Extend rail route

Another good letter published in the DomPost about public transport.

The finding that congestion in Wellington exceeds Los Angeles highlights the failure of transport planners to undertake long-term strategic passenger transport planning, in particular to tackle the inevitable need to extend our efficient rail network across the city.

*NZTA are trying to paint themselves as people that want to consider all options and reachout and consult all residents – when really, they just got their Basin Flyover project rejected – again – and are hurting. But in the end, they have so much money, they’ll do whatever they want.

The spine study showed, unsurprisingly, that achieving this goal via the Golden Mile would be extremely difficult. But instead of then re-examining other routes they chose the cop-out option of a Band-aid (BRT) bus rapid transit proposal. BRT fails to remove mode-transfer at the station, imposes additional transfer disincentives at Newtown and Kilbirnie, is over capacity almost immediately, and foolishly tries to run all across town commuters down the most narrow congested pedestrian streets in the city.

BRT is just another shot at something bling – engineers, bus builders and operators will benefit but the experiment will fail. Ratepayers will pick up the tab.

The obvious across-town rail route is the quays, using two of the six traffic lanes and corridor width at Queens wharf and Civic Square for stations. Wakefield St has the width to link the quays to Kent Tce, with a station incorporated into the proposed conference centre. The final destination would be the airport via a dual road/rail tunnel through Mt Victoria.

Further, the project can be opened in stages as sections of it are completed.

Let us hope the governance group can actually do their job by modelling options such as this for the public and central politicians to consider.

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