WellUrban

Personal reflections on urbanism, urban life and sustainable urban design in Wellington, New Zealand.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Dunne roamin'


Back in November I wrote in favour of a council proposal to reduce the speed limit on parts of the Golden Mile to 30km/h, and it seems I'm not the only one to agree: two thirds of the submissions (68kB PDF) did as well, and last week the council's Strategy and Policy committee recommended that it be put into action. Even the AA was in favour!

But not everyone agreed. Peter Dunne, MP for Sprawlistan and lobbyist for motorways and other polluters, had this to say in today's DomPost:
"Nutty" 30kmh speed limits in central Wellington will frustrate drivers and make the city more dangerous, Ohariu-Belmont MP Peter Dunne says. Wellington City Council's planned drop in the speed limit on Lambton Quay and lower Willis St would have the opposite effect from that intended, Mr Dunne said. "The whole way in which the city has approached traffic management over the years has been back to front." Mr Dunne said the city had become more dangerous over the years, as roads narrowed leaving less space for cars, frustrating drivers and bringing pedestrians too close to vehicles. The "hare-brained" focus on restricting car movement was wrong, with Wellington's topography lending itself to cars over feet, he said. Wider, less restricted, streets were needed. "Getting back to the situation where traffic can flow freely is much safer than at the moment where frustrated motorists don't like crawling through the city." (my emphasis)
Has he even been to Wellington? Or planet Earth for that matter? I've refrained from writing letters to the editor in recent weeks, but this time I couldn't resist. Here was my reply (published on the 26th of April):
Peter Dunne says that 30km/h speed limits in central Wellington are "nutty" (21 April), apparently because "Wellington's topography lends itself to cars over feet". Would this be the same Wellington that has the highest rates in the country of walking to work, public transport use and households without a car? The Wellington that has been shaped by topography into a compact CBD with linear suburbs that suit public transport? Or is it Mr Dunne's fantasy city of unconstrained sprawl, expensive motorways and frightened pedestrians? I'm glad that, unlike Mr Dunne, I live in the real Wellington: it's rather nice here, and will become better as pedestrians begin to be treated like human beings.

9 Comments:

At 5:14 PM, April 21, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

perhaps mr dunne has had a bad experience on the streets at some stage in the past - he does look as though he is permanently startled and has sat on a carrot... very odd fellow, giving a bad name to oddfellows...

 
At 10:19 PM, April 21, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

isn't he the mp for newlands? if so, maybe he's spent most of his time out in the burbs ... Newlands has terrible bus service - very irregular, and high priced.

the CBD is fine for walking - in many cases, it is a heck of a lot faster to walk from place to place than to drive - even at 50km's an hour ...

 
At 10:34 PM, April 21, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe that is a forward thinking statement for Newlands and Ohariu Belmont, and has been made to help him get re-elected. But here in Welly it's just cemented his image as completely potty and out of touch with reality. Sooner he goes the better.

 
At 10:21 AM, April 22, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

I get the feeling that he goes no further south than Parliament. He should have a read of the Ngauranga to Airport Strategic Study (1.3MB PDF):

"[the] level of passenger transport use, combined with the location of the rail station and the fact that 13.5% of workers walk to work, mean that Wellington can be described as 'a walking city'"

 
At 7:56 AM, April 24, 2006, Blogger Hadyn said...

Go on Tom say it, "Peter Dunne is a fncktard"

 
At 3:00 PM, April 24, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

Come on Hadyn, did you learn nothing from the "Blogging in the Public Sector" seminar? I'm on thin enough ice criticising the statements of a current minister, even though he's evidently not saying them as part of government policy. But to actually call him a "f^cktard" would probably go too far, and in any case, "MP for Newlands" probably sums it up quite nicely.

 
At 3:05 PM, April 24, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

But I'm glad someone said it, though :-)

 
At 12:29 AM, April 25, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't they have low speed limits out in the northern burbs already?

Presumably Peter is speaking from personal experience. Passing the dozens of tiny torn bodies carpeting the Ngaio 40kmph kill zone on the way to work every morning would affect anyone.

Your lack of humanity and empathy is chilling.

 
At 1:37 PM, April 26, 2006, Blogger stephen said...

Congrats on getting the "feature" letter today. Did you see the one from that other idiot; I couldn't even understand his point.

Erm. A summary of the main points covered in the "Blogging in the Public Sector" seminar would be interesting.

 

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