Low Cost Light Rail Solution Ignored
Press release - Generation
Thursday 6 February 2014 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Wellington Public Transport Spine Options Hearing Subcommittee has got it wrong and ignored a realistic low cost light rail solution that residents are calling for, says youth organisation Generation Zero.
Yesterday the Hearing Subcommittee released its draft report and recommendations, endorsing the proposed Bus Rapid Transit system with a split route from the Basin Reserve to Newtown and to Kilbirnie through a second Mount Victoria tunnel.
Generation Zero is advocating the “Constable Connection”: a single spine corridor through Newtown to Kilbirnie via Constable St, which would allow a light rail system to be built for an estimated $400 million or less. The proposal has support in principle from the Newtown Residents’ Association and several other organisations.
Generation Zero spokesperson Paul Young says the reasons given for choosing the split route over the Constable Connection - which the report itself acknowledges is the “optimal network solution” - are logically inconsistent.
“The report seems to be bending over backwards to find reasons to discredit light rail options while ignoring or skirting over similar issues with the proposed BRT option. There are a number of key questions the subcommittee need to answer.”
“For instance, why have they ruled out twin public transport lanes on Constable St - saying it would require ‘significant property acquisition and associated heritage and community impacts’ - but said nothing about public transport lanes on Ruahine St requiring additional land to be carved from the Town Belt?”
“Why is potential provision of tidal flow lanes for light rail on Constable St deemed “too costly” (with no costings given), but somehow a $400 million tunnel is not?”
“And why is the possibility of some lane-sharing with car traffic on Constable St deemed not feasible, when their proposal would have buses sharing with cars through the Mount Victoria tunnel and possibly Ruahine St too?”
“All we’re asking for is for a fair and rational analysis to ensure we get the best decision for our city.”
“Most of the report’s other recommendations are good but they have dropped the ball on the big issues of route and mode choice.”
“We’re calling on our representatives on the city and regional councils to reject these recommendations at their February 21st meetings, and demand that the Constable Connection gets a fair assessment.”