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What is Let's Get Wellington Moving all about?

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

It’s about working with the people of Wellington to support their aspirations for how our city looks, feels and functions while making it easier and safer for people to get around. It’s also about making sure people can get to regional services and facilities, including the hospital, port, and airport.

What geographical area does this programme cover?

Our focus is the area from Ngauranga Gorge through to the airport, encompassing the central city and CBD, the Wellington Urban Motorway, Wellington Hospital and connections to the eastern and southern suburbs.

Is this programme important if I don’t live in Wellington city?

Yes. The central city has the region’s highest concentration of jobs. Many people who live outside Wellington city travel to, from, and through the central city for work, leisure, to shop and to get to the airport or hospital. What happens in the central city has an impact on people and communities throughout the region. Wherever you live in the region, we’re interested in your needs.

Why is it taking so long to get to a plan we can start building?

Developing and agreeing an integrated plan for the city’s transport system is complex. The decisions we make now will shape the city and its transport network for decades to come. To get those decisions right we need to take time to explore and consider the options carefully. That includes gathering information and data, listening to the public and stakeholders, and selecting the most appropriate solutions.

When will we see improvements happen?

Once we get feedback on the four scenarios, we will develop a preferred approach and an implementation plan. The larger components of that preferred approach will need to go through design, funding, and consenting processes before they can be built. This could take a number of years. Smaller changes could happen more quickly, within a year or so.

How were the scenarios developed?

We used the programme objectives and the 12 principles to develop a strategic response that can deliver a transport system that moves more people, goods and services reliably without more vehicles. All four scenarios have a strong focus on prioritising walking, public transport and cycling. The scenarios build on each other, starting with a basic package, adding in more changes that unlock more opportunities from one scenario to the next. While some of the great ideas we have received from previous public engagement do not appear in the current illustrative scenarios, a number will be used in developing detailed options within the preferred scenario as the project progresses.

Why isn’t there more detail about what the different solutions would look like?

Before we begin detailed investigation and design of specific solutions at particular locations we need to agree on a broad approach. That’s why we’re holding this engagement. In our next round of work we will develop an implementation plan for the preferred approach. This will include more information on costs, timing, and a pathway for design and construction. We will then move to investigation and design stages which will include more detail on particular proposals. We will engage with the public again as the programme develops.

THE WIDER CONTEXT

How does this work fit with what we’ve already agreed we want for Wellington City in the future?

The vision for the city is set out in several documents that have been developed with help and feedback from Wellingtonians. Wellington Towards 2040: Smart Capital is a broad description of the city we are aiming to create with four main goals - to be a people-centred city, connected city, eco-city and to have a dynamic central city. The Urban Growth Plan and Wellington City’s 10-year plan show how the 2040 vision will be translated into action. Improvements to the way the city looks, feels and functions and the way transport supports this are critical to achieving this vision, so this project, and community involvement with it, are key to the city's future.

How does this work fit with other transport projects in the region?

There’s already a lot happening in and around Wellington to improve the transport system. This includes:

- New cycleways on Cobham Drive, Hutt Road, and in other locations.

- Bus improvements including a new bus network that provides better access, higher frequencies, new larger buses and a better ticketing system.

- Rail improvements including more regular services on the Kapiti and Hutt lines, and more park and ride at Waterloo and Porirua.

- Improvements to State Highway 1 north of Wellington city, including Transmission Gully motorway, and a new four-lane expressway from Peka Peka to Ōtaki.

- Planning is underway on the Petone-to-Grenada link road between SH1 and SH2.

The improvements being considered as part of the LGWM programme will take account of, and build on, these other transport projects.

How does this work fit with Our City Tomorrow?

Our City Tomorrow is a city-wide initiative, facilitated by Wellington City Council, looking at the key drivers of change in the Wellington CBD - population growth, sea level rise and climate change, and earthquake risk - and what these will mean for the way people experience and use the central city. Our City Tomorrow will help inform the transport decisions that need to be made as part of the LGWM programme. A separate community engagement is currently underway on Our City Tomorrow.

Are the city bus network improvements still happening next year?

