Yesterday the Government released a package of investments to improve Wellington’s transport system over the next 20 years – known as the “Let’s Get Welly Moving” project.

Phil Twyford said our Government is tackling the long-term issues and this 20 year plan is a step change for transport in Wellington.

“We’ll reduce congestion by integrating modern rapid transit, walking and cycling upgrades, and better public transport with the city’s motorways and roads.

“Better public transport infrastructure and more services will encourage people out of their cars – freeing up the roads for those that have to drive.

“By unlocking the Basin Reserve and making streets more pedestrian and bicycle friendly, we’ll have a more liveable city that’s safer to get around.

“LGWM will help boost growth and encourage more housing, especially along the rapid transit corridor.

“The capital’s waterfront CBD is a national treasure. It is a job rich high-productivity economic powerhouse for the region. LGWM will unleash its potential and make it a magnet for investment after years of underinvestment.

“We can’t do everything at once and my expectation is that congestion-busting projects like rapid transit will be prioritised over motorway projects.

“We know that only by taking a joined-up regional approach will we unlock Wellington’s potential. That’s why we have allowed an estimated $4 billion for other regional transport projects.

“The next step is for the Wellington City Council and regional councils to endorse and commit to funding their share of the $6.4 billion plan. The total cost of the LGWM indicative package is split 60:40 between central government and local government to reflect the wider local benefits of the package,” Phil Twyford said.

This work has been underway for a number of years now, basically ever since the horrible Basin Reserve flyover had its consent declined in 2014 (and again in 2015). Back in late 2017 a draft programme was developed and it was pretty unimpressive, focusing enormously on building a whole pile of motorways before improving public transport. It seems like the updated version is better, although there are some inconsistencies between the Recommended Programme and the Government’s announcement. Overall it seems like the Recommended Programme was unaffordable and therefore needed both a bit of trimming as well as being delivered over a longer time period.

Anyway, let’s start by looking at the strategic approach the LGWM project took, which actually looks pretty good with a very strong focus on findings ways to move more people in fewer vehicles:

This approach translates into five key moves. The first four seem to make good sense, although the state highway improvements seems to continue with the problematic previous approach of suggesting a pile of motorways are needed before we can build public transport. More on that soon.

The recommended programme then runs through how it might be implemented over time, what different areas might look like once the programme has been completed, and what some of its impacts might be. For example there’s a good slide showing some of the ways the programme will reduce car dependency over time:

What’s perhaps less clear is how the Let’s Get Welly Moving recommended programme compares with what was announced yesterday. The various numbers seem quite different:

There are similar inconsistencies between what’s in an out of the different packages and programmes. The Government’s announcements make no reference to projects like duplication of the Terrace Tunnel or widening the motorway to the north of Wellington, so theoretically they should be cheaper rather than more costly than the LGWM programme. Some of the figures appear to make some allowances for other projects in Wellington outside the LGWM project area, and it’s unclear which figures relate to government spend versus total investment needed.

There’s also very little information about how the 20 year programme might be sequenced over time, with just one slide of a very lean “Way Forward” document giving some indication about what early priorities might be:

If the Terrace Tunnel really has been dropped, then probably the main questionable project left is duplicating the Mt Victoria Tunnel and widening Ruahine Street, which is costed at around $700 million. As the sequencing of the programme is developed further it would be good to see the Mt Victoria Tunnel duplication pushed towards the back end of the 20 years and only done if really necessary once rapid transit is in place.

So overall, yesterday’s announcements suggest that Let’s Get Welly Moving has definitely improved from earlier proposals. However there still seem to be a lot of unanswered questions around how the programme will be sequenced, how it will be funded and ultimately when some of its key components will be delivered.

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117 comments

  1. I assume if a second Victoria tunnel for cars etc happens Hataitai and Kilburnie take a hit in the quality of living stakes, assuming the two tunnels also morph into similar matching roads as well.

    However what concerns me most of all is two of the three people at the announcement. Number one is Phil Twyford who thus far has failed miserably to deliver on a single thing from his grand announcements be it transport or housing and to me is on very thin ice as a Minister, to the point of even holding his marginal electorate.

    And arrogant old Chris Laidlaw should not be allowed anywhere near a public transport project ever again and should do the public a favour and retire, yesterday sort of thing.

  2. Close more roads to cars. That way you can bring back the street race because you won’t disrupt as much traffic 😀

  3. Some good intentions in here. More people in fewer vehicles; prioritisation of active modes and public transport; creating of new space for people in Te Aro in particular; integration of land use and transport planning to get more intensification along the mass transit route. Note that this route is already fairly intense by NZ standards particularly between Newtown and the railway station.

