If elected as Eastern councillor what do you plan to do about the traffic issues in the Eastern Suburbs? Please comment on the traffic exiting Hataitai towards the Mt Victoria tunnel, traffic flow at, the roundabout where the new stadium is being built (there is already congestion in this area now) and the traffic coming out from the road to the netball courts on Saturdays.
There is no quick fix, but a focus on solutions is vital. More "valley flyer" buses or city to airport shuttles will reduce the number of vehicles. Signs at the airport could encourage use of the airport tunnel , and the coastal route.
Better traffic control around sporting facilities could include preferential parking for buses and vans carrying teams.
The data must be gathered and published so that everyone is aware of the vehicle count and the rate of increase. Large illuminated signs (as used on motorways) could focus on the traffic density to alert motorists to any bottle-necks. Developing and enhancing good public transport and walk ways (with shelter at intersections where possible) and safe cycleways need to be central to our approach.
I am well aware of the ongoing trafice congestion in the Eastern Suburbs.
The roundabout traffic issue near the site of the new stadium will be fixed by transit and Council once the stadium has been completed. I have tried to get the works brought forward before the completion of the stadium so as to avoid the inevitanle traffic jams howver this has not been possible.
Long term we need better public transport and the roading improvemnts through Mt Victoria. This is a wider issue for the region as well as the city.
The Hataitai Park issue either needs a roundabout or we have to wait for the roading projects. You may find that with the opening of the ICSC that there is less traffic at Hataitai.
My personal view is that the public transport issues and roading issues should have been fixed before the stadium was built. I have voiced this opinion publicly.
First, I think some background may be helpful.
Transport in Wellington is split between several different bodies. The New Zealand Transport Agency is responsible for State Highway 1, from the airport along Cobham Drive and through the Mt Victoria tunnel; the Greater Wellington Regional Council plans and supports bus operation (except commercial services, the relevant one here being the Airport Flyer, run independently by NZ Bus); and Wellington City Council provides local roads, the bus tunnel, bus stops and shelters, and the trolleybus overhead. So any approach to traffic issues requires a lot of co-operation – WCC on its own can’t do a lot.
Transport improvements for the route to the airport are in the Ngauranga to Airport Corridor Plan (http://www.gw.govt.nz/ngauranga-to-wellington-airport/) jointly prepared by NZTA’s predecessor Transit NZ, GWRC and WCC. That plan includes, within 10 years,
- Investigating duplicating the Mt Victoria tunnel and four-laning Ruahine St and Wellington Rd;
- Investigating improvements to walking and cycling through Mt Victoria tunnel;
- Investigating ferries to Miramar wharf;
- Improving the Cobham Drive/Troy St roundabout;
- Undertake feasibility study on high-quality public transport system in the CBD;
- And smaller improvements to public transport, walking and cycling.
And after 10 years,
- Duplicating Mt Victoria tunnel and four-laning Ruahine St and Wellington Rd;
- Implementing a step-change in public transport in the CBD.
In addition, WCC has had plans to install traffic lights at the Ruahine St/Goa St intersection, which would of course have to be implemented jointly with NZTA.
Subsequent to the Ngauranga to Airport plan being agreed, NZTA announced unilaterally the Government’s plan to skip the investigation stage and go straight into the Mt Victoria tunnel, Ruahine St and Wellington Rd changes, but as the last phase of the massive Wellington Road of National Significance scheme (http://www.nzta.govt.nz/network/projects/wellington-northern-corridor/). There are no proposed changes to other parts of the plan, so the balanced approach of its proposals has been lost.
In addition, the transport situation was changed significantly by WCC’s decision to add to the traffic problems by building the new sports centre on Cobham Drive, with 95% of its users planned to arrive by car. (I took WCC to court to get improvements to this.)
So the only definite physical changes planned for the next few years are the Cobham Drive/Troy St roundabout (required to be completed before the sports centre opens), and perhaps Goa St lights.
The SH1 plans are probably some years away from being designed, let alone built, and will be very disruptive and expensive when they do happen, and Ruahine St and the adjacent Town Belt and Wellington Rd will be very different places. They are also likely to generate more traffic, so we will probably end up where we started (or worse). Most cities around the world have learned that trying to road-build your way out of traffic congestion is generally futile and expensive.
What I will work towards, in conjunction with the other agencies
I’d put in the Goa St lights, the Cobham Drive roundabout changes and the walking, cycling and public transport improvements listed above, but otherwise I’d take a different – faster, cheaper and effective - approach. Experience round the world shows that where there are public transport and general roads along the same corridor, speeding up public transport improves speed for all users; trying to speed up general roads without doing at least the same for public transport makes the situation worse for all concerned.
In conjunction with GWRC, I’d improve public transport between the eastern suburbs and the CBD, with faster, more direct and more frequent buses on a simplified route structure with good transfer facilities. That would reduce much of the pressure, particularly at commuter times. The CBD public transport improvements in the Ngauranga to Airport plan are an essential part of this.
Second, I’d talk to the airport about reducing the large number of taxis on this route. Improvements to the Airport Flyer have helped, and need to go further.
Third, I’d encourage walking and cycling, by means such as improving the Mt Victoria tunnel environment (Hataitai has a lower rate of commuting on foot or by bike than suburbs a similar distance from the CBD, largely because of the unpleasantness of the Mt Victoria tunnel), and better cycle tracks.
Fourth, I’d recognise that people want to cross SH1 as well as travel along it, and seek ways to reduce the significant barrier it creates for pedestrians and cyclists. Otherwise, it encourages car use for short journeys, something which most people are agreed should be avoided. As things stand the only safe way to get the short distance from Miramar to the centre or Kilbirnie is to drive or catch a bus, which is ridiculous.
And last, I’d look at ferries from Miramar wharf – the current ferry from Seatoun is an excellent way to travel, but offers a very limited service.
And in the longer term, modern trams connecting the eastern suburbs with the CBD and the region’s railway network will definitely be the way to go.
So, to go back to your specific questions:
Exiting from Hataitai towards the Mt Victoria tunnel:
Reduce traffic along SH1 by making the bus service more attractive in speed and frequency, and by improving facilities for walking and cycling – the CBD is not that far away. Goa St lights would help break up the traffic flow to help Hataitai users get into the tunnel – but any changes to the Basin Reserve to smooth the flow of eastbound traffic, as envisaged by NZTA, could have just the opposite effect.
The roundabout by the sports centre:
This will be improved before the centre opens, and improved public transport will ease the congestion – particularly with the sustainable transport initiatives agreed by WCC as part of the Environment Court settlement.
Traffic to the netball courts:
Reduced traffic by the initiatives outlined above and traffic lights at Goa St will ease the situation.
Sorry that this is such a long answer, but I hope it helps.