Media Release: Clear Flaws in Let’s Get Welly Moving’s Scenario Assessment Process

The Save the Basin Campaign has welcomed the public release of Let’s Get Welly Moving’s long list of scenarios for the future of Wellington transport.

But spokesperson Tim Jones is concerned that some vital questions appear to have been ignored during the assessment process.

“First of all,” Tim Jones said, “Let’s Get Welly Moving didn’t release these scenarios until they were forced to by an Official Information Act request. If NZTA, Greater Wellington and Wellington City Council genuinely want informed public debate, they should have released these scenarios and workshop notes as soon as possible after the workshops in November 2016, not waited until June 2017 to do so.”

“Second, from the material released, it looks like some vital questions have not been asked during the assessment process. No consideration appears to have been given to either climate change or other public health issues, such as the excess deaths caused by pollution, especially from diesel engines.

“Both the Government and the local authorities have commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – why hasn’t the need to meet these commitments been put front and centre when developing and assessing these scenarios?” Tim Jones asked.

In terms of the Basin Reserve, Tim Jones said “We’re pleased that none of the scenarios appear to show a Basin Reserve flyover. But there is far too little detail shown in the material that’s publicly released to be sure what’s planned for the Basin. We need to see detailed proposals.”

In conclusion, Tim Jones said “The Basin Bridge Board of Inquiry made it very clear that assessment of alternative transport options needs to be thorough, transparent and replicable. We’re not sure that Let’s Get Welly Moving’s scenario development and assessment process has met those criteria, and we’ll be watching their next steps very closely.”

Tim Jones
Spokesperson
Save the Basin Campaign Inc

Taking A Stand: Transport, Motorways, the Basin Reserve, and the Future of the Museum Stand

Interior of the Museum Stand, Basin Reserve. Photo by David Batchelor.

Last Thursday’s inaugural Congestion Free Wellington Public Meeting was a great success. Between 70 and 80 people attended, there was very strong support for the concept of the Congestion Free Wellington Declaration (albeit with some tweaks still needed to the wording), and there was a lot of enthusiasm and commitment for the community to seize this rare opportunity to wrench Wellington’s transport destiny into our hands, rather than have it left in the hands of the motorway-builders.

Save the Basin is one of the groups that’s set up Congestion Free Wellington, and we’ll keep you up to date on that. But it’s not the only issue we’re focused on. The future of the Basin Reserve’s historic Museum Stand is due to be decided this year. Even though the Council has not yet released any options – or costings – the Mayor has gone on record as saying he supports the demolition of the stand.

But does he realise what he would be demolishing? David Batchelor of Historic Places Wellington does realise, because he has been inside the stand and photographed some of its forgotten treasures. Head on over to Wellington Scoop to see just what treasures would be lost if the Mayor gets his way.

Save the Basin thinks that the Museum Stand deserves to be preserved and enhanced. At the very least, we want the best possible option for its retention developed and considered fairly and in detail against alternative proposals – without the Mayor, or anyone else, trying to predetermine the outcome.

Public Meeting for a Congestion Free Wellington: Thursday 25 May, 6pm, Wellington Central Library

  • What: Public Meeting for a Congestion Free Wellington
  • When: Thursday 25 May, 6-7.30pm
  • Where: Mezzanine Meeting Room, Wellington Central Library

The “Let’s Get Welly Moving” official process was supposed to deliver modern, sustainable transport options for Wellington. But it increasingly looks like a smokescreen for “four lanes to the planes”.

This public meeting will help us fight back against motorway madness and in favour of a liveable capital city that puts people first. It’s been called by a coalition of local groups concerned about the future of Wellington’s transport system, including Save the Basin.

Come along, invite your friends, and let’s make sure the outcome of this process is a liveable capital city with great public transport, streets, walking and cycling.

Let’s Get Welly Moving’s Engagement Process: A Smooth Surface, But Lots Of Paddling Beneath

The Let’s Get Welly Moving (LGWM) public engagement process has gone through another of its seemingly endless permutations, with a series of workshops and meetings during March and April giving participants the chance to state their priorities in areas including public transport improvements, state highway improvements, encouraging active transport (walking and cycling) and transport demand management.

But while the public face of LGWM is this slowly unfolding public consultation process, there’s a whole lot more going on behind the scenes. Some officials, politicians and lobbyists are pushing strongly for state highway “improvements” to soak up the lion’s share of the funding available for Wellington transport.

If that happens, then consequences could include building duplicate Mt Victoria and Terrace tunnels, four-laning State Highway 1 as it passes through the city, or undergrounding at least part of State Highway 1’s route through the CBD.

