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Bypass breather chance to set house in order

Bypass breather gives Transit chance to set house in order

Green MP Sue Kedgley is calling on Transit New Zealand to re-tenant the heritage buildings in the path of the now-delayed inner city bypass and to start urgent work to keep them from deteriorating.

"Today's announcements by Transfund show it has taken on-board its new responsibilities under the Land Transport Management Act to take a long-term overview of land transport, rather than just rubber-stamping road funding," Ms Kedgley said.

"Transit also has new objectives and new responsibilities - including social and environmental responsibilities.

"It should now apply those principles to the bypass buildings, which are a precious part of our heritage and which would have been saved and preserved in any other country years ago. Transit needs to abandon its 'evict and deteriorate' policy in light of its new responsibilities and start working with the community to restore these buildings before winter."

Ms Kedgley noted that today's Transfund report acknowledged problems with heritage destruction, air pollution and noise, and recognised that the capital's existing road network had not been optimised.

"We're absolutely delighted the bypass has not been given a green light by the review. The requirement to do further work gives Transit the breathing space to get over its motorway-mindset and work with others to take a fresh look at packages of options to relieve congestion with fewer adverse effects.

"These include improvements to the existing streets, upgrading the commuter train and bus network and attracting more people to use it, and enhanced demand management measures such as coupon parking, and walking school buses.

She said the new Act is all about collaboration and Transit and the local authorities need to look at packages that deliver more sustainable benefits than the bypass. The Transfund report notes that "travel time savings and reliability improvements...are not likely to be significant".

Ms Kedgley reminded Transit that it had repeatedly refused community offers to restore the heritage buildings in the Tonks Avenue historic precinct.

"Now it has the time and opportunity to take up the offer and work together with the community for the urgent preservation and restoration of this unique part of our history. This would be a useful first step in building the cooperative relationships needed to find a solution that works for everyone."

ENDS

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