I’ve written a draft submission on the Waterview Connection that you’re welcome to copy and adapt. Submissions are due this Friday so please take a few minutes to read through it, add your name and contacts, delete any points I’ve made you don’t like, add any of your own ideas and then send it in to the NZTA at email@example.com You could also send it to Steven Joyce as he is the one driving this project on firstname.lastname@example.org
This will be one of the most expensive motorway projects ever built in NZ (per km) and by completing the Western Ring Route it will have a really lasting effect on traffic patterns in Auckland. So, don’t be shy, wherever you live in Auckland feel free to submit!
If you wanted to write your own submission that would be even better! For more information about Waterview check out here: http://www.transit.govt.nz/projects/waterviewconnection/. And for the Green Party’s position see here: http://www.greens.org.nz/node/21145
Draft Submission on Waterview You Can Adapt
I oppose the early completion of the Western Ring Route (WRR) through the Waterview Connection because I believe:
- the priority for Auckland should be building new public transport infrastructure. For example, electrifying the Auckland rail system, extending the rail line into a loop around the CBD, or putting in a rail link from Avondale Station to Onehunga Station to the airport and back to Puhinui on the Southern Line.
- the Waterview Connection will not reduce traffic congestion in Auckland in the long-term. Completing the WRR will not reduce congestion on local roads near the motorway or in the greater Auckland region long-term. This is because building the motorway will induce traffic, that is, it will cause more people to drive in private vehicles than currently do so or are predicted to do so in the NZTA’s modeling of the project’s impact on traffic flows.
- the costs and benefits of the projects have been calculated in a way that is fundamentally flawed. For example, almost 90% of the economic benefits of the project are based on congestion reduction or time savings for commuters but, as stated above, I do not believe building this motorway will reduce congestion long-term.
- oil prices may rise sharply in the near future as they did in 2008. Constructing this motorway does nothing to “future proof” Auckland against sudden changes in oil prices. Instead it will simply increase Aucklander’s dependence on private motor vehicles to get around and mean we have no alternative mode of transport if oil prices peak.
- climate change will require NZ to reduce our emissions dramatically. Road transport is one of the sectors in NZ whose emissions have risen most rapidly since 1990. Building this motorway will increase rather than reduce our emissions.
Some of the specific effects of the Waterview Connection I am most concerned about are:
- the 240 people who will be forced to leave their homes and will only receive the government valuation of their house.
- if there are backups of traffic waiting to get onto SH16 at peak times (as seems very likely due to the traffic that the project will induce) this will worsen traffic congestion on Great North Road.
- negative effects on the local sports club Metro Mount Albert who will lose some of their fields when the Alan Wood Reserve is taken for the motorway.
- impact of poor air quality in Waterview on the health of children at Waterview Primary School and St Francis School. NZTA traffic modeling suggests there will be more than 90,000 vehicles/day traveling through the interchange between SH16 and SH20 which will be only a few 100 metres from both schools.
- negative effects on Waterview School of losing some pupils (due to the loss of houses in the area). I do not believe that moving more Housing NZ tenants into an area with poor air quality that will be cut off from the rest of Auckland by two major roads (the Waterview Connection and SH16) is an acceptable solution to this problem.
- loss of green spaces (e.g., Alan Wood Reserve, Hendon Park) in an area that already has a very low ratio of green to built up space.
If the early completion of the Waterview Connection goes ahead despite my opposition some modifications I would suggest to the project to decrease its negative effects are:
- make one of the two lanes in each direction available only to buses, freight, and high occupancy vehicles (3 passengers or more). This will counteract the “induced traffic” effect of completing the WRR to some extent.
- use sound walls and tree planting to minimize the effect of the above-ground sections of the motorway on residents.
- compensate those people who will lose their houses by giving them slightly more than the current government valuation for their properties.
- cover the section of the motorway that will be above-ground near the intersection of Blockhouse Bay & Great North Road.
- ensure that the project will not make construction of the Onehunga to Avondale rail line any more difficult than it would have been before the Waterview Connection is built.
- carry out on-going testing to ensure that air pollution from the interchange of SH20 and SH16 will not damage the health of students at Waterview or St Francis School. If there is a health risk then I believe NZTA should investigate the possibility of either relocating the schools to another site close by or using tree planting to provide an air-cleaning buffer between the interchange and the closest classrooms.
- work with the Metro Mount Albert sports club to ensure that they are compensated for their lack of fields through construction of new fields elsewhere.
- use bike and walking bridges over the motorway to ensure that residents are not cut off from their communities by the motorway.
Finally, I live in the project area so I hope my comments will be noted with due attention/I do not live in the project area but since I believe that the completion of the WRR will affect traffic throughout the Auckland region I hope the NZTA will attend to my comments.
I would like to be kept informed about this project by email/post. I can be contacted at xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx email or xxxxxxxxxxxx phone number as well as by mail.