The Eye of the Fish

Leviathan
September 25, 2018

I like to move it, move it

In the immortal and well-crafted words of American electronic and reggae-influenced duo Reel 2 Real:
I like to move it, move it
I like to move it, move it
I like to move it, move it
Ya like to move it!

So – what is Lets Get Wellington Moving actually planning to do?

I feel a bit let down that the real discussion on this subject is not taking place on a Wellington blog, but on the Auckland based blog “Greater Auckland” – also cloned onto local “Talk Wellington” but the sad truth is that there are more people discussing it on the Auckland blog.

It’s been over 4 years now since NZTA was sent away from the Basin Bridge Board of Enquiry, and still no action. Something, we are told, is going to be released in October this year – that’s next week baby ! So: hold your breath.

But why is it taking so long? Don’t we already know what people want? The polling that LGWM have been doing indicates that there are some clear preferred options.

solutions1

Seems to me that there are some very clear leads right there at the top of the graphic wish list: the people of Wellington overwhelmingly want either light rail or bus rapid transit to be implemented, through the city to the hospital and airport, as quickly as possible. They overwhelmingly see that an extra tunnel through Mt Vic is a long-overdue and much needed action, they would prefer that the State Highway is buried underground as it goes through Te Aro, and they totally support faster, better public transport along the Golden Mile.

I’m going to point out that they are wrong – WRONG – to want an extra Terrace Tunnel, as they were not listening to every word at the Basin Bridge Board of Enquiry, which I was, and one thing was very clear from that: don’t duplicate the Terrace Tunnel. John Foster, the designer of the traffic scheme, specifically warned against duplicating the Terrace Tunnel as it would lead to gridlock, letting in too many cars at one time. So, pay attention to him, and: Just. Don’t. Do. It.

solution2

At the other end of the scale, there are some other clear things that Wellingtonians do not want. Prime amongst that is: Don’t Want Congestion Charging.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I don’t think the people saying those earlier things are the same people as the people wanting to not be charged for driving. IN fact, I’d say that probably, the results are based on the top results being what Wellingtonians want, while the lowest result is what Kapiti Coasters and Hutt Valley people want.

So – when is it going to come out in public, and am I right?

m28a31
25 - 09 - 18

I did think the comment in the GA article that Wlg transport funding should be cut down because it’s not growing as fast as Auckland was interesting… I stopped really listening to them about Wellington PT when they published that series on improving the GW rail network a couple of years ago that had a few glaring factual inaccuracies which showed that they hadn’t done any real research (IIRC one of them was that they claimed the third main line was to separate the Johnsonville line from NIMT/WRL traffic, but the J’ville line has been completely separate from the station throat until the embankment since pre-1908 – it even had a separate station – and even Stuff managed to get that right)! They’re OK for Auckland stuff, but their view of Wellington is about what you would expect from 600+ km’s away.

With regard to the LGWM report that should have been released, my (completely uninformed) guess would be the govt is asking NZTA to rethink parts of it because it was either too reliant on new motorway tunnels rather than cycle/PT and/or cost too much.

My expectations are lowering by the month… someone just needs to sit down and spend some money to get the ball rolling on PT improvements on the Adelaide Rd corridor because they’ll be needed whatever LGWM says, can be started now, shouldn’t be too expensive, and would significantly improve PT flow through the intersection of the N/S and Taranaki St spine routes in Newtown. Historically, a lot of the LGWM proposals have been around since at least the De Leuw-Cather report in the early 60s, so it’s only politics holding some of them back.

I would also expect that someone’s going to order an inquiry into the new bus network implementation at some point (my guess is that it will find that the implementation was rushed due to someone setting the date for the end of the old contracts without putting enough slack in for the hubs, bus improvements, and timetabling to be complete) so if GWRC is tied up with that then LGWM might be delayed even further.

With regard to your remark about the differences in opinion between the city proper and the Hutt/Kapiti/etc., I think part of the problem is that no-one is funding improvements to infrastructure in the Hutt in the near future (except perhaps Riverlink in Melling) and so people from the area will be looking at having to pay a congestion charge (or something equivalent) for improvements to Wellington transport that won’t help congestion on Western Hutt Rd or the Petone Esplanade (or help to fix SH58 or the River Road bridge which has a crash every year or so). In the Kapiti Coast it’s better because there is obviously new transport infrastructure going in (the motorways, plus the electrification extension to Waikanae), so I would expect them to be more positive than the Hutt.

Levi
25 - 09 - 18

Thanks m28a31 – excellent comments, right on the ball IMHO. Wellington IS definitely a bit stuck in a pattern of not-much-growth, mainly I believe because we have used up all the easy land. Combined with – only a certain sort of person wants to live in the Hutt or up the Coast. Most of the Wellingtonians that I know want to live actually IN Wellington – even Karori is too far away from them (sorry m-d !). But sites in Welly are hard to find – except on the side of a hill….

So – rather than looking at it as: we shouldn’t put in Light Rail or decent PT, because Wellington is not growing fast enough, take the opposite tack. Say: Wellington needs Light Rail so that it can grow !

I’m pretty sure that Councillor Andy Foster, Head of Development at the WCC, knows and understands that.
Hopefully, NZTA understand that too.
Developing more and more roads out up the Coast, like Trans Gullie and P2O and O2PP etc, just add to Wellington’s problems, not to its solutions….

Seamonkey Madness
26 - 09 - 18

Levi – hear hear!

m-d
28 - 09 - 18

I don’t have anything to offer in defence of Karori except, perhaps, that the screeching of playful groups of kaka as they wheel overhead across Karori valley every morning and back again in the evenings is quite delightful.
I got nothing else.

