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Submission on Wellington Regional Draft transport Plan

Submission to the Regional Transport Committee on the Draft Regional Transport Plan (RLTP) 2015

 18 February,  2015

Richard Keller

General Observations on the Draft Plan

 The Draft Plan often references sustainability and offers elements which look in that direction.

(Vision – ‘To deliver a safe, effective and efficient land transport network that supports the region’s economic prosperity in a way that is environmentally and socially sustainable’ ).

But ‘follow the money’.  What are the costs of the recommendations in the Draft Plan?  By far the highest cost item is the so-called Roads of National Significance (RoNS), coming from the government.  This is in direct contradiction to a sustainability focus.  A reduction in traffic into/outof the city will be a chief component of a workable transport plan which looks in the direction of sustainability.  The contradiction boggles the mind!  Wow!  (Note:  Just because the government will be providing money doesn’t mean Wellington should take it.)

The Draft Plan does not adequately give recognition to the degree to which it derives its inspiration from the Airport Master Plan.   The proposals in regard to Highway 1 and in particular suggestions for the Basin Reserve, along with RoNS, are the main source of focus and costs in the Draft Plan.  While this plays into the short term preferences of outlying suburbs emphasizing ease in getting to the airport, it neither suits the needs of Wellington City nor the longer term requirements of sustainability for the region, New Zealand, and the world.  There will need to be less use of air travel, with its high climate change impact, not more.

Observations on the Draft Plan Strategic Objectives

The Draft Plan has a list of eight strategic objectives which are largely consistent with the ‘sustainable’ part of the vision, though tellingly fail to highlight that the RoNS will take up a very high proportion of the money.   To help keep a larger emphasis on sustainability two more should be added.

  1. A high quality and high frequency passenger transport spine emphasizing Light Rail which is interconnected with walking and cycling.
  2. To reduce the commuter road traffic entering the CBD, particularly at peak hours, and necessarily redirect the money prescribed for RoNS.

Observations on the Draft Plan Priority Projects

Priorities 7, 9, 10, and 11 are consistent with objectives consistent with sustainability.  Others are not.

Priority 7:       SH 58 safety works

Priority 9:       Regional Rail Plan—passenger rail improvements

Priority 10:     The Ngauranga to Petone cycleway/walkway.

Priority 11:     Integrated fares and ticketing.

Proposing Additions to the Draft Plan Priority Projects

Priority:           A pedestrianized Golden Mile surrounding Light Rail Transit (LRT) would transform the CBD.  (Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) will not be able to help with this.  Wellington’s narrow inner city streets will result in buses stopping in places where following buses cannot overtake, thus eliminating a critical feature of the BRT proposal and replicating present-day delays.)

Priority:           In keeping with the theme of electric transport, the trolley buses should be kept for their lifetime with electric battery (not hybrid) buses added if and when they become viable.

Priority:           A comprehensive cycling network should include physical separation of cyclists from motorists and pedestrians where possible.

 

 

 

 

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