And what about the Basin Reserve itself? Well, after the comprehensive and epic defeat of the New Zealand Transport Agency’s Basin Reserve flyover proposal, LGWM is still talking about the possibility of … a Basin Reserve flyover! Maybe a smaller flyover, maybe a flyover with nicer decorations and a better colour scheme, but a flyover nevertheless.

To be fair, we have no evidence yet that LGWM has settled on a Basin Reserve flyover as its preferred option for that part of the transport system. LGWM’s High and Medium state highway improvement options include grade separation at the Basin Reserve. That could be achieved by a flyover, a tunnel, or a cut-and-cover option. But it’s very clear that a flyover is still on the table as a potential option.

Which raises the question: does the Transport Agency still think, as its own internal report on its failure at the Board of Inquiry suggested, that the main problem with the flyover was that they didn’t sell the idea well enough? Because if they think that was the biggest problem with their proposal, then they really need to go back and read the Board of Inquiry findings on why a Basin Reserve flyover was such a terrible idea.

When Let’s Get Welly Moving started out, it was supposed to be a chance for a rethink, a chance for the three constituent bodies – NZTA, Wellington City Council and Greater Wellington – to move away from the outmoded transport approach that more motorways meant less congestion and a better transport system, when the evidence both New Zealand and worldwide clearly shows the opposite.

More roads means more congestion, a worse transport system, a less liveable city and yet more greenhouse gas emissions at a time when the Government, the City Council and Greater Wellington have all made commitments to reduce such emissions.

So it’s depressing, if not surprising, to hear that the road-builders are making the play once again – even though one of the key objectives of the project is to reduce dependence on private vehicle travel.

The only thing that will save the day and ensure that the central city is not ruined by still more roads is public pressure. If you think that coming up with good solutions for Wellington transport should involve:

  • taking meaningful action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • becoming less, not more, dependent on the private motor vehicle
  • improving public and individual health through encouraging activity and reducing harmful particulate emissions
  • making Wellington a more liveable city
  • preserving and enhancing public spaces such as the Basin Reserve
  • making Wellington better and safer for pedestrians and cyclists
  • moving towards setting up a modern, efficient light rail system along with a bus system that meets users’ needs
  • concentrating on managing travel demand
  • and avoiding burning massive amounts of public money at concrete shrines to the car

then it’s time to speak up. Tell your local and regional councillors that you don’t want the car-dependent future that the road-building and heavy haulage lobbies are trying to foist on you. Make that message very clear to your MPs and local election candidates at the forthcoming election. Don’t vote for candidates who want to focus transport spending on motorway building.

Engagement is great – so long as that engagement is meaningful. Officials may want the pond to stay unruffled, but the time has come to start making waves.

Same Old, Same Old: The Draft Government Policy Statement On Land Transport

The Government Policy Statement (GPS) on Land Transport is the context in which all Government land transport policy is developed – and ever since the current National-led Government came to power, successive Government Policy Statements have been heavily focused on roading, despite the clear evidence that building more roads does not solve congestion.

Unfortunately, the latest draft Government Policy Statement on Land Transport shows no sign of changing this.

Its strategic priorities are unchanged from the 2015 GPS (p. 8):

The three strategic priorities, continued from GPS 2015 are:

  •  economic growth and productivity
  •  road safety
  •  value for money.

Strikingly missing from these strategic priorities is the environmental performance of our land transport system. Perhaps that’s because it’s already bad and rapidly getting worse: whether in regard to the serious local health effects of particulate emissions from transport, the effect of motorway-building on urban environments, or the urgent need to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport.

The New Zealand Government has ratified the Paris Agreement, taking on a commitment for a substantial reduction in New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions. Land transport is responsible for around 20% of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions, and the volume of transport emissions has been rising steadily. Land transport is second only to agriculture as a greenhouse gas emitting sector.

The Government is relying mainly on a move to electric vehicles to reduce transport emissions. However, the composition and replacement rate of the New Zealand vehicle fleet both mean that, even if such a change were to occur, it would not occur either fully or quickly enough to produce the level of emissions reduction required.

Therefore, one of the aims of the Government Policy Statement should be to drive a rapid reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from transport. This can be achieved by prioritising the use of public transport and of active modes and the provision of the necessary infrastructure, and by deemphasising the provision of infrastructure for private motor vehicles, which will in turn encourage more journeys by what is currently a highly polluting motor vehicle fleet.

Based on this draft Government Policy Statement, the ratification of the Paris Agreement is not being reflected in actual Government policy.

