Missed Public Transport Opportunity

Missed Public Transport Opportunity

Civic leaders ignore need for high quality public transport system

While the economy crashes around us and the International Oil Agency warns of fuel shortages, the Ngauranga to Airport Corridor plan reserves the big dollars for roading enhancements and tunnels, rather than for a high quality public transport system.

Greater Wellington Regional Councillor Paul Bruce said that it was at the same time appalling and ironic, that while passing the Ngauranga to Airport Corridor Plan, the Committee also received the Annual Monitoring Report which highlighted increased accident rates and greenhouse emissions from private cars. It also showed the lack of good public transport and safe cycle way alternatives.

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Report 5, Recommended Ngauranga-Wellington Airport Corridor Plan

Members of the Public will be protesting the Council’s apparent disregard for their submissions to the Plan, lack of public transport capacity, the chronic levels of safety for cyclists and walkers, and the miss-allocation of resources to new road capacity. The demonstration will be held outside GW offices at 12.30pm on Friday 31st October this week.

Cr Bruce says the new Regional Transport Committee was unable to pick up the ball,
despite advice from special interest representatives for an immediate shift in investment towards a high quality public transport system. The majority of public submissions on the Plan urged the inclusion of light rail, and criticised roading expenditure. A feasibility study for light rail had been done in the early 90s, and thus GW had a head start, along with a clear mandate from the Public to get on with it.

On the positive side, the Corridor plan supports passenger transport improvements measures along the golden mile, bus priority measures on arterial routes, and better walking and cycling connections between local networks reflecting support for the Great Harbour Way Walking and Cycle proposal.

However, Cr Bruce who is on the GW Transport and Access Committee, said that investment in public transport should have been accelerated. Instead, the first major expenditure was on the flyover for the Basin Reserve in 2011/12, which would facilitate private vehicle west-east traffic flows. 79% of submitters did not directly support the construction of the flyover. Expenditure of at least $380 million is being planned for roading infrastructure, with another $63 million on projects benefiting both private cars and public transport.

There are 90 to 120 buses plying the CBD during peak times, with serious bottle necks near the railway station and at Courtenay Place. Angry bus drivers are blocked by other buses during peak hours, timetables are not reliable, passengers don’t get a seat, and some passengers are refused entry. A limited shaft of traffic through a single artery is exactly what high density public transport will solve. Light rail is the fastest growing transport mode and the preferred solution overseas. It has greater capacity, replacing at least 8 normal buses. Light rail runs on existing roads and is safer in urban space and through malls. It has lower operating costs, and can integrate into the wider rail network.

Cr Paul Bruce
Greater Wellington Regional Councillor
272 Ohiro Road,
Tel 04 9728699, 021 02719370
“The thinking that brought you into trouble will not bring you out of it”
Albert Einstein