Wellington Transport Announcements: The Big Picture Looks Promising, But The Details Are Murky

Save the Basin Campaign spokesperson Tim Jones today congratulated the Let’s Get Wellington Moving project partners on the positive aspects of today’s Wellington transport announcement, but said that many questions remained about the detailed plans for the Basin Reserve and the Basin Reserve precinct.

“Overall,” said Mr Jones, “there is a lot to like about this morning’s announcement. We applaud the change of emphasis from the motorway madness of the past to a future that is better for the climate and better for people. Better walking, cycling, public transport and mass transit, plus transport demand management, are all welcome parts of the plan.”

“But as usual,” said Mr Jones, “the devil is in the detail. And when it comes to the detailed documents released today by the transport planners behind LGWM, the picture starts to look less promising.”

Save the Basin was one of the groups that help to defeat the previous Basin Reserve flyover proposal. At the announcement today, politicians admitted that the previous flyover plan had been a mistake. “That’s great to hear,” said Mr Jones, “but the problem is that the detailed documents released today include a picture that looks a whole lot like ‘Flyover 2.0’.” (1)

“Clearly there has been a mind-shift among many political leaders over the future of Wellington transport,” said Mr Jones. “But we’re not so sure that the New Zealand Transport Agency has deviated from its desire to build a Basin Reserve flyover. The pictures chosen for these documents tell a story that’s at odds with the bold and welcome statements made at today’s launch. Likewise, we have many questions about the announced plans for a second Mt Victoria tunnel.”

“Save the Basin remains committed to safeguarding the future of the Basin Reserve as a unique and defining environmental and heritage feature of Wellington, and to working towards a future Wellington transport system that moves away from dependence on private motor vehicles and helps to make the urgent greenhouse gas emissions reduction that both the Government and Wellington City Council agree to be necessary. We will be analysing these documents carefully and considering our response as the process moves forward,” Mr Jones concluded.

(1) See October 2018 Recommended Programme of Investment, https://getwellymoving.co.nz/assets/Documents/The-Plan/6575-LGWM-Recommended-Programme-RPI-v6.pdf, p. 2

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Save the Basin Campaign Inc. Position Statement 2019

Board of Inquiry findings must be respected and followed

  • We believe that the findings of both the Board of Inquiry into the Basin Bridge Proposal Decision in August 2014 and the High Court Appeal Decision against the Report and Decision of the Board of Inquiry into the Basin Bridge in August 2015 must be respected and adhered to.

The Basin Reserve must be preserved and protected

  • Any transport proposals around the Basin Reserve must take into account the significance of the Basin Reserve. This does not just mean the piece of land bounded by a fence. The Basin Reserve is an Historic Area registered by the Heritage New Zealand. It is a unique environmental and heritage feature, which helps define Wellington and plays an important role in collective memory and current and future recreational activities.
  • The amenities of the world-famous, historic cricket ground and community space must be protected.
  • The Reserve status of the Basin Reserve must be respected and protected.

The Basin Reserve Precinct must be preserved and protected

  • The setting of the Basin Reserve – the area surrounding it – is essential to its significance and meaning. It has a considerable number of historic heritage places of significance at a National and / or Regional level. These include The Basin Reserve, Canal Reserve, Government House, Kent and Cambridge Terrace, Home of Compassion Crèche, the National War Memorial Park, the former national museum building (now Massey University), the Police Barracks and Mount Victoria Character Area.

Transport 

  • STBC was formed to preserve and protect the historic character of the Basin Reserve area and promote high quality urban design and environmental management in it, as it was threatened by the proximity, noise and pollution of a proposed flyover which would be dedicated to vehicular traffic.
  • STBC continue to work toward these objectives by advocating for reducing vehicular traffic around the Ground.
  • While STBC’s focus is on the Basin Reserve, we generally support priority being given to public transport and improving cycle and pedestrian movement as these encourage active transport and a move away from dependence on private motor vehicles.
  • Traditional vehicular transport in western urban centres is on the point of undergoing a radical change, not least due to the need to urgently reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport. Building more ‘traditional’ roads in this rapidly changing environment is not prudent.
  • STBC believes actions such as transport demand management and light rail should be implemented and their performance measured before increased road capacity or a second Mt Victoria tunnel is built. 

