This is a guest post from some of our friends in Wellington
Let’s Get Wellington Moving (LGWM) will profoundly shape Wellington, and the window is almost closed to give your steer on the approach they’re taking. We need you, smart GA readers, to take two minutes and give some good progressive-transport feedback – by Friday 15 December at 5pm. It will make a difference!
LGWM is being touted as the most comprehensive transport planning and prioritisation exercise Wellington city has ever seen, and this is probably true. For all its limited geographic scope, NZTA, GWRC and WCC are talking about spending well over $2 billion to Sort Out Transport in the Capital.
Yes, the officials have a helluva task.
They need to do a decent job of the complex and complicated art and science of transport planning – with, hopefully, a bit of landuse planning integrated in. (Greater Auckland’s assessment has a pretty clear view of how they’ve done.)
But the officials also need to get good public feedback. There’s different art and science required here. This complex, fraught stuff needs to be communicated clearly and well, so that ordinary laypeople can give good feedback and give the decision-makers a good steer.
So haumai te pakipaki for the team, but no excuses
Firstly, a round of applause for the LGWM team behind the scenes. Goodness knows we don’t envy them. This is a mammoth task: modelling, options assessment, investment logic, design, communication and engagement … doing this for something as little as bike infrastructure is difficult, let alone a whole package of transport changes.
It’s a tough job, and they’re in the public service to do it – they have the expertise in these arts and sciences, and the power. They must wield it well.
Public feedback matters, and feedback is hampered by these scenarios.
The feedback on these scenarios will be held up as evidence for the public appetite – or lack thereof – for either traditionalist or progressive solutions to our transport and liveability problems. And, therefore, decision-makers’ mandate to be progressive and lead, or an excuse to be “same same” and try to solve the problems with the same approaches that created them. Importantly, Ministers are open to change, but need to know there’s a public mandate: lots of LGWM feedback from the public saying “be more progressive”.
So public feedback is doubly important. And for a city that prides itself on being innovative, these scenarios miss a lot of basic, important opportunities and leave out a lot of basic, important things.
We don’t think what they’ve proposed is “roughly right” – and this skews feedback.
- Despite LGWM’s startlingly short time horizon and soaring population trends, it still fails to prioritise non-car transport. This is defying good practice in transport planning, and means its scenarios barely meet many of its own excellent principles.
- It’s scoped so out-of-scope people’s behaviour and geography undermine it
- They left out any incentives or demand management (because it’s too complex for us apparently)
And if even a bunch of non-experts can clearly see these issues, and the various authorities can’t give a good answer when asked, it’s definitely time for a healthy boost in the right direction.
Wellington needs you – yes, You Auckland!
That boost has to come from The Public. Not just the population of Wellington and the region – residents, the citizens, the ratepayers – but also any of you who use Wellington from time to time. Any of you who have relatives, friends, colleagues, children there – or who sometimes use the capital or its region. Unfortunately, given these scenarios, people will be encouraged to think “same same” will make a difference.
So the future of our capital and region relies on smart, progressive-minded folks like GA’s readership, who know their induced demand from their infill housing, to help give LGWM a good boost towards progressive transport thinking.