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

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Back on track: fixing the strategy

As you can see on the countdown in my sidebar, this Friday is the deadline for submissions on the Wellington Regional Land Transport Strategy and Regional Passenger Transport Plan. These could be among the most important decisions made for the future of the Wellington region, and I believe they're getting it terribly wrong. I've written at length before about the shortcomings of these strategies and the madness of spending 90% of new capacity investment on roads, so I won't repeat the arguments here.

But Option 3 are helping you get involved, and they've prepared a printable submission form (119kB PDF) for you to send in. If you want to use Greater Wellington's online form instead, but would like to include some of Option 3's detailed concrete suggestions, I've extracted them from the PDF and added them below so that you can paste them into the form.

. . .

I want the Council to make the following changes:
  • I want the regional council to take climate change seriously and start now to give people more climate-friendly transport options.
  • The top priority for the regional land transport strategy ought to be vastly improved rail and bus services and facilities, together with much easier and safer walking and cycling.
  • Major investment in better public transport, walking and cycling is necessary and needs to happen first, before any investment in big roading projects.
  • At least half of the planned investment in additional services and facilities over the next ten years ought to be going on public transport, walking and cycling.
  • I would like to see the following specific proposals included in the regional land transport strategy as actions to be completed in the next 10 years:
Overall Improvements
  • Purchase sufficient new, easy-to-board rail units to meet growing demand on all lines
  • Increase bus and train frequency and reliability for all services
  • introduce genuine express services on the Hutt and Kapiti rail lines
  • Increase park and ride capacity and improve access and lighting at train stations
  • Increase reliability and frequency of bus services linking to train services
  • Introduce 'taxi-train' and 'taxi-bus' tickets for late night door-to-door service
  • Provide reliable real-time information at all well-used bus and train stops
  • Introduce 'single ticket' travel so people can change services without paying more
  • Allow bicycles on trains for no charge and trial free bike/pram racks on buses
  • Increase cycle parking and storage at stations and in urban areas
  • Focus roading investment on safety improvements for all road users
  • Give pedestrians priority in inner-city areas and increase use of 30 km/hr zones
Infrastructure Investment: Kapiti
  • Build a two-way rail tunnel from Pukerua Bay to Paekakariki
  • Create a walking and cycling track on the old rail route
  • Double-track rail lines from McKay's Crossing to Waikanae
  • Extend electric rail services to Otaki
  • Introduce express passing tracks south of Plimmerton
  • Provide new stations, starting with Raumati South and Lindale
Infrastructure Investment: Hutt Valley
  • Double-track rail lines from Trentham to Timberlea, helping eliminate clashes between Wairarapa and Upper Hutt services
  • Extend the electrified service to Timberlea and then to the Wairarapa
  • Introduce express passing tracks
  • Provide a light rail connection across the Hutt Valley between Melling and Waterloo
  • Provide more and better cycleways
Infrastructure Investment: Wellington
  • Add a small amount of extra track so Kapiti and Hutt lines can continue as separate lines into the Wellington station (rather than merge at Kaiwharawhara) to help eliminate peak-time delays
  • Extend the reach of rail services by introducing a light rail link, initially between Wellington Station and Courtenay Place
  • Create a downtown check-in and airport shuttle for Wellington airport users
  • Introduce more orbital bus services so it is easier to travel directly between suburbs
  • Complete the "Great Harbour" cycle and walkway linking Lambton Harbour and Eastbourne


At 4:29 pm, February 13, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been trying to make an online submission, but whenever I go to submit, it times out. Anyone else having similar difficulties?

At 10:11 pm, February 13, 2007, Blogger R Singers said...

There is no point extending the current park and ride on the suburban lines without doing something about the largest flaw in the system, security. Having your car broken into and\or stolen doesn't encourage you to use the train.

You also have to do something about the fact that Toll don't care about the passenger service, they only want the freight.

At 9:07 am, February 14, 2007, Blogger Tom said...

Andy and Anon: yes, I had the same trouble yesterday, and in fact for a long time I couldn't get anything on the GW site to load. The form timed out the first time for me, but worked the second time. Looks like it was a server problem, but it seems to be loading okay (if rather slowly) today.

Glassboy: Toll's attitude is certainly part of the problem, and Infratil doesn't seem to be doing that much better with the buses at the moment. The suburban stations certainly need some upgrades to stop them looking so neglected, which is one aspect that can encourage that sort of crime, so Option 3's suggestion of improved lighting at park'n'ride is good. Many of the stations would also benefit from a bit of Transit Oriented Development (medium density housing & some shops right next to the station), because a bit more activity and constant occupation around the stations would provide some of the passive surveillance that deters crime. It would also allow more people to "walk and ride" as well as "park and ride".

At 11:07 am, February 14, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

having worked in jobs receiving and processing public submissions, i'd recommend that you do customise your print-out as much as possible. and maybe try and elaborate on points that you think more relevant to yourself.

you're more likely to be listened to than a pre-processed form letter.

not that this should stop you from submitting!!

At 11:47 am, February 14, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent work Tom.

I would [and have] suggest including that the council consider mode-shift one of the top priorities.

Getting people to move from Car based to public transport based journeys is key. As well as all the fine points made in your submission is the quality of experience -unless people enjoy their journey they will be less likely to change -the benefits to the consumer must be tangible.

At 2:59 pm, February 15, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was looking through the agenda paper for today's GW PT Committee meeting and was interested to note PT patronage increased 4.2% last calendar year with some double digit month-on-month growth in the early part of the year when fuel prices were the highest.

At 7:35 pm, February 16, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL. Recycling 1950s pieces from a museum! What an impressive screw up on the part of WRC. Heads should roll.

At 5:45 pm, February 27, 2007, Blogger s. said...

I thought this was interesting, on the weekend, considering McDavitt's (possibly former?) public role as head of the bypass cheer squad.

I really, really hope that the horrible traffic situation of the last 2 or 3 months improves once they finish the work. Else I am going to be quite upset.

At 9:09 am, February 28, 2007, Blogger Tom said...

Yes, very interesting, though the way I read it McDavitt's still cheerleading, but for an even bigger and more expensive bypass.

I think it's too early to blame all these snarl-ups on the bypass. It is only half-finished, and there's still a lot of roadworks around, plus people seem to be confused by the temporary road layouts. I can't see how the bypass would make traffic worse overall than it was before (since SH1 traffic always had to contend with Taranaki & Vivian streets), and I don't think it could have induced a lot more traffic this quickly.

I know I'm tempted to say "told you so", since I didn't think the bypass would have improved things significantly. On the other hand, I want the bypass to "work" as it was supposed to, so that even if they've destroyed parts of Te Aro we might see some small improvements elsewhere. If congestion stays like this, the powers that be will have a great excuse not to reduce lanes along Jervois Quay or calm traffic in Ghuznee St.


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