Random transport stuff – M28 A31
29 - 09 - 18

[…] noted in a comment on an Eye of the Fish post that “my guess is that [any inquiry] will find that the implementation was rushed due to […]

m28a31
29 - 09 - 18

Re “My expectations are lowering by the month…” – it seems I should be more optimistic, if the dom post has its journalism correct: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/107448357/wellingtons-transport-planners-move-to-fasttrack-approval-for-light-rail

Also mentions a new tunnel under Te Aro for SH1, hopefully when they say tunnel they mean it (and not a trench). And a fourth lane for the Terrace Tunnel, so does that mean a second tunnel and 2-laning the current one, or widening it?

Levi
30 - 09 - 18

indeed m28a31, a Dompost article that raises some hopes, although there is nothing official yet. The problem with the Dom is that they don’t really have any reporters who know what they are talking about, so when they say “tunnel” they may just mean it is planned to go underground.

Take everything they say with a pinch of salt….

luke
1 - 10 - 18

how would they widen a pre existing tunnel? is it even possible.

Leviathan
2 - 10 - 18

Luke – technically, anything is possible, but certainly some things are easier than others. While there are great tunnel-boring machines available in the world, these tunnels are all way too small for that sort of thing, and so any work on tunnels here would be done using road-headers etc – crawler-tracked machines with gnarly grinding heads etc. And a whole lot of shoring up, site concrete, etc. But with the Terrace tunnel, they would absolutely build a second tunnel rather than try and alter the existing – due to the amount of traffic going through it.

Andy Foster
2 - 10 - 18

Hi Levi and everyone else – you have challenged me here – twice – to get involved in discussion, so I must !
We’ve been given several heads up on what is proposed and there are some ‘worst kept secrets’ which it seems ‘everyone’ now knows, especially in respect of mass transit/light rail. Anyway we are expecting details to be announced by the Government in the next few weeks. Looking forward to that – it’s been a long time coming, and I have no doubt there will be a lot of discussion to come too.

You mention essentially the merits of densification along major PT routes which has been long term Council policy, so expect that urban design will be a critical part of proposals. I agree with you too that some of the big RONS roads will tend to add to pressure on the network because they encourage more sprawled car dependent development.

That leads to some of the key questions to think about. It is not just what gets proposed to be built in terms of transport, but the urban form options. Funding and pricing – especially as a behaviour modifier are important too. You mention the Terrace tunnel duplication. There is a question in my mind about this – not Mt Vic – because of the potential to take congestion off the motorway and plant it in inner city streets. So there are some very important questions to ask about how the system responds to ‘what if’ questions if you pull one lever or another.
I don’t know the answers to those questions. I have said to LGWM in presentations that they do need to be able to answer them.

m-d – Karori !! I will have to post again in a moment in defence of my wonderful community :)

Andy Foster
2 - 10 - 18

m-d !! How can you say that !! Yes – I love the kaka wheeling and screeching around Karori, but really that is not all we have to offer here in the centre of the known universe !

Karori is recognized as a great family suburb – good schools – if lacking in space.
Karori is a very green suburb, surrounded by hills, regenerating bush, great track network, including the internationally recognized Makara Peak. You’ve kind of mentioned Zealandia – and bird wise we enjoy kaka, kereru, tui, less frequently kakariki and tieke. In how many cities can you hear kiwi calling at night from your lounge (well where we are that’s a pretty regular joy). Incidentally I’ve just set up a new environmental group – called KAKA – Karori Kaitiaki – to help look after all the reserves in Karori other than Zealandia and Makara Peak because they are already well cared for.

There are some really important heritage features in Karori. Zealandia of course – with its historic valve tower and dam, Karori tunnel, the iconic Futuna Chapel, St Mary’s Church, Katherine Mansfield’s family home, Samuel Parnell’s house, Homewood, Wrights Hill fortress, all the many heritage buildings and features in the Cemetery – which is a place full of stories, the recently listed (by HNZ) College of Education buildings.
There are now a range of excellent community facilities and I will miss many out – Wellington’s best used suburban library, pool and recreation centre, an excellent community owned and run Arts and Crafts centre, many excellent clubs – sporting and cultural, churches. Karori Park is now an excellent venue. Karori is close enough to town with an excellent bus service – well GWRC could now fix a few things there for us please!

What’s lacking ? Top of the list would definitely be the quality of our town centre. We are currently doing some consultation work with our community and businesses to try to address this. It does need a lift and character enhancement. Karori Mall is tired. What is really good is that we now have a new owner (Foodstuffs) who will want to do things and make changes. There is also a petrol station where the heart of the heart should be. However we are working on all of this.
The other major issue of the moment is of course the future planning for the College of Education site.

Finally we have a wonderful and active community, and great people. I am sure that is true of most communities. This is just the one I know best so I am definitely going to go in to bat for us ! It is very much a community that wants to improve and become better. That was the strong message out of the Karori Plan consultation we did late last year. Always very happy to have you up in Karori m-d and Levi.

Warmest regards
Andy

Leviathan
3 - 10 - 18

Thanks for the comments Andy – great to see your comments here – especially in defence of our native bird life. Here in the city, all i’ve got is sparrows, pigeons, and starlings. Occasionally a blackboard in my pot plants. I have to get my bird life elsewhere.

Looking forward to the ‘worst kept secrets’ getting made public, so we can discuss them properly.

Isabella
3 - 10 - 18

Hi Andy, and good post EOTF… there’s Hopeful and Not Hopeful stuff here. When less reliance on the private car is a goal of LGWM, and it’s going to have light rail, why would LGWM do any car-only infastructure at all – especially such expensive one as Tce tunnel? Seems to undermine some important principles – also carbon.