I have led Wellington City transport for much of my time on Council, but not in the last three years. I have always taken a pragmatic approach that we provide for transport choice while encouraging more walking, cycling and public transport use. That’s because we need to reduce congestion and emissions. That’s involved compact mixed use urban form, delivering bus priority and cycleways, and favouring short stay parking over long stay. I’ve implemented car share schemes as well as improving the ring road to take traffic away from the Central City. This Strategy has worked very well, with the proportion of trips on foot, bus bike or train rising continuously since the early 1990s. Now we need more as our City grows.
Sadly, in the last three years we have taken a step backwards. ‘Let’s Get Wellington Moving’ has become a repeated reason for not doing anything, and the Regional Council has run into serious problems with its new bus network. We know ‘Let’s Get Wellington Moving’ is politically compromised. By its own assessment it will not get us moving, and will add 20% to our rates bills on top of the 52% already planned. Waiting at least ten years for any State Highway upgrades is unacceptable.
I will turn this around by:
- Pushing hard with other regional Mayors for an early solution to the Basin Reserve and a second Mt Victoria Tunnel. That will also benefit public transport, walking and cycling.
- Ensuring decisions on LGWM are made on the basis of good evidence, including the interrelationships with different regional urban form options.
- Reviewing the route, mode and cost of mass transit options.
- Delivering walking, cycling, safety and public transport in our Central City and suburban centres.
- Completing bus priority on key routes to improve efficiency and reliability of the bus service.
- Working with Greater Wellington Regional Council to help them address failings in their bus system.
- Continuing working with GWRC on resurrecting the Airport Flyer.
- Continuing working with GWRC to trial frequent shuttle services to Johnsonville Line Stations such as Crofton Downs and Ngaio to reduce pressure on Park and Ride areas.
- Reviewing parking policies including re-instituting Sunday free parking, and considering variable pricing (cheaper short stay – more expensive long stay)
- Seeking legislative capability to adopt long stay parking levies and congestion pricing as alternative funding tools (to rates).