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Four transport solutions proposed for suburbs

News release
14 June 2006

Four transport solutions proposed for Wellington’s northern suburbs

Four transport solutions have been proposed for Wellington’s northern suburbs in Stage 2 of the North Wellington Public Transport Study, now out for public comment.

The solutions include

- Enhanced rail, utilising new or refurbished carriages.

- Improved bus services, with walking and cycling, to replace the current rail service.

- Converting the Johnsonville line into a guided busway.

- Running new light rail vehicles on an extended Johnsonville line through to Courtenay Place.

Under all scenarios, existing bus services will be improved as funding allows. Improvements will also be made to the public transport hub in Johnsonville.

“If you live in Wellington’s northern suburbs you will be affected by future public transport developments. Now’s the time to consider what kind of public transport you want,” says Wellington City Mayor Kerry Prendergast. “We would like people to consider each of these scenarios with an open mind and decide which of them best meets their transport needs. Wellington is a creative, innovative city, and the four scenarios include some innovative transport solutions, as well as tried and true solutions.”

Wellington City Council and Greater Wellington Regional Council are jointly undertaking the study which will guide future investment in public transport within Wellington City’s northern suburbs. The study area covers Churton Park and Grenada Village to the north, Woodridge and Newlands to the east, Johnsonville in the west and follows the Johnsonville rail line to the CBD as far as Kaiwharawhara, including Ngaio, Khandallah and Crofton Downs. It excludes Tawa which is served by a different transport corridor.

The findings of the study will be incorporated into the Regional Land Transport Strategy, along with other regional transport studies, including the parallel Ngauranga-Airport Strategic Transport Study. Public transport planning needs to support urban development along a “growth spine” extending from Johnsonville through to the airport, as outlined in the City Council’s draft transport and urban development strategies.

500 submissions on the North Wellington Public Transport Study were received in the first consultation phase that began in November last year. The overall theme raised by submitters was the need for a sufficiently frequent, reliable public transport system with convenient routes. The top five issues were frequency of buses, the reliability of bus and train services, the route of the service, the need for new trains, and the rundown state of trains.

Wellington City Council Principal Transport Advisor Greg Campbell says the information received from the first phase of consultation has been used to help generate the four scenarios. “We’ve taken the feedback onboard and developed four practical scenarios. Around $70 million is budgeted to fund public transport in the northern suburbs over the next ten years.”

The four scenarios are:

- Enhanced rail: replacing existing carriages with new or refurbished units to improve the service between Johnsonville and the Wellington Railway Station

- On-street bus with walking and cycling: replacing the current rail service with new buses running on existing streets, extending to Courtenay Place. The rail line could be converted into a walking or cycling track.

- Busway: converting the Johnsonville line into a guided busway, extending services to Courtenay Place. It would be one-way, operating in the peak direction only with return buses using the roads.

- Light rail: running new light rail vehicles on an extended Johnsonville line through to Courtenay Place.

The costs range from about 80% of the budgeted funding (for the on-street bus scenario) to about 140% (for light rail).

“All of the scenarios have their pros and cons and some of the scenarios are likely to be favoured more by residents in some parts of the study area than others. Motorists are also affected by some scenarios which may bring added congestion to existing roads,” says Mr Campbell.

A brochure outlining the scenarios will be widely distributed in the northern suburbs and the full report is available from the libraries in the study area and the Central Library or from www.gw.govt.nz/northernsuburbs. All feedback must be received by 12 July.

To help people find out more about the scenarios, there will be an open day at the Johnsonville Community Centre on Wednesday 21 June from 3.30pm-7pm with displays and project team members for people to talk to. Presentations will also be held at the community centre at 4pm and 7.30pm.

Greater Wellington Regional Council Passenger Transport Chair Glen Evans says that all comments will be used to help identify a preferred scenario. “The preferred scenario must be consistent with objectives in the Wellington Regional Land Transport Strategy. The public will again be asked for their views on this crucial decision for the long-term future of Wellington.”


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