Yes, improvements to the city’s bus network will be introduced next year. This will involve a new, simpler bus network design to better meet people’s needs 7-days-a-week. More people will have access to high- frequency bus routes, more regular off-peak services, and more weekend services. Services will be more reliable, with less bus congestion along the Golden Mile. New contracts will mean more punctual services, more low-emissions buses (32 fully-electric buses over three years) and new high-capacity buses on some routes. However, we need to plan for further public transport improvements, such as mass transit (which could include light rail), to support and attract more people to use public transport in future.

URBAN FORM, AMENITY, AND THE ENVIRONMENT

How will the scenarios enhance the city’s urban form, amenity and the environment?

The LGWM scenarios have been developed to support good urban form and a more liveable city. Transport infrastructure is a key factor in determining urban form. Transport systems influence where people choose to live, work and shop, the character of neighbourhoods and urban areas, and how people move around.

Liveability is made up of many factors that contribute to our community’s quality of life including aspects of the built and natural environment such as street amenity, trees and green space, public open space, noise, air quality, and access to recreation and leisure opportunities.

The scenarios contribute to enhancing the built and natural environment by significantly improving public transport, walking and cycling, and reducing vehicle traffic in the central city. This will mean a safer and more pleasant street environment in the core CBD, with less traffic noise and less air pollution. The scenarios also provide opportunities for improved street layout, more trees and public spaces, urban renewal and revitalisation in Te Aro, and better pedestrian connections to the harbour and waterfront.

Why don’t the scenarios have much impact on greenhouse emissions?

As a first priority, the scenarios focus on significantly improving public transport, walking and cycling in the central city. This would encourage a shift in how people travel, a key factor in supporting a reduction in the city’s transport-related greenhouse emissions.

However, the changes we make in the Ngauranga-to-Airport corridor are a relatively small part of the overall regional network which is seeing a growing demand in trips, so the overall impact is minor. New ways of charging for the use of roads together with the uptake of new vehicle technologies, such as electric vehicles, will potentially have a larger impact on how people travel and on transport-related greenhouse gas emissions in future.

Emissions reduction (both greenhouse gas and local air quality) will continue to be an important part of our assessment as we progress to more detailed investigation and design.

Isn’t LGWM just about building new roads and increasing the space for cars and vehicles?

No. Our work has shown we can’t solve Wellington’s transport problems by just building more roads. At the centre of the scenarios is the need to move more people without more traffic. Our first priority is to make it easier for more people to take public transport, to walk and to bike around the city. Most of the changes proposed to roads are to make public transport journeys work more efficiently and to remove conflicts between people and vehicles. We have also considered the needs of those who rely on an efficient and reliable road network for the trips they make (eg freight, tradespeople, emergency vehicles), or who need to be able to drive to important regional facilities, such as the hospital.

COSTS AND FUNDING

How much would the proposed changes cost?

We have estimated costs for each of the four scenarios. Scenario A is the cheapest. As the scenarios build on each other and include more and bigger changes, the cost increases. Scenario D is the most expensive.

Estimated costs:

Scenario A: $150m - $200m

Scenario B: $700m - $900m-

Scenario C: $1.5b - $1.8b-

Scenario D: $1.9b - $2.3b-

- Estimated costs include enhanced bus mass transit infrastructure for Scenarios B, C, and D. Light rail infrastructure would add a further $350m - $500m to B, C, and D and increase construction time by about 18 months.

More information on the estimated costs for the main works in each scenario is included in the Strategic Assessment of Scenarios report on the LGWM website. At this stage, costs are high-level estimates only.

More detailed cost estimates will be developed as options are narrowed down and detailed designs are developed.

How will any package of changes be paid for?

The NZ Transport Agency along with the Greater Wellington Regional Council and the Wellington City Council are responsible for funding transport for Wellington. The way costs are split is complex, but generally most of the money for state highways comes from the National Land Transport Fund, which is mainly funded from fuel excise and road user charges. Funding for local roads and public transport comes from both the National Land Transport Fund and the councils.

Will my rates go up?

