WellUrban

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

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

How not to go carbon neutral


A couple of weeks ago, Wellington City Council decided that Wellington should aspire to become carbon neutral. Since then,
The first initiative aims to get between 1000 and 1500 more people coming into the city (by car, of course) at weekends, and while some of those people would have been driving to suburban shops anywhere, others would be switching from public transport now that parking in town is cheaper than coming by bus from virtually anywhere. The second move is by the regional council rather than the city, but the city has a part to play in those decisions too.

I tried not to be too cynical about the "carbon neutral" aspirations, even though it's a debatable and wishy-washy concept. But one thing's for sure: making it more attractive to drive and less attractive to take public transport is exactly the opposite of what they should be doing.

15 Comments:

At 2:59 pm, June 26, 2007, Blogger llew said...

Heh. Election year?

 
At 4:13 pm, June 26, 2007, Blogger Br3nda said...

they're the council that finally built the bypass -- i doubt there's anything they can do to win back the green vote.

 
At 4:19 pm, June 26, 2007, Blogger Tom said...

"they're the council that finally built the bypass -- i doubt there's anything they can do to win back the green vote."

Though it's a fairly divided council: I wouldn't lump Celia Wade-Brown in with Kerry P when it comes to green issues!

 
At 5:26 pm, June 26, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The way I understand local government, the two organisations involved in this scheme are accountable to the Council but are not council controlled as such in their day to day management. Any changes in policy are reviewed annually in amending the contractual obligations and annual objectives of the organisations.

Still, this is fucking stupid.

 
At 5:39 pm, June 26, 2007, Blogger Tom said...

"The way I understand local government, the two organisations involved in this scheme are accountable to the Council but are not council controlled as such in their day to day management."

Though in this case, as the Wellingtonian reported, "Mayor Kerry P, Wilson Parking... and Positively Wellington Tourism... all worked together".

 
At 2:59 am, June 27, 2007, Anonymous Kevyn Miller said...

Unfortuately public transport users are much more sensitive to price increases than car users. And it appears that no amount of service improvements can compensate for higher fares. At least this was the conclusion that the Urban Passenger Transport Council kept coming to in its annual reports during the 1970s. Beginning in 1972 it provided $m50 (at today's values) a year for bus fleet upgrades. Despite this medernisation of the bus fleets in the main centres, and the two oil shocks, passenger numbers continued to decline every time the government authorised fare increases to cover higher fuel and wage costs.
Since the Land Transport Fund petrol tax is now indexed to the CPI it might be time to do the same with the subsidies petrol tax pays to passenger transport operating costs.

 
At 3:05 am, June 27, 2007, Anonymous Kevyn Miller said...

Whoops...only $m10 not $m50.

 
At 9:38 am, June 27, 2007, Anonymous alanb said...

It would be interesting to hear from the councillors who supported the decision as to how they personally intend to aspire to carbon neutrality.

 
At 10:12 am, June 27, 2007, Blogger Baz said...

This is nuts. I was able to tolerate the fare hikes last year because they were supposed to help fund improvements to the J'ville line, but before any improvements are visible the fares go up again for much the same reason?

PT commuters may be a semi-captive audience, but if they see fares increasing regularly to pay for improvements that don't arrive they will be sorely tempted to find alternative arrangements. Once that happens they're hard to win back.

 
At 3:21 pm, June 27, 2007, Blogger David said...

But carbon neutrality has already been forgotten. The proposed apartment blocks you've written about since the decision prove that. If the council were serious, then there would be no point in building new housing since the vast majority of the existing housing stock is going to be empty once the city's population reaches its tiny carbon neutral size.

 
At 6:41 pm, June 27, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Public transport only emits less carbon if you get a lot of cars off the road, though. Better to cancel a service carrying only three or four people and have them drive rather than burn more gas with a giant bus.

 
At 8:01 am, June 28, 2007, Blogger mikeymike said...

anon, "...have them drive rather than burn more gas with a giant bus"

sureley the question then becomes "how is the bus driven?" they've introduced biodiesel busses in chch and in auck ( i think), and of course we've got trolleys.

anyone know which electricity retailer stagecoach uses to run trolleys?

cheers
mike

 
At 11:19 am, July 05, 2007, Blogger Greg said...

This might be getting a bit old, but it seems a bit relevant. The current news from Go Wellington (no permalink, sorry) indicates that they've dropped the price of the Daytripper fare from $6 to $3 for the month of July. My guess is that this is in response to the new parking rates.

If there is a decent uptake, would they consider making a permanent shift? A smaller revenue is still better than no revenue, after all. Unfortunately, I couldn't find anything about this on MetLink directly. The advertising of this seems pretty abysmal.

 
At 1:03 pm, July 05, 2007, Blogger Tom said...

Thanks Greg: I've posted about it now.

 
At 10:25 pm, July 08, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This seem rather cheeky in light of the extra funding granted by the government - http://www.stuff.co.nz/4108957a11.html

Surely this will now negate the need for fare increases? My money is on the increases going ahead regardless.

 

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