    The key issue is phasing of the changes and it looks like they don’t have this quite right. Cycling is in the first 5 years (good), as is bus priority in the central city. But bus lanes from the east, south and west are for after 2024. If the mass transit is not to be delivered (to the airport) until after 2029 then those bus lanes need to be delivered ASAP. The road widening needs to be pushed to the back and should follow road pricing (probably via gantries at access points) so that the effects of provision of alternatives and pricing can inform whether it’s necessary.

  4. It’s not entirely clear to be, but I’m hopeful that the roading initiatives are intended to increase traffic on arterial routes as we reduce car capacity on CBD streets. We shall see.

    I am encouraged to see that Thordon Quay and Hutt Road improvements are up front. Thorndon Quay is not a particularly safe ride in the afternoon/evening, and the plans the council drew up for “fixing it” were just a lick of paint. Because the bed shops needed every single one of those council parks (despite the fact that they were, at most, 50% full on any given day).

    1. I’m hopeful too that the improvements will take cars out of the CBD. At the moment the waterfront route along the quays is essentially an at grade, 6 lane motorway and severs the CBD from the waterfront – waiting to cross this motorway takes ages (and then you get ten seconds to do so) and is pretty unpleasant with the speeding cars and fumes. I think the plan to put the mass transit route down the quays and, in doing so, to remove two lanes and reduce vehicle speed should help a lot. One thing I’d also like to see is the pedestrianisation of Lambton Quay and the rerouting of the buses down Featherston Street, but obviously, that isn’t even on the cards.

      I am disappointed that the trench under Te Aro hasn’t been funded as this would’ve taken motorway traffic of the Te Aro streets and would’ve opened up many opportunities to increase density along the public transport routes. Hopefully, at some point, this is taken up by a future government (though this would probably come with a second terrace tunnel).

  5. While the waffle sounds good, couldn’t help noticing that the second page of the Recommended Programme of Investment shows a carefully camouflaged flyover at the Basin Reserve.

    The guided bendy bus on the cover of the report doesn’t really inspire any confidence either: left lane running layout is crap. Making most passengers cross 4 lanes of traffic to access southbound service on the quays? Really? Poor on a good day terrible on a wet & windy day.

    Suspicious that although mass transit tech apparently not been chosen, they have chosen guided bendy buses in all their artists impressions … Tech not really proven on any large scale compared to established alternatives.

    Overall, some positive stuff, but needs improvement. (Need to watch things closely to make sure they don’t slip flyovers back in.)

      1. Are they though? Because the vehicles look very, very, very similar to those on the front cover which are definitely not on rails but concrete slab with white guidelines. The two shown here are ambiguous at best.

        Looking at the LGWM video which shows the vehicles in the same locations as above but animated & higher res, all “tracks” are pairs whites lines on a slab.

        Artists impression of the quays on p13 also clearly has no tracks.

        They are clearly using the same vehicle in the impressions (#201 appears multiple times …)

        1. Actually looking at it a bit more, what they appear to have done is take a standard tram graphic but put it on a non-tracked way. It’s a fudge.

          The vehicle appears the same as some of the Auckland LR impressions with the same number (#201), but compare the detail of the “track”: obviously rail in the Auckland impressions & obviously not rail in the Wellington impressions. Literally a trackless tram …

      2. They’ve used the same vehicle model for the renders to represent the LRT and BRT. That is no doubt intentional and quite frankly if you can’t tell the difference and it still delivers the required service levels, who cares?

        On the website some of those are clearly on rails, and some on concrete slab, although looking more closely at the second one above I’m not sure which it is supposed to be.

    1. These are clearly “Hover Buses”, totally brand new futuristic tech [that doesn’t exist].

      But clearly superior to bus-trams and light rail.

      That shows you how forward looking LGWM are.

        1. And so they should. The only reasonable objections I’ve heard about trackless trams are road wear and possible failure of new tech. But realistically by the time most of these light rail systems are actually implemented, the tech will no doubt be proven.

        2. Or disproven. People said exactly what you are saying about trackless trams when monorails were the next big thing.

          If you are going to reallocate the roadspace and build a strong enough roadway, power system, and stations for trackless trams, you could have reallocated the roadspace and build a strong enough tramway, power system, and stations for trams. Plus, your system is much more resilient and much simpler, proven by 170 years of operation.

        3. Nick, I understood that the cost arguent for ttrackless trams doesn’t make that much sense as it will be necessary to lay new slabs in the ground anyway because of their very rigid running patteern. Howveer, I never see that mentioned anywhere in the pro-trackless tram articles and videos.

          Is that right? Is there also a capacity issue?

          If all other things are equal I can certianly see the attraction of track less trams. But rankly it all seems too good to be true. If they are that great and the technology is nothing revolutionary, why are thye not being installed more worldwide?

  6. I have zero confidence in this, as soon as the other lot get into power, four lanes to the planes for Brent Hudson and his bmw will replace the bendybuses. Problem is the capitals voters like big roads and think more roads fixes things. Changing that mindset will not be easy.

