunnel below sea level or an overpass exposed to winds so strong that sometime planes can’t land. Both of which would be stupidly expensive. [via twitter]

  10. Andrew, 5. August 2021, 12:22

    Nice to see some push back against projects that needlessly, or on the basis of misguided principle, prioritise active modes over vehicle journeys. Sure, let’s do what we can to encourage mode shift but let’s do it with constructive change and investment rather than a punitive approach to road users. The private vehicle still remains the most convenient and time-efficient method of transport for the majority of suburban households; this is unlikely to change, especially in such busy times. Roads will remain a key part of our transport network, they need continued investment and improvement too. We can (and should) chip away at car dependence with cycleways, attractive rapid mass transport options and different urban planning guidelines, but it will be a long and expensive slog. Regardless, LGWM is proving to be a disappointment for many. Any substantial improvements to our transport network look to be a long, long time away.

  11. John Rankin, 5. August 2021, 14:13

    As others have noted, a pedestrian / cycle bridge or underpass are poor alternatives for those on foot or on bikes, compared to an at-grade pedestrian / cycle crossing. A traffic underpass would be a better option for all road users, but expensive. Since the coalition wishes to “do this once and do it right” no doubt they would support a toll on Cobham Drive to raise the money to “do it right”. As the coalition recognises, vehicle users are the ones objecting to the LGWM proposal, while continuing to put people on foot and on bikes at risk, so maybe they would like to pay for a better alternative.

  12. john smith, 5. August 2021, 14:34

    The new ‘car-centric coalition’ should really do better, and aspire to greater things, like removing more traffic lights, and increasing speed limits – or do they just want everything the same as it ever was in 1960? I mean who cares about people, outside of those in cars, anyway. In summary all I can work out from the press release is that ‘as long as film makers can quickly get to their work, restaurants and airports then let’s not worry about anyone else!’

  13. Francis McRae, 5. August 2021, 15:59

    Every city has to have a coalition of old business guys who are way more committed to just stopping change than actually helping business. [via twitter]

  14. Paula Warren, 5. August 2021, 18:27

    It sounds to me as if they want to drag us back to the 1950s, not move us forward. We can’t keep adding more tarmac so those who don’t need to be in a car can be selfish. We need to make it easy for people who don’t need to drive to use alternatives, so those who need to (tradespeople, delivery vehicles, goods vehicles) aren’t held up. In terms of Cobham Drive, I would summarise the arguments I’ve been hearing from those in opposition as: there are hardly any pedestrians who will want to use a crossing so we should spend millions on an overbridge for those few losers who don’t have cars. If they are right and there are few people wanting to walk, the lights will seldom stop the cars that they seem to think are more important than people. And if they are wrong and there are lots of pedestrians, then there is clearly demand that needs to be met. Either way, a crossing makes sense, and a low cost crossing that will be suitable for the users is the obvious answer.

  15. Tim Jones, 5. August 2021, 20:05

    I agree with Mark Cubey – “Progress Wellington” should call themselves The Usual Suspects. Because these are the same people who wanted a Basin Reserve flyover, who supported four lanes to the planes, who oppose making city streets better for pedestrians and cyclists, who don’t give a damn that we’re in the midst of a climate crisis. These are the people whose heads are forever stuck in a haze of nostalgia for those distant days when motorways were cool and petrol was cheap and airports could keep on expanding forever and they could all avoid paying for the costs of their actions.

    Climate change has put paid to all that. But these dinosaurs prefer to keep wallowing in an unsustainable past.

  16. J Chris Horne, 5. August 2021, 20:28

    Might those agencies and individuals opposed to LGWM’s logical proposed at-grade crossing of Cobham Drive – for pedestrians, people in wheel-chairs and cyclists – like to design and fund the following high-tech solution for crossing Cobham Drive? Pedestrians, people in wheel-chairs and on bicycles could travel on twinned rubberised moving belts, one moving belt for people going from Evans Bay toward the ASB Sports Centre, the other moving belt for people going from Kilbirnie towards Evans Bay. The moving-belts system would be enclosed in large tubes to save users of this world-leading road-crossing technology from howling, rain-laden southerlies and northerlies.

  17. Dave B, 5. August 2021, 23:01

    “It’s time for Let’s Get Wellington Moving to start listening,” says ACT’s transport spokesperson Simon Court. But who should they be listening to? Wellingtonians seem to be split 50/50 over whether they want more of the same old car-focussed policies, or whether they want a change to a more people-focussed strategy. LGWM probably feels like a possum in the headlights of the opprobrium that will bear down on them from one side or another, whatever they decide to do. But I applaud their genuine attempts to steer us out of car-dependency, even if only baby-steps so far. Please don’t go and blow it all by caving into the demands of the cars-first lot.

  18. Codger, 6. August 2021, 7:03

    Chris, what a good idea, as long as the tubes have a transparent side so that travellers can enjoy the view.

  19. Peter Steven, 6. August 2021, 10:25

    I can’t believe how much energy these people have put into opposing this, it’s crazy.

    I’m all for the street level crossing – it’s equitable, fair, and reflects the trend towards a more people-focused and climate friendly city. I hope the council doesn’t cave in to these business interests.

  20. Katie, 6. August 2021, 11:48

    I live pretty near Cobham Dr and the proposed crossing site. It was such a thrill, for the first time ever to be able to cross the road without having to walk all the way down to St Pats. That was on the Good Friday of Level 4 lockdown with barely a car to be seen, but plenty of people out exercising. I haven’t been able to do it since. Pity the circumstances had to be so extreme to make drivers realise the sky won’t fall in if they don’t drive everywhere or arrive at their destination 2 minutes later. Or maybe not – certainly not this coalition.

    I’m medically banned from driving and it’s very frustrating having to bus over to Miramar when it’s so close to walk. I didn’t use to wish it on anyone, but I think a temporary driving ban would be quite useful for these fossils. Get a reality check.

  21. J Chris Horne, 8. August 2021, 14:32

    Clearly my high-tech proposal (see 5 August above) for a pair of conveyor belts in a rain-proof, gale-proof tube rising from either side of Cobham Drive would be a winner. It should be patented and funded by the business-community agencies which oppose LGWM’s eminently sensible, people-focussed, cost-effective, at-grade, lights-controlled crossing for pedestrians, wheel-chair users and cyclists. It could earn foreign exchange income from licences sold to transport agencies world-wide which wish to erect similar systems to avoid at-grade crossings. Codger’s (6 August) brilliant idea of windows in the proposed tube would make the elevated crossing of Cobham Drive a winners for locals and a tourist attraction for people from elsewhere in NZ and from overseas.

  22. Codger, 8. August 2021, 15:13

    Thank you, Chris. Windows on both sides would only be needed when the tube is north-south but I would be very happy for some money to be saved by only having windows on the north side when the route is along the south of Evans Bay. I hope that they could be designed as part of the patented and funded initiative which will be undertaken by local business-community agencies and be most profitable for Wellington.