How to submit

Submissions on the draft Government Policy Statement close at 5pm on Friday 31 March 2017. Details of how to download the draft Strategy, and make submissions, can be found on the Government draft GPS page at

http://www.transport.govt.nz/ourwork/keystrategiesandplans/gpsonlandtransportfunding/

The Covers Are About To Come Off New Wellington Transport Plans

Ever since late 2015, the Let’s Get Welly Moving project set up by NZTA, Wellington City Council and Greater Wellington (Wellington Regional Council) has been working away behind the scenes to take a fresh look at Wellington’s transport, access and mobility needs in the wake of the defeat of NZTA’s proposed Basin Reserve flyover.

As part of their announced commitment to openness, LGWM ran extensive public engagement in early 2016. Since then, however, and despite the recent release of their progress report (PDF, 2MB), it’s all gone a bit quiet.

But at long last the covers are about to come off LGWM’s thinking. Have they been planning for a sustainable, multi-modal transport system, with an emphasis on walking, cycling, and modern, environmentally friendly public transport – or will it be all about “more lanes to the planes” – or will they try to please everyone?

And what do they have in mind around and near the Basin? Will the future of the Basin Reserve be safeguarded, or will it once again be put at risk?

We’ll start to find out at two LGWM workshops later in March – but attendance at these workshops has been strictly controlled, and that raises its own set of questions.

Save the Basin looked at these issues in a Dominion Post OpEd that appeared on Wednesday 8 March:

On the same day, Michael Barnett of FIT Wellington drew attention to NZTA’s motorway-oriented mission mindset, and the regressive impact this was having on attempts to develop a sustainable transport system for Wellington:

Meanwhile, in the courts…

We hear a lot about “four lanes to the planes”, but what if the planes don’t come? Wellington Airport has been pushing its runway extension plans hard, but their economic analysis amounts to “build it and they will come”. That may have worked for Kevin Costner in the movies, but it rarely works in the real world.

And in any case, the runway extension project continues to run into delays and legal troubles. Here’s the latest from opposition group Guardians of the Bays:

At this point, the future of the project, and whether the planned resource consent hearing in the Environment Court will even go ahead, is unknown. Maybe there are better things to spend the transport dollar on than building motorways to an airport that can’t get its act together?

If the project did go ahead, it would lead to years of additional heavy truck movements – up to 60 truck movements per hour, thirty out and thirty back – around the Basin Reserve. Save the Basin thinks that’s a very bad idea, and we’ll be drawing attention to the implications of that during the Environment Court hearing on the project, if the hearing does ever go ahead.

 

 

 

Capital Workers Ditching Cars, Says Dominion Post – 2017 Will Show Whether Transport Planners Are Up With The Play

Active modes, 1935 style

Active modes, 1935 style, at the Basin Reserve

The lead story in last Saturday’s Dominion Post was unequivocal: “Capital Workers Ditching Cars”, it said.

Stuff, the online equivalent, had a considerably less dramatic headline for the same story:

Wellingtonians among Australasia’s keenest public transport users but still keen to improve: http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/national/88145611/Wellingtonians-among-Australasias-keenest-public-transport-users-but-still-keen-to-improve

But the message is much the same.

That’s good news at the start of a year in which important decisions are likely to be made about the future of transport in Wellington. The NZTA/WCC/Greater Wellington Let’s Get Welly Moving project is running half-day workshops in February which will represent the first opportunity for the public to get to grips with LGWM’s transport thinking for Wellington in the wake of the defeat of the proposed Basin Reserve flyover.

Will LGWM’s transport thinking reflect recent developments in transport, mobility and access? Will it allow for a rapidly changing transport environment in which the need to:

  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport
  • increase resilience to climate change and natural disasters, and
  • account for improvements in light rail, growing demand for walking and cycling infrastructure, the rise of electric vehicles and vehicle sharing, and the prospect of autonomous vehicles

makes traditional “predict and provide” road planning increasingly outdated?

February should start to tell that story. Let’s hope it’s a good one, and if it isn’t, let’s be prepared to work to make it better.

Let’s Get Welly Moving Reveals Its Transport Objectives For Wellington

The long-running “Let’s Get Welly Moving” process that was set up after NZTA failed to get approval for its proposed Basin Reserve flyover is beginning to produce some results – and that means that supporters of sustainable transport options need to get involved to ensure a good outcome.

First, here’s how you can do that:

Let’s Get Wellington Moving have announced they plan to run some half-day workshops with the public in February to help them test and evaluate the draft ’scenarios’ they’ve been working on for Wellington transport – which will be the first sign we get of the next round of proposals for transport near the Basin Reserve.