    1. Correction – exurban voters in the Wellington region seem to like big roads. I very much doubt that a majority of voters in Wellington City hold that view.

      1. You have identified the fundamental problem for Wellington transport provision. It needs to cater for two distinct groups of people who have two largely incompatible desired outcomes.
        The first group, are Wellington City Residents. Their main desire is to be able to get around their city easily. The city is compact and therefore very walkable, and supports viable public transport options. This is reflected in Wellington having the highest public transport mode share in the country. A compact city also favours cycling options, as long as conflict with car transport priority is managed. For Wellington City residents facilitating bringing more cars into the city, not only degrades their transport options but also their quality of life. Increasing internal city roading capacity is very obstructive to walking, public transport and cycling options. It also increases noise and air pollution and injury accidents. The provision of more car storage required to accomodate these extra cars dilutes the land available for value adding commercial activities, housing, and recreation provision.
        The second group, are the outsiders, those who travel to Wellington, daily to work or to study, and those that visit less often to head to the airport, ferry terminal, recreational and commercial facilities.
        They want fast roading to their chosen destination, and then plentiful parking. They have little interest in walking, or public transport options, and see the provision of cycling facilities being contrary
        They are relatively unaffected by the degradation of their actions to the Wellington City environment as they return from Wellington to their home environment.
        Better integrated regional Public Transport provision has huge potential to incentivise this group to abandoning a lot of ther car travel into Weĺington.
        Integrated ticketing across all modes would be a start. Nobody has given a credible explanation as to why the succesful Auckland Hop card was not good enough for Wellington. Sure it needs enhancement to use contactless bank cards but a larger base would bring this forward. Instead Wellington is still waiting for integrated ticketing. There needs to be much better public transport provision into catchment railway stations and from Wellington Railway Station through the spine to the airport.

        1. “The second group, are the outsiders, those who travel to Wellington, daily to work or to study….They want fast roading to their chosen destination, and then plentiful parking. ”

          Is that right though?

          I used to work in Wellington (a long time ago) and most people lived in the satellite suburbs. Of those, few (relatively speaking) drove to the city. They all took trains or buses.

          You rightly mention the high PT mode share in the capital but isn’t that materially driven by the amount of “outsiders” who choose to take a train in each day?

          I just tend to think it comes down to who shouts the loudest, and usually (like in Auckland) its the self-entitled car drivers who think buses are Loser Cruisers and retailers who think a park outside their business saves them from financial ruin.

        2. Yes, a lot of the PT patronage is driven by out of towners:

          Wellington’s train patronage hit 13 million trips in 2016/17. That’s well below the 20 million trips Auckland is seeing, but not bad for a region 1/3 the size of Auckland.

          of that 13 million, about 12m came from the lines that do not serve Wellignton suburbs (Hutt Valley line, Kapiti line, Wairarapa line)

          There are about another 24m bus trips, but i can’t find a regional breakdown for those

        3. Don Robertson – re “Nobody has given a credible explanation as to why the succesful Auckland Hop card was not good enough for Wellington” – Simple explanation was that we already had a card that was working fine. Why would we want to get rid of a system that was working fine and replace it with a different system? So the real question, more to the point, is: Why didn’t Akl Hop just use the Wellington Snapper? It was offered – it could have been perfectly suitable – but AT decided to paddle their own canoe. Don’t blame Wellington. Look in the mirror!

        4. Yeah, if you consider working fine, is what should be a normal journey from home to work consisting of a suburban bus to the station, a train journey, then a futher city bus to to the centre of town should require two methods of payment and three distinct fare components then you are easily satisfied. Alternatively you may well decide it is easier to take the car.

        5. Hey Guy , i think the snapper / hop card issue was more related to lobbying businesses under mining goverment procurement.

        6. Guy, not only was Snapper offered to Auckland, it was installed, many Auckland busses still have Snapper card readers under blue covers. Snapper as it was then, was simply a dumb stored card system that could not handle transfers between services even those operated by the same bus company.
          A key Auckland requirement, and a huge factor in Public Transport growth in Auckland, is the absolute requirement to handle transfers between all modes . In spite of your assertion, Snapper was simply in no way suitable, to allow the introduction of the zonal fare structure independant of mode. Something that Auckland very successfully implemented some years ago but is still lacking in Wellington to it’s considerable detriment. Trains in Wellington still have paper tickets that are hand punched! A quaint blast from the past. And no through fares if a journey involves travel by train.

        7. “In spite of your assertion, Snapper was simply in no way suitable, to allow the introduction of the zonal fare structure independant of mode. ”

          Snapper was and still is perfectly capable of this. Fare integration in Wellington is a ticketing *policy* issue, not a ticketing *technology* issue. AT chose Thales’ card after an extensive investigation which basically found that operation was slightly quicker and more reliable and back end support was likely to be much better.