Second Mt Victoria road tunnel

  • A second road tunnel will significantly increase traffic, including heavy traffic, and will therefore also increase traffic around the Basin Reserve.
  • Southern Mt Victoria is an integral part of the Basin Reserve precinct. The social, heritage and environmental qualities of the area must not be adversely affected.
  • The area includes some 4,000 children attending schools in the Precinct, and residents of southern Mt Victoria. Adverse effects would include increased noise, vibration and pollution from increased number of vehicles, particularly heavy vehicles.
  • The Mt Victoria Character Area of the southern end of Mt Victoria, including properties such as Ettrick Cottage, William Waring Taylor’s 1869 house and other Victorian and Edwardian residences, must be protected.

Therefore, the Save the Basin Campaign Inc. opposes the development of a second Mt Victoria road tunnel.

Here’s the Save the Basin Campaign Inc. Position Statement 2019 as a downloadable PDF.

 

Zero fossil fuel powered vehicles in Wellington City by 2040: Councillor Roger Blakeley’s presentation to the 2018 Save the Basin Campaign AGM

(Note: The view expressed in this presentation are Councillor Blakeley’s personal and professional views, not those of Greater Wellington Regional Council)

by Tim Jones

Another year has gone by, and we still don’t know what will be in the Let’s Get Wellington Moving Recommended Programme of Investment – in other words, the Ngauranga to Airport transport plan that we’ve been awaiting for the last three years.

It often seems as though the whole thing will end up as a messy political compromise. But what if the guiding principles were such things as:

  • making Wellington liveable
  • making Wellington fair, safe and healthy
  • making Wellington beautiful, vibrant and culturally rich?

And what if, in place of Let’s Get Welly Moving’s continued refusal to treat the climate change impact of its plans as a key or even important factor, a central goal of their work was to ensure zero greenhouse gas emissions from Wellington transport by 2040?

Does that sound like a pipe dream? It isn’t. Because Councillor Roger Blakeley, with input from a number of people with community expertise in Wellington transport, has come up with a plan to do all that and more. And he presented it to the 2018 Save the Basin Campaign Annual General Meeting:

Essentials of a 21st Century Transport Strategy

We encourage you to read it. We encourage you to think about it. And we encourage you to support it – or, if you wish, suggest further improvements.Roger-Blakeley-circle2

It’s great to see one of our elected representatives engaging in detail with the work that needs to be done to make Wellington a city fit for its residents – and fit for the future. Thanks, Roger!

 

Save the Basin Campaign Inc. 2018 AGM, Thursday 22 November: “Essentials of a 21st Century Transport Strategy” and Panel Discussion

The Save the Basin Campaign Inc. 2018 AGM will be held as follows:

When: Thursday 22 November, 5.45pm

Where: Mezzanine Room, Central Library, 65 Victoria Street

ProgrammeAGM at 5.45pm followed at approx 6.15pm by guest speaker Councillor Roger Blakeley, and a panel discussion featuring Cllr Blakeley and Save the Basin Campaign Inc. co-convenors Jo Newman and Tim Jones.

All are welcome to attend the AGM, listen to the speaker, and participate in the panel discussion. However, only people who are formal members of the Save the Basin Campaign Inc. will be able to participate in the business of the AGM.

About our speaker

Following the conclusion of the formal AGM, Dr Roger Blakeley will be our guest speaker. Dr Blakeley is a Councillor in the Greater Wellington Regional Council and Member, Capital and Coast District Health Board. He is a former Chief Executive of the Ministry for the Environment (1986 to 1995), and has held many other significant roles in central and local government. He has a deep knowledge of and interest in transport issues.

Cllr Blakeley’s topic will be “Essentials of a 21st Century Transport Strategy”, and following his presentation, there’ll be a panel consisting of Cllr Blakeley and Save the Basin Campaign Inc. co-convenors Jo Newman and Tim Jones. We expect to finish the formal business of the AGM by 6.15pm, and then have approximately 20 minutes each for Roger’s presentation and the panel that follows – so we’ll finish around 7pm.

About the panel discussion

The panel discussion following Cllr Blakeley’s presentation will feature Cllr Blakeley together with current Save the Basin Campaign Inc. co-convenors Jo Newman and Tim Jones.

There are some questions Cllr Blakeley may not be able to respond to due to his elected roles. However, individually or collectively, the panel should be able to address a wide range of Wellington transport topics, ranging from broad issues of transport strategy, to current and forthcoming Wellington transport developments, to current and planned future developments at the Basin Reserve.

Tim Jones
Co-Convenor
Save the Basin Campaign Inc.