LGWM say that they will select participants who represent a “balanced sample of interests”. But to give ourselves of the best chance of a good outcome, as many Save the Basin supporters as possible should sign up and say they want to attend.

To sign up, you need to complete a short (5-minute) survey, here: https://diagram.typeform.com/to/r46azO

But Let’s Get Welly Moving has also been making presentations to the City and Regional Councils – and we’ve learned that they have adopted the following five objectives for Wellington’s transport system:

A transport system that:

  1. Enhances the liveability of the central city
  2. Provides more efficient and reliable access for all users
  3. Reduces reliance on private vehicle travel
  4. Improves safety for all users
  5. Is adaptable to disruptions and future uncertainty

We understand that the City and Regional Councils have signed up to these objectives, which you can find in this public document:

http://www.gw.govt.nz/assets/council-reports/Report_PDFs/2016.516.pdf

and there’s more detail, including a useful summary graphic, in this Appendix:

http://www.gw.govt.nz/assets/council-reports/Report_PDFs/2016.516a1.pdf

These objectives look encouraging. Two of our key arguments against a Basin Reserve flyover were that it reduced the liveability of the central city and increased reliance on private vehicle travel, so the first and third objectives would make it very difficult for a flyover proposal to be put back on the table as an outcome of the Let’s Get Welly Moving process.

More generally, these look like good transport objectives for Wellington to follow – though the second objective could conceivably still be used by the four-lanes-to-the-planes crowd to argue for more roading, so they’re not an automatic win.

But – and it’s a big but – there are still substantial pockets of political opposition to those objectives, and to the third objective in particular.

That’s why we need to make sure that there’s a strong voice at the February workshops in favour of a more liveable city and reduced reliance on private vehicle travel. Sign up now to make sure sustainable transport voices are heard loud and clear!

Co-Convenor’s Report to the 2016 Save the Basin Campaign Inc. AGM

The Save the Basin AGM was held last night, and my Co-Convenor’s report was adopted. I’m publishing it here as my summary of where things currently stand on the Basin and related issues – Tim Jones

UPDATE: NOTE FROM FRIENDS OF THE BASIN: Members of Save the Basin, Mt Cook Mobilised, Mt Victoria’s Residents Association, Newtown Residents Association, and other interested people have met to coordinate activities and share information about the development of the Basin Reserve Cricket Ground, and to work toward influencing decisions to create greater community use of the grounds and to protect its heritage. If you are interested in further information, or want to participate in this group, please contact alana.bowman@mac.com.

The Past Year

My Co-Convenor’s Reports to the 2014 and 2015 AGMs were both dominated by news of court cases – good news! In 2014, I was able to report that NZTA’s plan to build a Basin Reserve flyover had been defeated at the Basin Bridge Board of Inquiry. In 2015, I reported that NZTA’s appeal of that decision had been defeated at the High Court. In both cases, Save the Basin Inc. was one of the groups that played a big part in getting the right decision.

As I said in 2015, this was a major victory for the four groups that appeared to oppose NZTA’s appeal: The Architectural Centre, Mt Victoria Historical Society, and Mount Victoria Residents Association and Save the Basin Campaign Inc. – and a most welcome vindication for the Board of Inquiry’s patient, thorough and decisive analysis and decision.

Another year on, there is no big legal battle to report on, since NZTA chose not to pursue their vision of a flyover all the way to the Supreme Court – but while the issue has had a lower profile over the past year, plenty’s being going on behind the scenes.

In the wake of the High Court decision, two new official processes were set up: Let’s Get Welly Moving and the Basin Reserve Redevelopment Project. Let’s Get Welly Moving is a joint project between NZTA, Wellington City Council and Greater Wellington to reconsider transport options and projects around Wellington – not just at the Basin, and not even just along State Highway 1. And the Basin Reserve Redevelopment Project is Wellington City Council’s project to revamp the Basin itself, both as a cricket and as a recreation ground. The decision on the future of the Museum Stand is separate from but related to this project.

Save the Basin has met with senior staff from both projects, multiple times in the case of Let’s Get Welly Moving. Unfortunately, both projects have been bedevilled by staff turnover in key positions, including the original Project Directors of each project taking up other positions and having to be replaced. This has slowed the momentum of each project, and we are concerned that, so far, there appears to have been little communication between the two projects or their personnel.

Let’s Get Welly Moving has been carrying out extensive public engagement, and conducting research to inform its decision-making. It’s also been developing a suite of transport modelling tools designed to better capture the reality of a modern multi-modal transport system. Its original schedule has been pushed out a little, and it is now meant to come up with a range of scenarios for Wellington transport – not limited to the Basin, and not limited only to building infrastructure – by around March 2017. At this stage, with alternative options going on the table, I expect the Basin debate will sharpen once again, and Save the Basin’s voice may need to be strongly heard.