          TLDR: Snapper is capable of integrated fares, GWRC are unwilling to implement it.

        8. This is how I recall the Snapper card in Auckland playing out.

          Snapper was offered by NZ Bus to the Auckland Regional Council. NZ Bus had brought it in, a first for Auckland and was using it at the time in Auckland, I believe licensed by them and of course controlled by them including all the trip data. They even had money that could be stored for goods at select retailers. It was very clever insofar as Infratil were concerned, just none too helpful for the rate/tax payers who subsidise PT.

          At the time the ARC had been shafted by NZ Bus who was then the predominant bus operator by far into paying higher subsidies for them to operate certain routes “or else” they would cease operations forthwith. No proof had to be supplied as to the costs, a genius piece of legislation from the deregulation kings of the 90’s central government. Real hardball business tactics. These threats had the ARC over a barrel and they had to pay up. Meanwhile other operators did not want their sensitive data collected by their competitor, not surprisingly, and baulked at the idea but one can see where NZ Bus were going with this strategy.

          So Auckland drifted on for years without integrated ticketing. NZ Bus even took the ARC to court over this very subject which held things up even more!

          In summary the bad blood created has seen Infratil’s bus company investment wither away, NZ Bus now a small player which loses more and more of its once large network at each tender. Its subsidiary, Waka Pacific, that ran virtually all of South Aucklands bus routes went into liquidation after losing all contracts and it would not surprise me if NZ Bus does not fade away altogether if things keep going the way they are.

          That is why Snapper did not happen and why Aucklands ratepayers had to start at the beginning, thanks to an aggressive greedy investment company.

        9. Apologies, to those loyal Wellington suburban train commuters who ensured that the network survived years of under investment and actively resisted those transport interests that advocated closure of the J ville line. What is needed is better public transport connections to the train services at both ends of the train journeys and a single journey fare to leverage the value of that network. Enhanced feeder services to the suburban and Wairarapa stations, Priority bus services and more bus lanes from Wellington Station to the City Centre, university, airport and hospital as a minimum and all on a single zoned fare. These are low hanging fruit.

        10. A network of cycleways along arterials and director roads, and filtered permability in access areas to get people safely from their house to a cycleway; with cycleways leading directly to train stations and bus terminals, with large parking facilities for all forms of cycles, is also a good thing for the suburbs.

          Oh and Lime, Onzo, and docked bikes you can rent for a few bucks for 12 hours would help, too.

          The Dutch says hi with their 12,500 bicycle parking facility in Utrecht! 😀

          Also, his quote says stuff about integrating walking, cycling, PT. Why not literally? I don’t understand why stuff like this gets ignored 🙁

  7. So if the budget is $6.4BN for a population of 400k max. then we surely should be spending around $25BN+ for Auckland shouldn’t we?

    1. We are, it’s called atap which allocates 28bn for transport projects in Auckland over the next 10 years, a lot of which has already started or is in late stages of planning.

      1. Sorry, what are those that have started or are in late stages of planning? I assume you don’t count business case as a late stage planning activity? It a beginning stage isn’t it?

  8. There is something about Phil Twyford making transport investment announcements. Can’t quite get my finger on it though. On TV news he did look confident and earnest, upbeat even, whereas those other two, mayor and LGWM person looked careworn.

    1. Well the National Party thinks so and I agree the man has no judgment or common sense. If he announced something which was going to happen in the next couple of years he would have some creditably instead he looking like the weakest link in the coalition. And he will quite rightly be targeted for it.
      You know I am not against progress of rail, light rail or public transport in fact I am all for it but I am against grandiose schemes with no finite creditable start or finish date. Now if he was to announce that he was starting the work on the Puhinui to Airport section of a light rail scheme I would be applauding even though I think the busway is a better proposition. But at least it would be a creditable project while light rail from Britomart to the Airport isn’t except in the very long term and will probably be dropped by a new govt.

    2. From Business scoop.
      May 17, 2019

      Press Release – New Zealand National Party

      Revelations that Treasury advised against the Government committing to the Lets Get Wellington Moving package because it relied on several assumptions that had not been thoroughly tested shows that Phil Twyford has learnt nothing from …
      Paul Goldsmith – Transport

      17 May 2019

      Revelations that Treasury advised against the Government committing to the Let’s Get Wellington Moving package because it relied on ‘several assumptions’ that had ‘not been thoroughly tested’ shows that Phil Twyford has learnt nothing from his many ministerial disasters, National’s Transport spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.

      “Mr Twyford is world class at the big announcements, but his delivery has been weak.

      The failures to meet Kiwibuild targets, then his abandonment of those targets are well known.

      “He stood with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and announced big plans for Light Rail in Auckland. Eighteen months in, we still have no sign of a business plan – primarily because the project doesn’t make sense. He boldly talked about Light Rail from Auckland CBD to the airport. Then it wasn’t the airport, it was Mangere. Now it’s ‘urban regeneration’ along Dominion road. Big talk; no follow through.