Save the Basin Campaign: Basin Reserve Confusion And Mixed Transport Messages Weaken Welcome Light Rail News

The Save the Basin Campaign has welcomed elements of the “Let’s Get Wellington Moving” Wellington transport plans revealed last night, especially the news that light rail is to be included as a priority element of those plans.

But Save the Basin, which was one of the groups that helped defeat the 2011 Basin Reserve flyover proposal, has criticised the continued uncertainty over the future of the Basin Reserve area, and the mixed messages contained in the leaked plans.

Save the Basin Campaign spokesperson Tim Jones said “If the Dominion Post report is accurate, there are some good things in these plans. Save the Basin supports the development of a high quality, sustainable Wellington transport network, and getting on with implementing a light rail spine using an appropriate route would be a major contribution to this. So that’s great news.”

“Yet many other things in these plans aren’t so great,” Mr Jones continued. “First of all, Save the Basin has consistently supported at-grade roading changes at the Basin – that is, changes at the current street levels. But these latest plans appear to include grade separation, which means some roads going over or under others. The Dominion Post article talks in very vague terms about tunnels near the Basin, but detail is completely lacking. Save the Basin is absolutely opposed to a Basin Reserve bridge or flyover, and we cannot support any grade separation plan for the Basin that doesn’t explicitly rule out such bridges or flyovers.”

“It’s great to see that cycling would get a boost in these plans,” Mr Jones said. “But, as a group that supports walkability, we are disappointed that walking appears to have been treated, yet again, as the unwanted guest at the party.”

“But the worst thing about these proposals,” Mr Jones commented, “is that they continue to entrench the dominance of roading, by proposing to spend billions more dollars on State Highway 1. Despite the Government’s stated commitment to evidence-based decision making, this proposal appears to ignore the immense body of evidence that says that building more road capacity merely ends up putting more cars on the roads.”

“One of Let’s Get Wellington Moving’s stated objectives was to reduce Wellingtonians’ dependence on private vehicle travel,” said Mr Jones. “Where is the evidence that these proposals pay any more than lip-service to this objective? Where is any attempt to make the sharp reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that the city and the nation have already committed themselves to make?”

ENDS

Tim Jones
Spokesperson
Save the Basin Campaign Inc.

 

Let’s Get Wellington Moving: a case study of the failure to apply adequate cost-benefit analysis that includes climate change and other health costs

Guest post by Liz Springford

This case study from Liz’s Productivity Commission Low Emissions Economy submission is a powerful critique of LGWM’s failure to apply adequate cost-benefit analysis that includes climate change and other health costs.

Case study: Let’s Get Wellington Moving

The recent “Let’s Get Wellington Moving” (or not) joint project between NZTA, GWRC and WCC is a case study of the failure to apply adequate cost-benefit analysis that includes climate change and other health costs.

In 2016, WCC agreed on a Low Carbon Plan 2016-2018 with city-wide targets for reduced emissions by 10% by 2020, 40% by 2030, and 80% by 2050. When Wellington’s emissions were last measured a few years ago, these had dropped less than 2% from baseline. The Plan acknowledges that more than half of Wellington’s emissions are from transport. GWRC has a Climate Strategy to reduce regional emissions, although no specific targets.

Although both Councils’ plan and strategy need updating to match NZ’s new net zero trajectory by 2050, Wellington’s emissions reductions targets were not included in the Let’s Get Wellington Moving consultation. Instead, a vague “Clean and Green” principle to “improve environmental outcomes for Wellington city and the region” was amongst a dozen principles – in response to the first wave of public consultation.

Four scenarios were presented for public consultation late last year. This was basically, one scenario in four sizes: Small, Medium, Large, and Extra-Large – ranging from “a little more active and public transport provision plus a little more roading”, to “a lot of active and public transport provision plus a lot of roading”. The capacity of improved active and public transport to decongest existing roading provision was ignored. Likewise, induced increases in private fossil fuelled vehicles by increasing roading provision were also ignored.

Climate impact analysis was limited to noting under the “Clean and Green” principle that for each sized scenario there will be “No significant change to greenhouse gas emission at a regional level”. Construction costs of each scenario were detailed for the public, but not the running costs – that is, the impact on Wellington’s transport emissions contributing to the ongoing operational costs over the lifetime of the infrastructure.

Another wave of public consultation appears to have sent a strong climate-protecting message. However, this case study indicates the urgency in introducing accurate up-to-date shadow pricing across the state sector and influencing local government to follow suit. Delay risks wasting taxes and rates, plus inheriting high-emissions white elephant infrastructure that limits our capacity to move towards net zero NZ fast enough.