The Basin Reserve Redevelopment Project has also held public consultations, which Save the Basin contributed to, and the Council’s decision on the fate of the Museum Stand is expected in 2017.

The 2016 local body elections

Had the outcome been different, the 2016 local body elections could have partially or completely derailed the processes discussed above. Of the three leading Mayoral candidates, both Nick Leggett and Jo Coughlan wanted “four lanes to the planes”. Nick Leggett was an unrepentant supporter of building a Basin Reserve flyover, while Jo Coughlan proposed to short-circuit the LGWM process entirely by grabbing hold of a supposed billion dollars’ worth of Government funding and making a decision about the future of the Basin by Christmas 2016.

Neither prevailed. Justin Lester, who won convincingly, was a consistent opponent of a Basin Reserve flyover while he served as Celia Wade-Brown’s Deputy Mayor, and he now leads a Council which, in my opinion, has moved slightly further away from the views of the cars-above-all-else lobby. Similarly, while we were disappointed to lose such strong advocates of sustainable transport from the Regional Council as Paul Bruce and Nigel Wilson, and it was a disappointment that supportive candidates such as Russell Tregonning did not make it onto that Council, the signs are cautiously positive for more modern, sustainable, and forward-thinking transport policy in the Wellington region – though much still depends on the Government’s attitude.

The transport portfolios as the City Council have gone to Chris Calvi-Freeman and Sarah Free, while Paul Swain will no longer be leading the transport portfolio for the Regional Council. I’m hopeful that these changes will mean a greater openness to the notion that transport in a modern capital city is about more than moving more cars more quickly.

One other issue on which Save the Basin has submitted is the proposed extension of Wellington Airport’s runway, which is currently the subject of a resource consent application. As a group, our primary concern here is construction traffic. The airport company has asked for consent to run 23-metre long heavy trucks day and night, from 9.30am-2.30pm and 10pm-6am, along State Highway 1 for 3-4 years (and possibly up to 10 years) to transport up to 1.5 million cubic metres of fill between Horokiwi and Kiwi Point quarries and the airport. The planned route goes around the Basin Reserve and through the Mt Victoria tunnel – and the airport company is projecting up to 620 of those heavy truck movements a day, at a frequency of up to one heavy truck movement per minute. We consider this would have a serious impact on residents along the route, on the safety and comfort of other road users and pedestrians, on the transport network, and on the environs of the Basin Reserve.

Conclusion and thanks

While 2016 has been a relatively quiet year in comparison to the previous two, that may well not be the case in 2017. Therefore, it’s important for Save the Basin to remain active, both to advocate for the future of the Basin Reserve as a cricket and recreation ground and public facility, and to maintain our standing in terms of future decision-making processes, and any legal processes that may arise from those. I’d like to thank Treasurer Ross Teppett and committee members Kate Zwartz, Judith Graykowski, Alana Bowman and Pauline Swann for their hard work and support, and to all our supporters who have stuck with us and continue to work for a better future both for the Basin Reserve, and for Wellington’s transport system.

Tim Jones
Co-Convenor
Save the Basin Campaign Incorporated

Updated: Wellington Mayoral Candidates State Their Views On The Basin Reserve

The Survey

Save the Basin asked Regional Council, Wellington City Council and Wellington Mayoral candidates three questions about the future of the Basin Reserve, whether they support a Basin Reserve flyover, and how they think Wellington should deal with the additional traffic forecast to enter the city from the north due to the Government’s motorway projects.

We have already published responses from:

Today, here are the views of Wellington Mayoral candidates. (Note: Nicola Young is also a Lambton Ward candidate for Wellington City Council, so her answers should be read in the context of what other candidates for that Ward say.)

Thanks to every candidate who responded – we appreciate you have a lot on your plates and lots of groups asking you to fill in questionnaires!

UPDATE: Mayoral candidate Jo Coughlan sent in a late response, and this has now been included and reflected in the comments below.

The Questions

  1. What in your view should be the future of the Basin Reserve cricket ground?
  2. Do you rule out supporting the building of a flyover at or next to the Basin Reserve? If you won’t rule it out, under what circumstances would you support a Basin Reserve flyover?
  3. The scheduled completion of the Kapiti Expressway followed by Transmission Gully are forecast to flood Wellington with additional motorway-induced traffic from the north, including rush-hour commuter traffic. What measures do you propose to prevent this additional traffic degrading the liveability of inner-city Wellington and putting further pressure on Wellington’s transport system?