      “Has he learnt nothing from the massive blow outs in the City Rail Loop, about the necessity of having his transport agencies absolutely focused on delivery?

      “Treasury’s comments on the timing of the Wellington package are devastating: ‘Making an announcement at this stage carries significant risks, as it will raise public expectations of future investment before the costs and benefits of the package are fully understood’.

      “Wellingtonians should be wary of Mr Twyford making announcements. His philosophy is ‘Ready, Fire, Aim’, safe in the knowledge that someone else will have to sort out the details in a decade’s time.”

      ends

      1. But that is exactly what Goldsmith has to do – he is in Opposition – they don’t have to say anything truthful, they just have to attack the current Government.

        Let’s face it: National did absolutely nothing towards any public transport while they were in office, they just poured money into roads, some of them with lead times of several years in length. Here we are in 2019, with a new government that has only been in place 18 months, and they have announced more than National ever did. Do you really expect that things would automatically start happening the next week? Of course not. Just like with National, big ticket items have Looooooong lead times and take years to start up, turn around and set off. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of people in Government working towards getting these initiatives off the ground – it won’t happen over night.

        1. Agree, a number of roading projects that National campaigned on in 2008 are still under construction or in the planning process.

        2. ‘ big ticket items have Looooooong lead times and take years to start up, turn around and set off.‘
          This may appear to be the case but is not so when it came to getting the first construction for CRL underway. Although the mercury bay developers needed fast progress AT and later CRLL started real construction work in 2016, just months after financing was agreed with govt. The loooooong delays in making any further CRL progress is little better than criminal. We end up with a completed tunnel up Albert sitting unused for 5 or more years because CRLL lack ability to schedule this project within a meaningful timetable. Sweeney and Co proved to be the wrong people in the wrong job, incapable ofproviding leadership to timely progress CRL
          I look forward to them being sacked at the same time bozo Twyford makes his exit.

        3. “We end up with a completed tunnel up Albert sitting unused for 5 or more years because CRLL lack ability to schedule this project within a meaningful timetable.“

          Rubbish

        4. Oh it’s rubbish is it? Didn’t know that, so the Albert st CRL tunnel will not be finished and unused for five+ years.

      2. Interestingly, ‘Ready, Fire, Aim’ is the moto of Mainfreight, one of NZ’s most consistently successful companies… very surprised that a Nat MP would try to use this business thinking as a mistake. Doubly ironic perhaps that they are a logistics company that has long supported developing and using rail more….

  9. I still can’t quite understand why, in a city where more than 17 percent of city workers walk to work, and more use PT and active modes than cars (according to census 2013), the planners insist on spending their time and effort making it easier to drive.

    Rather than this obsession with 4 lanes to the planes, with mass transit some time in the 2030s, what is GWRC doing *now* to provide a fit-for-purpose alternative to Infratil’s famously bad airport bus? The one that no longer accepts snapper, costs more than a shared taxi, does not have real-time updates, and stops in a dungeon 200m from the airport door.

    Wellington is so well poised to roll out efficient, comprehensive people-focused transport, but we seem to balk at every possible opportunity.

    1. Two reasons:

      1) The government is based in Wellington, and ministers and staff get driven to and from the airport on a daily basis in a government pool car. Therefore car access to the planes is of paramount importance to decision makers.

      2) Most of the population of greater Wellington lives in the sprawl suburbs to the north. For them the city of Wellington is just the annoying thing they have to drive through to occasionally get to the airport or the hospital. For greater Wellington, the majority of the voter base are suburban drivers, who vote for more roads and parking.

      I wouldn’t blame the planners, what a professional planner thinks has nothing to do with the results of these studies. It’s political.

      1. Govt employees (leaving offices directly to fly, not homes) – should be mandated to use this light rail/mass transit, rather than taxis or cars.

        That annual+ saving could be directly attributable in business cases.

    2. The GWRC is penny pinching hence the shambolic multi hub bus network and basic maintenance on the trains causing erratic train services and a city council that keeps file plans in the to hard basket and a central government that doesn’t want to complete the missing inner city bypass of SH1 between the Terrace and Mt Victoria tunnels.

        1. DavidByrne – $2.2 billion of that $6.4 billion is on an expensive toy call rapid transit or light rail.

          The current shambolic multi hub rapid bus network, decommissioning of the near new refurbished trolley bus network and unreliable train services due to ‘maintenance issues’ is done by GWRC wanting to save money.

    3. “I still can’t quite understand why, in a city where more than 17 percent of city workers walk to work, and more use PT and active modes than cars (according to census 2013), the planners insist on spending their time and effort making it easier to drive.”

      Which is a more eloquent way of stating my point to DavidByrne above. I should have kept reading the thread..

