In what seems like a record fast time for Public Consultation, Greater Wellington Regional Council and Transit have turned out results from the public consultation round. As Transit’s “Phase 2 Consultation Report” notes, there was a total of 4673 submissions, including 3750 Option 3 “Green Alliance” postcards and 482 Chamber of Commerce postcards received, and a mere 71 actual written submissions from various bodies and organisations.
It is gratifying to note that the Eye of the Fish’s comments were also noted on their “Media Article Log” page, with all three of our postings listed, along with other bloggers including Poneke, Wellurban, the Greens, and http://libertyscott.blogspot.com/ (and of course the old-style mainstream media of Dom Post and Capital Times etc). It would be nice to think that we (readers and writers alike) can have a positive outcome on the possible future of our city. We’re not sure how the study will balance the clearly massive media push from Option 3 with their highly successful postcard mail in re the Ngauranga to Airport study, vs the more carefully considered deliberations from other organisations (such as that published online by the Architecture Centre), and as wide ranging as the Heavy Haulage Association, Pukerua Bay Artist Collective, the Disability Reference Group, and (i kid you not) Dial A Nerd.
Someone clearly has a task ahead of them! Or have they? Is the next phase going to be a considered appraisal of the submissions, or perhaps just a week-long response period to the GWRC’s “Draft Plan“. It seems from the GWRC’s press release that the committees of WCC, GWRC, and Transit are to consider the Draft Plan in a week, then recommend it to the Regional Land Transport Committee, “followed by public consultation.” Yes, that does seem like unbelievably fast haste for local and central government to move at, but the moves are mostly quite good, in the short term at least:
Planned changes, to be implemented within the next 10 years, include:
– More bus lanes, signal pre-emption and real time information along the Golden Mile….
– Bus priority measures on all arterial routes….
– New and substantially improved walking and cycling routes throughout the area….
– Adding two more lanes, at peak times, to the motorway between Ngauranga Gorge and Aotea Quay
– Reallocating existing lanes on the Hutt Road for bus lanes and possibly high occupancy vehicles
– A graded traffic separation of north-south and east-west traffic flows at the Cambridge Terrace end of Basin Reserve
– Detailed feasibility studies to look more closely at duplicating Mt Victoria and The Terrace tunnels.
It is noticeable that the immediate future (the next ten years) doesn’t yet include more tunnels (just a closer look at the feasibility), but nor does it really look at light rail as an option, just merely notes that beyond ten years it could “Investigate improvements to the passenger transport spine giving consideration to further bus improvements, light rail or new personal rapid transport systems.” So, despite the vast majority of submitters requesting that the study look “without delay” at Light Rail (remember those 3750 Option 3 postcards?), the Draft Plan at least looks like putting that on the back burner. To us here at Eye of the Fish, that’s just not a good enough attitude.
Although probably a corollary of Transit’s involvement – despite their Vision of “a transport system that builds a better New Zealand“, they have a blinkered “roads only” outlook that is not necessarily in tune with Wellingtonians. While the draft plan notes that Transit will be looking at extra tunnels through Mt Vic and under the Terrace, it’s down to the Wellington City Council to look at Bus improvements, Light Rail, or those pesky Pod people. But this is only a Draft Plan. GWRC and WCC still have a week in which to ensure that the wishes of the people are included here, and that the WCC does take a serious and immediate hard look at Light Rail.
It’s too important to be left up to the likes of the inept roading boffins at Transit, the people who bought you the disorganised chaos that is the Inner City Bypass. Despite being a fairly obvious dismal failure for most Wellingtonians, while arguably being a mild success for inward-bound Upper/Lower Huttians, the Inner City Bypass has chopped apart both the pedestrian and local (Brooklyn/Aro) vehicle flows with the sheer stupidity of the ground level intersections at Willis St and Karo Drive. Cities are too important to be left to Roading Engineers to design.