Who Gave The Best Responses?

Justin Lester’s response reaffirms his previous strong opposition to a Basin Reserve flyover, as does Helen Ritchie, who also demonstrates that she has been thinking in detail about improving the sustainability of Wellington Transport. Both Justin and Helene have been on record for some time about their opposition to a Basin Reserve flyover.

Jo Coughlan’s response has a number of positive elements, including her support for the Basin and her recognition of the rapidly changing nature of transport and transport behaviour.

However, there are two major points of concern with what she proposes: firstly, she praises Let’s Get Welly Moving but then proposes a “fast-track” approach that would render LGWM largely irrelevant – which is exactly the type of “decide now, consult later” approach that helped to sink the Basin Reserve flyover proposal. LGWM is due to report in early 2017 – why attempt to override that process?

Secondly, while her recognition of changing transport behaviour is encouraging, it isn’t reflected in a rethink of her “four lanes to the planes” slogan, which is a prime example of the outdated and discredited cars-first model of transport planning.

Keith Johnson’s response is an attempt to find a balance between the two main positions on Wellington transport – “more roads” vs “more sustainable transport” – though we would question whether these two positions are equally valid in an era of rapid climate change.

Nicola Young is very supportive of the Basin, and inclined against a flyover, but not totally prepared to rule it out. Her proposed transport solutions are still very car-centric, however.

Johnny Overton says some good things about transport, and rules out a flyover, but as he wants the Basin Reserve redeveloped to prioritise solving transport issues, these points may be moot.

What About Mayoral Candidates Who Didn’t Respond?

Andy Foster and Nick Leggett did not respond to the survey.

Of these, Nick Leggett’s position is the clearest: at the Mayoral candidates’ meeting on 13 September, he stated that he was and remained a proud supporter of a Basin Reserve flyover. So, do not vote for Nick Leggett if you oppose a Basin Reserve flyover.

Andy Foster had a similar position on a flyover to Jo Coughlan, saying “I don’t think a flyover will be there”.

Conclusion

On the specific issues of a Basin Reserve flyover and the future of the Basin Reserve, Justin Lester is the best of the leading Mayoral candidates. All other candidates except Nick Leggett have at least some positive positions. Keith Johnson’s and Helene Ritchie’s answers demonstrate that they are thinking closely about transport solutions for Wellington. Jo Coughlan has moved some way in her thinking, but her desire to short-circuit existing processes and push through “four lanes to the planes” is a major concern.

As mentioned earlier, though, the candidates’ positions on a wide range of issues – not just the Basin – deserve to be examined.

The Answers In Detail

Jo Coughlan

  1. I think the Basin could be better linked to the City and would like to see it utilised even more often than it is.
  2. I think the horse has bolted on the flyover and it’s unlikely to come back as an option now.I am keen to see a creative and pragmatic solution to congestion problems at the Basin Reserve.The City, Regional Council and the New Zealand Transport Authority are doing great work on ‘Let’s Get Wellington Moving’ to consider an integrated citywide network.But as part of this exercise we need to find a way forward urgently on the Basin Reserve.  The solution needs to be one that the people of Wellington, the cricket community and local residents are happy with.I don’t have fixed views on what the solution might be but a creative city needs a creative solution. We must get on and future proof Wellington’s roads for the next 100 years of growth. Electric cars and buses need roads too.

    There are already some interesting concepts out there including another tunnel alongside the Basin. I am sure there are other great ideas out there too.  This is the kind of vision we need.

    Post election my Capital City Infrastructure Advisory Group will be addressing key infrastructure projects for Wellington including roading around the Basin Reserve and we will work closely with central government to ensure Wellington receives its share of national funding for these projects.

    I do think that we can find a solution that will deliver benefits to public and private transport and which will enhance the experience for pedestrians and cyclists.  Right now the Basin is an island surrounded by heavily trafficked roads.  I would like to see the solution link the Basin more directly with the city and Memorial Park on one side and with the three schools and Government House on the other.

    The key thing is we crack on and do not delay any longer.