  10. Nothing new in the report. It is just a 2019 version of the De Leuw Cather 1963 Report and Burrell 1980 Report with the expensive so call ‘rapid transit’ option added.

    Out of the 6 main centres, Wellington is the only main centre where SH 1 pass though the edge of the city centre that terminates at the airport. To complicated matters, due to the hilly topography of the city, Wellington is compact making it non car friendly but more public transport, walk and cycling friendly.

    The key project that has been talked about since the De Leuw Cather 1963 Report, is divert non essential vehicle traffic away from the Wellington central city zone by completing the missing section of SH1 between the Terrace and Mt Victoria tunnels and widening of Ruahine Street and Wellington Road, removing the bottle neck around the Basin Reserve allowing Adelaide Road having direct through traffic to Kent and Cambridge Terraces. This needs to happen now. Once Transmission Gully is completed in 2021, more vehicle traffic will be add to the current traffic congestion between the Terrance and Mt Victoria tunnels.

    Most of the vehicle traffic originates comes from the Hutt Valley/Wainuiomata, Porirua, Kapiti Coast to major destinations the regional hospital and and the airport.

    The key projects to get Wellington moving are –

    – Complete the missing inner city bypass section of SH 1 between the Terrace and Mt Victoria tunnels to deflect non essential vehicle traffic way from the central city zone. Whilst a 4 lane option is ideal, a cheap 3 lane option can work and would need to build the a second Terrance and Mt Victoria tunnel.

    – Introduce a region wide integrated payment/ticketing system for regional bus, train and ferry travel with cheaper fares.

    – Upgrade the current the regional rail network to be more efficient like adding the 4th track at Wellington Railway Station to increase frequency of train services.

    – Revamp the current shambolic multi hub so called rapid bus network to a more efficient loop services similar to the previous bus network for commuters from the city’s southern, eastern and western suburbs. The railway station has and will be the main bus/train interchange, with the golden mile from Courtney Place to railway station being the main bus interchange for through bus services, as it has don’t since the trams started in 1904.

    – More bus lanes and bus priority at traffic lights.

    – Make the Wellington central city zone between Courtney Place to the railway station and between Ghuznee and Wakefield Streets a pedestrian mall with only bus, ride sharing, service and emergency vehicles to access it.

    – Improve walking and cycling routes.

    – Make day parking in the city more expensive

    With regards to the ‘rapid transit’ option, it is waste of money and will not solve the traffic congestion. Upgrading the region’s rail network to be more efficient is a cheaper option.

    Due to it compactness, Wellington City is walkable, cycling and public transport city but has suffered a lack off central government will to complete the Wellington Urban Motorway as planned

      1. I am not sure what you mean. Completing the section between the Terrace and Mt Victoria tunnels is building wider roads to encourage more driving?

        1. How improving public transport by actually improving public transport and doing it before any more roads boondoggles

        2. To improve the city’s bus services, you need to relieve the traffic congestion at the Basin Reserve and to remove non essential traffic from the city central zone to allow better flow of bus services instead of the current bus bunching and the miss bus connections at the stupid hubs. To do that, you need to deflect non essential traffic way from the city centre, hence building the necessary road do it.

        3. Nah, just replace a car lane with a T3/bus lane. Will increase capacity of that corridor. Or do what Sweden does and put road pricing before road widening.

          Plus since the corridor is carrying more people not in single occupancy cars, that improves the surroundimg streets.

          Regarding the non-essential traffic. Do what some Dutch cities did, split the CC into quadrants with auto-bollards that lower for buses, emergency services, disabled, and in some cases even residents. Need to get rid of rat-runners through the CC anyway since it’s an acess area where people live, shop, and do stuff in bug numbers…

    1. LGWM have one card up their sleeve the De Leuw and Cather didn’t – congestion charging. This could manage demand for travelling through the core of Wellington, which may well reduce the need for expensive works.

      Any increase in capacity on the existing rail network will mean it is necessary to abandon the current pattern with express services, unless there is triple tracking between Takapu Rd and Plimmerton, and Petone and Taita.

      1. J am suprise by your comment. Why would congestion charging make the LGWM 2019 report better than the De Leuw Cather Report?.

        The whole purpose of completing the inner city bypass of SH 1 between The two tunnels is to take traffic away from the current congested Vivian Street and the Basin Reserve for traffic originating from the regional hospital and the airport. Congestion charging and high parking fees for the central city area is a good deterrent but commuters from the city’s southern, eastern and western suburbs want regular and efficient bus services to the city and those commuters in the city’s north western suburbs want efficient bus/train services. Those commuters who live in Porirua, Kapiti Coast, Hutt Valley, Stokes Vally and Wainuiomata want efficient bus/rail services to rail/bus interchanges to the Wellington railway station.

