Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Transport bosses admit motorways don't solve congestion--but build them anyway

I have today ( 12 May 2016) had myletter to the 'Wellingtonian' printed (see below) In addition to the motorway building mentioned in the letter, NZTA is planning to spend billions more on its 'tunnel-to-tunnel' Roads of National Significance motorway build through the town belt. This route will be well away from Newtown, a major centre of population and the site of Wellington Hospital and the zoo.

I believe these new roads should not be built. They are the wrong choice going on the wrong route--last century's solution. And even the transport bosses admit they will not solve congestion. Instead,  modern, all-electric, high-capacity and frequently running light rail linking the railway station with the hospital and airport should be planned for now: just like cities in Australia , Europe , North America and elsewhere are doing. This is the mass public transport option most suitable for Wellington's cramped CBD and beyond. Buses just won't do it on the spine--not enough capacity required to facilitate the major mode shift required from harmful private car dominance with its emissions, pollution, encouragement of physical inactivity and crashes--all major health threats.  High frequency smaller electric buses feeding the central rail spine will complete an urban renewal plan for Wellington--fit for the 21st century.

Image of LRT in Wellington with kind permission of Brent Efford

My letter follows--

Dear Editor, 

 Paul Swain, Wellington Regional Council’s transport leader announces that Wellington is about to get its biggest ever transport programme –estimated at $2.5 billion on highways over the next 6 years ( Wellingtonian 28 April). But on RNZ ( 9 September, 2015) in discussing congestion charging, he stated “ You can’t motorway your way out of problems”. Also, NZ Transport Agency’s Southern regional boss, Jim Harland ( youtube, May 2016) states “ We can’t just assume that motorways, even with more lanes, will solve congestion”. What they both agree on is the place of public transport.

Am I missing something here? We tax-payers get to pay eye-wateringly large sums on motorways, which even the transport bosses say won’t solve congestion, but they say public transport will.

So it’s obvious. The money should go on more linked buses and trains. This should  include high-capacity light rail to the airport in Wellington city which would then be easily affordable. Let’s stop banging our head on the brick wall of so-called Roads of National Significance: they need to be stopped right now.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, while it's clear to me that roads don't solve congestion -- have you got any quotable sources for that? So we have something to challenge, say, mayoral candidates with. Ta