  3. As a city we are going to be faced with two major transitions. One is demographic. This includes more people, more of them will be living in city centre and the population as a whole is aging. The second change – and the really exciting one – is that the nature of transport is going to evolve, and probably evolve quite quickly.We’re already on the cusp of autonomous cars, and the impacts of climate change mean that we’re going to likely electrify much of the fleet, including buses and the freight sector. So the mix of vehicles on the roads could change quite radically – we may own fewer cars but use them more often for brief trips. Thanks to autonomous vehicles we may be able to fit far more of them in a given road space. They may well be much quieter than current cars, and some of the things we do with vehicles at the moment – like small high-value deliveries – may transition to other technologies, such as drones. And in an increasingly health-conscious world, many more people may opt for active modes like walking and cycling. Biking to work could be far more attractive if there’s far less exhaust pollution and safer roads.We are moving fast to an electric fleet of cars, and I want to accelerate this trend by ensuring we have the best infrastructure for these vehicles. (I’ve recently announced a target of 75% of the council fleet to be electric by 2020). I commend NZ Bus for their plans to transition to a fully electric bus fleet – this is exactly the sort of solution Wellington needs, and everyone agrees we need those noisy and polluting diesel buses off our roads. I will work with the Regional Council wherever possible to help ensure that our bus fleet is 100% electric within 10 years. The environmental impacts will be significant and positive.Buses are facing the same congestion as cars, and our road system is not as safe as it should be for cyclists and pedestrians. So I want to ensure Wellington has a first-rate transport network that relieves congestion on key corridors for both bus and vehicle users, and which safely separates cyclists and pedestrians wherever possible. The reality is that our topography makes this challenging from a practical point of view. We need to be pragmatic about the solutionsIt’s apparent that we need plenty of flexibility in our transport network. My transport plans are designed to give us the adaptability in our key transport corridors that we’re going to need to thrive. We have physical constraints in Wellington, and our geography dictates many of our transport solutions – so we need to plan accordingly.

    As a city and a nation, we’re big enough and capable enough to move forward in multiple areas at the same time. So I’d like to see the double tunnelling of Mt Victoria, The Terrace and four lanes to the planes at the same time as I want improvements to the cricket ground at the Basin Reserve, at the same time that I want to push forward with the harbour cycleway as a step in a joined-up cycling network across the city, as well as integrated ticketing on our public transport. All these things can be done in parallel, and I’m hopeful that – with some close collaboration with central government – we can get funding for a pretty big part of it.

    One of the keys will be stepping away from unhelpful political labels and rigid ideologies. Yes, I’m in favour of more roads – of the right types, in the right places. Yes, I’m in favour of more cycleways – of the right types, in the right places. Yes, I’m in favour of being able to take the train and the bus from Johnsonville to the hospital using a single ticket. Yes, I want to improve our urban design with appropriate and thoughtful projects. Yes, I want to see more people on foot and on bikes, heading to school and work.

    So our challenge as a Council – and one which I will fully embrace as Mayor – will be to work collaboratively on the full range of transport solutions our city needs, so that Wellington continues to grow and thrive.

    I will work closely with Central Government to ensure Wellington receives its share of national funding for these projects.

Keith Johnson

  1. I expect it to continue in its current role but I have not ruled out the longer-term possibility of lifting it 2+ storeys and using the footprint to solve roading problems, provide a right  of way for a rapid transit line, and create parking for both Basin Reserve functions and park-and-ride options
  2. No, I don’t support a flyover – not under any circumstances. What’s done is done.
  3. Traffic is a manifestation of a wider demand for accessibility and mobility and its existence and growth is directly related to land-use choices. Frankly, we also really need a region-wide accord on planned decentralization – one that gives Porirua and Hutt City – Petone much enhanced roles – I would try to persuade Central Wellingtonians of the eventual virtues of this approach.
    I am also very sceptical about the hoopla surrounding the continued enhancement and gilding of the CBD with wish-list / vanity projects and have been interested to observe that many Berliners have recently voted against the ‘suffocation’ that is developing from over-rapid, over-intensive development.

Keith also sent these additional thoughts proposing a Transport Accord:

ON TRANSPORT IN THE CBD

What then is needed is a negotiated Transport Accord that provides for trade-offs over a 25 year or longer horizon to gain a Win-Win outcome.

As a prelude to the negotiation of The Accord, I would commission a study from highly reputable environmental-land use-transport consultants, with the tender being awarded by open competition. The commission would include widespread consultation with affected parties and interest groups.

A possible sketch of an Accord outcome:

B get, say, the completion of an inner city dual-carriageway that gets traffic motorway traffic out of Vivian Street, the completion of State Highway 1 from the Terrace Tunnel the Airport up to Roads of National Significance status [including Mt Vic tunnels] and a solution to the Basin Reserve Problem that delivers grade separation and a right-of-way for a rapid transit system.

A get, say, more or less everything else that they want, including the calming of traffic in the CBD, rapid transit facilities and the partial pedestrianization of Lambton Quay and Courtney Place.

As for the Basin Reserve Cricket Ground, the solution may lie in a multi-purpose development that lifts the playing and spectator surfaces by one or more storeys. Remember we are talking 25 – 50 years to completion.