        The current train services are okay but the GWRC is penny pinching on the Matangi maintenance which is causing unreliable train services, Kiwirail is slowly replacing the 50-60 year old wooden traction poles and upgrading the track and signalling as funding becomes available. At least funds are now available to double track the Hutt Line between Wallaceville and Trentham after 60 odd years of talking about it, to allow more frequent train services on the Hutt Line and funds have been approved for track upgrade between Upper Hutt and Masterton. The only major rail upgrade that needs funding, is the 4th track at the Wellington railway station to increase frequency of train services in and out of the station at peak hours. It took nearly 50 years for the 3rd track to be completed and that was done when the Matangis where ordered.

        Once the GWRC stops penny pinching on the region’s public transport infrastructure and a fully integrated payment/ticketing system for bus/train/ferry travel is introduced, then commuters will return for work and play. We must realize there will be people who will used their cars to the regional hospital and the airport.

        1. Kris – it gives a third option for dealing with traffic trying to get from Ngauranga to the Mt Victoria tunnel and as far as I’m aware wasn’t part of De Leuw and Cathers report.

          The other options are a surface motorway from the Terrace Tunnel to Mt Vic tunnel, which will be place wrecking, or a tunnel through that section which will be very expensive.

          Both of these will induce more traffic as pretty much every other roading project does.

          There is no scope for increasing frequencies on the rail network with the express services, any increase in frequency will simply result in them catching up with the all-stops services.

        2. Jezza – The De Leuw and Cathers report was focused on Ngauranga to airport under the ‘Wellington Foothills Motorways’ banner, as transport planning from the 1960s was focused on expanding the State Highway network. The Wellington Foothill Motorway was to bypass the CBD with a tunnel under the Terrace, covered road system (using cut and Cover) to Basin Reserve and bridge interchange system at the Basin Reserve and a second Mt Victoria tunnel and a direct through road access between Adelaide Road and Kent and Cambridge Terraces. This plan meant there would be no Basin Reserve as we know it.

          The Burrell 1980 Report was a modify version to save the Basin Reserve with a using a trench road system similar to Arras Tunnel. The Karo Drive (current inner city bypass) is cheap quick fix version of the original plan.

          The land is still available and cleared for either a trench or cut and cover system from Basin Reserve to the Terrace tunnel.

          With regards to express regional train services, there currently semi express services on both the Kapiti and Hutt Lines. On the Kapiti Line, during morning/late afternoon peak periods, some Waikanae train services are express to either Porirua or Paremata and then all stops to Waikanae. On the Hutt Line, it is express to Queensgate and all stops until Upper Hutt and the Wairarapa Connection services is express to Petone and limited stops to Upper Hutt and all stops from Upper Hutt to Masterton.

          The proposed $2.2 billion on the Wellington railway station to the airport light rail could be spent on adding a 3 or possibility 4th rail on the Hutt Line from Petone to Taita and the Kapiti Line from Rewood to Porirua.

    2. Convenient that you focus on De Leuw Cather’s motorway and completely ignore their public transport recommendations.

      As for the bus network, what was this perfectly good network that previously existed? Sure wasn’t the one I was using. Lots of small old, overcrowded, overloaded buses, lucky to get on at all during the peak, Golden Mile utterly stuffed with buses, get charged extra to transfer, many routes with no evening and/or weekend services, etc, etc, etc.

      1. I am fully aware of the De Leuw Cather and Burrell reports contained. Both reports contained the the following recommendations –

        – Bypass traffic around the central city

        – Improve traffic flow, limit on-street car parking and street environments

        – Improve pedestrian environments

        – Limit increase in traffic level.

        – Reduce traffic along the waterfront

        – Link the Terrace Tunnel to the Mount Victoria Tunnel.

        – Relieve the city streets of through traffic

        – Environmental and pedestrian improvements

        – Public transport improvements only if northern Wellington expands

        So I am not sure why you said that I focus on De Leuw Cather’s motorway and completely ignore their public transport recommendations?

        The previous bus network had worked as it operate on loop services with ‘one bus’ travel from the departure point to the city and only needed enhancements to the core network to factor in population growth in the city’s north western suburbs.

        The current network requires 2 or more bus changes instead traveling on1 bus , longer travel times than previously, bad timetables during off peak periods and weekends/public, mis-connections or bus no shows at hubs and hasn’t resolved the bus bunching on the golden mile which the previous bus network was blamed for. The only good thing that has come out of the current bus network is integrated payment/ticketing system.

        1. Kris, I just don’t get your reasoning. Research from Otago University suggests that we should be driving 25% less within a very few years. Why should Wgtn be looking to build any more roads if this is the case? Sure it might be time efficient to drive right through the city on a by pass; but just as nice would be extend the train line to the airport, but that is not sensible and a transfer will suffice.
          Forget any reports that were written last century – the world has moved on and climate change demands (or in Wgtn speak, “politely requests”) another way.
          As someone else says, implement a congestion charge and see what things look like. Ear mark the revenue for alternatives so that drivers feel they are getting something in return.
          I have lived in Wgtn and there is a far better way than adding the additional roads proposed. These will add traffic. I saw an article on Stuff yesterday saying this. I apologise that I cannot find the link.

