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Bypass Stage 3 vs. light rail?


Media release


10th December 2007


Bypass Stage 3 vs. light rail?


The Ngauranga to Airport Corridor study just released by the Wellington City Council, Greater Wellington Regional Council and Transit New Zealand gives Wellingtonians the chance to choose between ‘Stage 3’ of the Inner City Bypass or light rail and other improvements in public transport,” said Green Wellington City Councillor Iona Pannett.

Transport planners have successfully delivered traffic to both congestion points on the Bypass route as anti-Bypass campaigners predicted, but the critical problem remains – the choke points of both tunnels at The Terrace and Mt Victoria,” said Cr Pannett.

“The solution is not however to facilitate more vehicular movements through to the Eastern suburbs and the city, but to provide more public transport.  Given the combined price tag of the projects, it is difficult to see how we can afford all the initiatives outlined in the study, we will need to make a choice,” said Cr Pannett.  “Relieving the choke points at The Terrace and Mt Victoria tunnels will cost $250m alone, compared to $140m for light rail for instance. 

Increasing road capacity will increase our emissions and congestion, rather than reduce both problems.  Building more roads to relieve traffic congestion represents the worst in 1960s thinking.  With growing awareness of the need to take action on climate change, we need to look at new solutions to old problems,” said Cr Pannett.

The modelling which underpins the ‘more roading’ scenario needs to be closely examined by the public.  It is argued that emissions will not climb with more roading put in place.  This is highly questionable as many assumptions have not been included such as not taking into account induced traffic.

More surprisingly, the study does not consider the impact of higher oil prices on people’s transport choices.  It is assumed that traffic will continue to grow; however, this is looking increasingly unlikely as oil prices continue to climb.  “We need to ensure that we have an excellent public transport system in place to ensure people have good choices when prices really start to bite,” said Councillor Pannett. 

79% of Wellingtonians have said that they are prepared to take personal action on climate change.  We need to listen to them and take serious action on climate change,” said Cr Pannett.

Councillor Pannett is encouraging Wellingtonians to have their say on this important consultation.  People can find out further information about the study at http://www.wellington.govt.nz/haveyoursay/publicinput/ngauranga.html.  Submissions close 22nd February 2008.



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