Taking The Wheel: The Government Makes More Moves To Rebalance Transport

As Wellington waits for an announcement in its transport future, the Government is continuing to make moves to reshape transport in New Zealand away from over-reliance on the private car and towards a balanced system that gives as many people as possible options for getting off the roads:

While we wait to see whether the Government’s new, balanced approach will succeed in cutting Wellington’s motorway-building cabal off at the pass, why not find out how another seaside city, Vancouver, has succeeded in making its transport system work for people, not the other way around?

Transportation 2040: Vancouver’s Blueprint for Sustainable Transport, with lessons for Wellington: Wednesday 4 July, 6:30-7:30pm

Date, Time and Venue

Wednesday 4 July6:30-7:30pm
Sustainability Trust2 Forresters Lane, Te Aro (off Tory St)
Who: Hosted by Congestion-Free Wellington

What’s This About?

Wellington is facing major transport and land-use choices as we decide on the Let’s Get Wellington Moving process. Will we choose a compact, low-carbon city supported by world-class public transport, walking and cycling? Or will we choose tunnels, flyovers and sprawl?

How have other cities made progress? Learn more in this public presentation from Dale Bracewell, Vancouver’s transport manager. 

Transportation 2040 is Vancouver’s high-level vision for all modes of transport, with specific mobility and safety goals. Vancouver achieved its interim target of 50 percent of all daily trips by sustainable modes, and is on track to achieve two-thirds of all daily trips by walking, cycling and public transport in 2040.

The presentation will include learnings from Dale’s experiences applied to Wellington.

Facebook Event and Further Information

Facebook event – please share:
https://www.facebook.com/events/453349428446867/

Links
http://vancouver.ca/streets-transportation/transportation-2040.aspx
https://nacto.org/person/dale-bracewell/

Image: https://nacto.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/2017-Dale-Headshotprint-res-e1506697321280-200×185.jpg

Tired Motorway Sales Pitch Falls Flat, Says Save The Basin Campaign

The leaked transport proposals for Wellington read like a sales pitch gone badly wrong, said Save the Basin Campaign spokesperson Tim Jones.

“The tired, dated ‘four lanes to the planes’ concept is well past its sell-by date,” said Mr Jones. “A Government that’s focused on making climate change, public health and transport choices that work for everyone just isn’t going to hand over the billions of dollars required for new motorways.”

“When it comes to the Basin Reserve, all we have yet again are rumours and suggestions,” Mr Jones continued. “Until Save the Basin is presented with clear, detailed design proposals, we cannot and will not endorse any proposal that is not at the same grade as current roading, or that may threaten the Basin Reserve,” Mr Jones said.

“We need a transport system that works for everyone’s future in a changing climate,” said Mr Jones. “That means major investment in better walking and cycling, with a light rail route running through the CBD, continuing to Newtown and the hospital, and going out to Miramar and the airport. Light rail is the most efficient way to move people who don’t need to use the roads, and that helps free up the roads for those who do need them – including people on buses.”

Press Release: Save the Basin Campaign Congratulates Wellington City Council

A artist’s impression of what the Sussex Street side of the Museum Stand could look like after refurbishment, including a new entrance for the NZ Cricket Museum.

Save the Basin Campaign applauds Wellington City Council’s proposal to save the historic Basin Reserve Museum Stand.

“Not only are they keeping it, earthquake-strengthening it and restoring its unique heritage features, they are creating a greatly enhanced facility”, says STBC co-convenor Joanna Newman.  

“If this plan is approved by Council, the Museum Stand will be better for spectators, provide many more facilities, and make the world-renowned NZ Cricket Museum easier to access both on match days and non-match days.”

The Basin Reserve is one of the world’s best cricket grounds, but it’s not just about cricket. From junior rugby on Saturday mornings, to functions in the RA Vance stand, to a quiet place to sit and have lunch, the ground is used day and night, and all year round.

With assistance from the Basin Reserve Trust, Wellington City Council has come up with a proposal that is affordable, responsible and forward-looking. Renovating and improving the Museum Stand ticks all the boxes.

By restoring and giving the Museum Stand new life, the Council is recognising the special place this Heritage New Zealand registered site has in the hearts of Wellingtonians and people around the country. 

“We can continue to be proud of this unique community and cricket venue and of its custodianship by our City”, says Joanna.

Further reading

Restoring it, not bowling it