Local roads and public transport are partially funded by city and regional councils. At this stage of the LGWM programme of work, no decisions have been made about how and who would pay for what improvements, so it is not possible to determine the impact on rates. However, all scenarios involve extra investment on the local road network and public transport, so some impact on rates is likely.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT FARES

Wouldn’t it be cheaper to reduce public transport fares and encourage more people to use the train/bus rather than spend all this money on infrastructure?

Affordability of public transport is just one factor influencing people’s travel choices. Other factors include issues such as congestion, reliability, proximity to a trip’s origin and destination etc.

Improvements are needed to make public transport much more convenient and attractive in order to encourage more people to use it. Reducing fares alone without addressing these other issues is likely to have limited impact.

MASS TRANSIT AND LIGHT RAIL

What is mass transit?

Mass transit is a high capacity, high quality form of public transport, usually separated from other traffic. It could be light rail transit (LRT), new generation electric buses, or another form of mass transit.

What are you planning for mass transit in the future?

Scenarios B, C, and D provide for mass transit along the public transport spine corridor from the

Wellington railway station to Newtown and to Kilbirnie/airport. The type of mass transit is still to be decided, but could include light rail, a bus-based mass transit system or some other new technology.

Current growth rates for the city suggest the point at which demand would justify mass transit is about ten years away. In the short term, we need to improve the quality and reliability of buses on the preferred route. This means separating buses from other traffic and giving them priority.

Has a decision been made about light rail?

No. Light rail is one option for providing mass transit. Scenarios B, C, and D provide for mass transit along the public transport spine corridor from the Wellington railway station to Newtown and to Kilbirnie/airport. The type of mass transit is still to be decided, but could include light rail, a bus-based mass transit system, or some other new technology.

When will a decision be made about mass transit/light rail?

If the preferred scenario includes mass transit, the implementation plan will describe when critical decisions about the design and construction of mass transit need to be made.

THE BASIN RESERVE

What is being planned at the Basin?

The Basin Reserve is a unique feature of Wellington and presents a transport challenge. With the current road layout, the Basin creates a bottleneck because of conflicts between transport flows. There are issues with travel to and from the airport, the eastern and southern suburbs, and the hospital.

A proposal to build a bridge alongside the Basin Reserve was rejected by a Board of Inquiry in 2014.

There are a range of other options that could be used to address the challenges at the Basin, and our scenarios include different approaches.

In Scenario A, the existing road layout at the Basin would be improved without any bridges or tunnels being built. In scenarios B, C, and D, changes would involve tunnels and/or bridges to separate conflicting transport movements, enabling much better public transport, and future mass transit.

Is the Basin flyover/ Basin Bridge still on the cards?

Let’s Get Wellington Moving has ruled out the previous Basin Bridge proposal which was rejected by the Board of Inquiry in 2014. There are a range of other options that can be used to address the challenges at the Basin. Three of the four scenarios we are now engaging on would involve tunnels and/or bridges to separate conflicting transport movements, enabling much better public transport, and future mass transit.

ON-STREET PARKING

Will these scenarios impact on on-street parking around Wellington?

Yes. As more people move around the city we need to make decisions about how we best use our roads. We’re going to need more of our road space for walking, cycling and public transport. To allow for this, it’s likely on-street parking on some streets and/or at certain times of the day will need to be removed.

There are a number of ways on-street parking loss could be addressed. In some areas, nearby streets have spare parking capacity to absorb the shortfall from removing spaces. In other areas, parking may need to be removed during the morning or afternoon peaks. In other areas still, more short-stay spaces could be provided in commercial car parks.

Before we make any decisions about removing on-street parks, we need to develop proposals for particular areas to make the best use of road space while ensuring access to shops and other businesses.

At this stage of the programme we’re not able to develop proposals to the appropriate level of detail.

Once a preferred scenario is agreed, we will start this work.

PROPERTY ISSUES

What is the impact of these scenarios on properties?

We have described four high-level scenarios. At this stage of the programme we cannot say for certain which properties, if any, would be affected. We will use the feedback from the public to help us develop a preferred scenario.

Once a preferred scenario has been agreed, detailed investigation, design, and consultation work will help us to understand how much land may be needed and what impacts there may be on private properties.

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