With respect to rapid / mass transit, I have suggested a bus-based ‘Swiss Solution’ for the medium term:

http://kjohnsonnz.blogspot.co.nz/2010/10/clock-ticks-on-swiss-solution-to.html

I would also like to put in place serious advance planning for a light rail rapid transit spine. My preferred route at this stage is largely that proposed by Dr Roger Blakeley which would run from the railway Station into Taranaki Street and thence to Kilbirnie under the Mt Victoria hillside behind Wellington Zoo. I would like to see the line go underground before the Karo Street – Taranaki Street junction and continue underground across Mt Cook and Newtown and thence to Kilbirnie.

If I am elected Mayor in October, I will make the negotiation of a Transport Accord my Top Priority.

Justin Lester

  1. I’m a big cricket fan. The Basin Reserve is and should remain one of the world’s best cricket grounds and a key part of Wellington’s heritage. I will work with the Basin Reserve Trust to upgrade the Basin and improve its facilities to ensure its future as a test cricket ground.
  2. Yes, I’ve ruled it out and I didn’t support the last proposal. My preference is a cut-and-cover tunnel like we see at the Arras Tunnel.
  3. With the changes taking place at Kapiti and Transmission Gully we will see larger numbers of cars coming into Wellington. We need to address some of the congestion points on the state highway network and focus car traffic on the state highway network and away from Wellington CBD. My strong preference over time is to reduce the amount of traffic along the Quays so we can better connect the CBD to the waterfront.
    I will have a strong focus on public transport to help reduce the number of cars coming into the city. My priorities will be to work with Greater Wellington Regional Council to freeze public transport fares for the next three years, introduce student concession fares and provide more park and ride facilities outside of the CBD. I will continue to support better walking and cycling routes because 21% of Wellington commuters currently walk (17%) or bike (4%) to work and I think we can improve this further. 

Johnny Overton

  1. Sorry people, but I’m in favour of redeveloping the Basin Reserve in a way that would alleviate the current traffic bottleneck in this area. I’m more of a big picture person, so I’ll leave how this could be done to the experts.
  2. Yes, I rule out a flyover.
  3. Ideally our getting around woes could be alleviated by constructing a well planned, integrated, mixed modal transportation network, & an alternative north/south route. This process would take time & be costly, so our immediate focus should be on getting on with the job of removing the bottlenecks that currently exist. The Basin Reserve is one of these problematic areas, which is why I’m against the planned upgrade. Improving commuter train service & incentives to use them would be useful. Reducing the need to commute in the first place, should also be a priority. This could be achieved by developing more localised workplace, learning & recreational environments.

Helene Ritchie

  1. Council has put aside $20m for an upgrade. I insisted on a reserve management plan being done first….and would drive that to happen as mayor. I would like to see far greater use of the Reserve…as a public amenity..it is poorly and infrequently used at present.
  2. Yes, I rule out a flyover
  3. No one solution or easy solution.Mass transit-public transport:
  • Light rail (Government funded) -3 times the capacity, half the cost, available before any “four lanes to the planes” are completed…or may be even started….
  • Increased Commuter ferries as part of our transport network
  • Shared cars
  • Shared taxis especially at peak times from the Airport (Eastern suburbs)
  • Maybe another lane will fit around the Basin Reserve
  • Park and Ride at key access points into the CBD. (long overdue)….
  • A secondary school in Karori  on the Teachers College site
  • Safe cycling and walking
  • Urban design and planning around nodes…for compact accessible living in the suburbs and in the CBD
  • Await Let’s Get Welly moving outcomes.
  • I would love to see Jervois Quay tunnelled and green cover…with a plaza –but that will never happen!

Nicola Young

  1. The Basin Reserve cricket ground is Wellington’s village green, and needs to be used more widely by the community – not just for cricket.  Council has included the Basin Reserve masterplan in the Long Term Plan, which includes a $21million upgrade over the next 10 years.
  2. I’m very aware of local concerns about the impact of both congestion, and the look, feel and efficacy of the solutions, but I can’t rule out anything that’s unknown, although I’m certainly not a flyover fan. It all depends on the complete package; the aesthetics of any proposal must be taken into account.
  3. Half the central city traffic is just trying to get to the other side of the city, so we need to improve State Highway 1 by cut-and-covering Vivian Street, just like the Arras Tunnel. This would remove intersections, making SHI faster and, therefore, more attractive for cross-city traffic, leaving the central city for its vehicles that need to be there (and local residents). This would also improve the liveability of the central city (NZ’s fastest growing residential area).