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

Monday, April 03, 2006

Three the easy way

The lead article in this morning's Dominion Post says that Wellington City Council plans to drop its opposition to Transmission Gully, based upon a report to be discussed this Thursday. While Kerry Prendergast's objections have never been based upon environmental considerations (on the contrary, it's just that she'd prefer to spend the money on yet more roads in the city), it's still a blow to those who consider that bigger roads are not the solution. At a time when oil prices are rising, climate change is looming, and the Regional Council has to increase fares to fund a long-neglected rail network, it seems crazy to spend $1.6 billion on a plan that only devotes 6% of its funding to public transport. Despite a long and tedious debate that's been limited to an apparent choice between two ruinously expensive environmental disasters, there is a workable alternative.

Option 3 logoI mentioned Option 3 when it was first announced, and while I was in accord with their basic aims, at the time there was little detail upon which to base a more informed assessment. Now they have a slightly higher profile, with posters and flyers appearing around town, and most importantly they have a clear and informative website that goes further towards outlining specific solutions. I won't try to repeat the details of their solution, but it's very encouraging to see a lobby group that realises that transport problems can't be solved by transport solutions alone. So, their plan includes the expected improvements to rail and bus services, but also encourages smart growth, telecommuting and lots of sensible little ideas (like a downtown airport check-in) that all add up to a smoother experience for public transport users. It's connected thinking.

Why should I care, since I don't regularly travel between Wellington and the Kapiti Coast? Apart from broader environmental concerns, there's a very good reason for city people to prefer Kapiti commuters not to drive into town: where are all those cars going to go when they get here? The Option 3 people point out that, according to the Regional Council's own reports, "rail mode share ... would reduce and highway traffic volumes would increase by up to 20%". For the city, this means that any efforts to reduce traffic along the quays, reclaim roads and carparks as public space or increase pedestrian priority will be doomed. So for the sake of the compact, lively, walkable Wellington that we love, support Option 3


At 1:55 pm, April 04, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Public meeting-

Climate Change, Peak Oil, Big Roads and what Wellingtonian's can do about it!


Tuesday April 4
St Johns Church
Cnr Dixon and Willis St.

Free drinks too!

At 10:25 pm, April 09, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seen Saturday's Dom Post story on the monorail proposal? Now that's visionary.


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