Last night was of course, Stop Transit’s Tunnels, a public meeting to inform the public about Transit’s plans, better alternatives and how to influence the process of the Ngauranga to Airport Transport Strategy.

Note: Sorry, its been a busy night, and its 3am….this post will be edited into a more complete writeup with some analysis and supporting material when I get the chance. Check back soon, but in the mean time, here are some (rough) points of what was covered:

Celia, giving a summary of the Ngauranga to Airport Transport Strategic Study

  • New roads are necessary, there is ongoing traffic growth of 3-4%.
  • The total budget of the new plan would be $522 million – split $349m for roads and $173m for public transport.
  • No money is allocated to walking/cycling upgrades.

Sue Kedgley, Green party MP

“If you actually read the fine print of the report, it is trying to solve the problem of road with more road….doubling car capacity at the very time when petrol prices are doubling”

  • This is the beginning of the Auckland paradox – roads were the fix, but also the problem.
  • The report is a 30 year strategy, but it makes no mention of oil supply issues.
  • There would b four lanes all the way to the airport, and an (ugly)(large) fly over around the basin
  • $170m for the new Victoria tunnel, and $118m for the new Terrace tunnel.
  • Light rail is $130m, much less…However rail is only 50% subsidised by the national funds, whereas the doubled capacity roads count as state highway 1, and are therefore 100% nationally funded.
  • The report is based on 3-4% growth per year for ten years – an unsustainable expectation

Kent Duston, local consultant (Mt. Victoria citizens group?)

  • The 2nd Mt Vic. tunnel was a pilot in the 70s, the new one would drill along this. All of Patterson St, and the first row of houses would be roads.
  • This new road project is the overseas passenger terminal of the 21st century – by the time it is finished it will irrelevant
  • 70% of the cars going through the Mt Vic tunnel had only a single occupant – drive smarter?
  • The extra capacity roading would only last us 8-12 years, then we are back to where we started (in a perfect world assuming this magic 3-4% growth)

Andy Foster, portfolio leader of Urban Development for council

  • The Regional Land Transport Strategy is comprised of 4 corridors – one of which is the Ngauranga to Airport
  • The RLTS was revised radically in 2007 to address sustainability issues – but the corridor strategies haven’t been similarly revised. There will be serious misalignments, some shaking up of existing projects in other corridors
  • After submissions for N2A, there will be a WCC and GWRC workshop, and around June an option will be decided
  • A new bus lane programme has been approved in principle, with a budget of $33m over 10 years.
  • The new bus development starts this year, but will be controversial due to lost parking spaces etc – it needs vocal advocacy otherwise it will fail. The development is compatible with any selected N2A option, and will be a serious help
  • There was lots of stuff on nodes, the spine and growth forms…

Celia, Councillor, president of Living Streets

  • What is sustainability? A city that has a beautiful, inclusive, economically succesful sustainability programme that addresses climate change.
  • With this new roading proposal, where will all these new cars be parked?
  • Wellington has ~half a degree of seperation
  • Mike, president of living streets wellington
    • The 5 interest groups that are on the LRTS are not represented at all on the proposal. It only describes things purely in terms of capital and congestion.
    • Each day 40,000 passengers change over at the railway station. The proposal document entirely ignores the station
    • The bypass/doubling capacity may be a success – but what about the traffic in the small corridors, ie in the city? This will worsen.
    • Traffic lights suck, and there are critical missing links in the cycling routes
    • The city council bus proposals are excellent. The current largest obstacle to the bus system is congestion on the golden mile.
    • The wishlist: smart cards, real-time tracking, same ticket transfer between rail and bus
    • The airport is currently a taxi-fest. No wonder – the bus is only every 30 minutes, the shelter is exposed and the timetable non-existent

    Brett, showing video “Wellington Light Rail Now”

    • The spine of the rail system is broken – this break is the station
    • One light rail car has the capacity of 5 (but 11 was quoted later on?) buses, and uses significantly less energy
    • Light rail encourages development along the growth spine
    • Would be done in stages.
    • Stage 1. Johnsonville linked to Courtenay, ~$40 million
    • Stage 2. Courtenay to Hospital, + a tunnel under the basin reserve $80 million + Lower Hutt extension
    • Stage 3. Hospital to Airport, ~$200 million – using a 800m Mt Albert tunnel under airport, using the existing tunnel (widened for pedestrians and cycles continued use)
    • Overall the cost of all these stages adds up to roughly the same as additional arterial roads.


    • From a survey: 73% of wellington willing to change lifestyle for the environments benefit
    • What about guided buses? Well they are proprietary systems, so we are tied to ongoing royalties and manufactures whims. Also there must be a direct rail link, and the guided systems are very problematic, as shown by case studies
    • Why stop LRT at the airport? Extending to Mirimar is probably not viable, but LRT makes bus services much more flexible (having eliminated the golden mile as a required bus route)
    • Who writes the 2nd report? Well its written in September/October, but the writers don’t matter – it is infact purely reporting on the decisions made by the committee.