        2. Its not about building more roads, its about finishing off the Wellington Urban Motorway (being SH 1) project that began in 1969 to connect Ngauranga Interchange of SH 1 & 2, to the airport where SH 1 finishes.

          Its about Wellington Region not Wellington City, as more people are living outside the Wellington city boundaries than in it and those people need to access the regional facilities like the regional hospital, regional sport and swimming faculties, the airport, etc efficiently. Wellington central city is the primary hub for jobs, entertainment, etc. Would you take your family on a bike ride to the airport from Whitby (North of Porirua) or Upper Hutt for a family holiday or take your son to the regional hospital? No, you would use a vehicle.

          Despite all the reports that there will be reduction of vehicle use, the reality, there will be trucks and cars coming into or passing through the Wellington central city zone regardless of climate change.

        3. It’s always about finishing something off. MO is building a road that finishes abruptly and requires further work.

          “Would you take your family on a bike ride to the airport from Whitby (North of Porirua) or Upper Hutt for a family holiday or take your son to the regional hospital? No, you would use a vehicle.”

          I think I know what you’re asking. My answer is that I would prefer public transport to get to the airport or a holiday or a hospital. And that city centres are important places to ride bikes.

          “Despite all the reports that there will be reduction of vehicle use, the reality, there will be trucks and cars coming into or passing through the Wellington central city zone regardless of climate change.”

          We get what we plan for. Traffic evaporation is real. Build what you’re wanting, and the induced traffic will be real, too.

        4. Heidi – You are missing the point. Wellington City is one of 7 city and district councils that make up the the Greater Wellington Region.

          SH 1 finishes at Wellington Airport, yet vehicles arriving/out of Wellington city boundaries, as most of the regional facilities are within the Wellington city boundaries which finishes at Tawa.

          Since central government is responsible for SH 1, they should complete SH 1 as originally planned to deflect non essential regional traffic away from the central city zone.

          What Wellington city ratepayers want, especially those living in the city’s eastern, southern and western suburbs is more efficient reliable bus network direct ‘loop’ services like the previous bus network instead of the current unreliable multi hub bus network and cycle ways.

          What the ratepayers in the other 6 cities/districts council boundaries want, is an efficient frequent reliable trains services to/from Wellington city and local bus services to their local train/bus interchanges like Waterloo station, Porirua station station, Waikanae station, etc, so they can travel to Wellington city for work, entertainment, etc instead of using their car. Currently the region’s train services are unreliable due the penny pinching policy the current GWRC councilors on public transport.

          The “Let’s Get Welly Moving” project should be “Let’s Get Wellington Region Moving” project.

    3. Kris, adding a 4th track into Wellington is unlikely to allow more frequent train services. The log-jam at Wellington Station is essentially caused by too many conflicting moves as trains to and from the adjacent yard criss-cross paths through the throat along with everything else that is coming and going. Also there are too many platforms tied up for too long with excessive turnaround-dwells. Even two approach tracks would suffice were it not for these problems (as Britomart currently demonstrates!)

      Sure, a 4th track would enable Hutt Valley and Kapiti services to be separated-out and to some degree de-conflicted, but it is more important to make changes to how trains enter and leave service, and how long they spend tying up platforms at busy times. These measures would make more difference than simply adding a 4th track to the existing tangle.

      1. I agree with you, especially with the last paragraph of your comment. What you have said, is what Kiwirail has said to the GWRC to increase frequency of train services in/out of the station but at large cost.

        I believe, that Platforms 1 ans 2 is for the Johnsonville and Melling lines, Platforms 3 and 4 is for the Hutt Line, Platforms 5 and 6 for the Kapiti Line, Platform 7 for the Wairarapa Connection back up for the Kapiti Line, Platform 8 is the Capital Connection and Platform 9 for long distance trains (Northern Explorer). Some of the $2.2 billion for the Rapid Transit (light right) could be use to reconfigure the station’s track layout for increase frequencies.

        To increase train frequency, the GWRC would have to fund additional train services but the current council leadership is in ‘lets do it cheaply as possible’ mode.

      2. Kris, you probably haven’t noticed, but many buses do run to the hospital so that people can choose that method of transport. While I didn’t use that method in Wgtn I certainly do on the North Shore and remain unscathed from the experience.
        Sure people might choose to drive to the hospital.
        I am aware that some on the Shore have demanded cheap parking should they do so. Not every solution suits everyone. As the DHB said, or the more thoughtful ones, we would prefer to spend our health dollars on health issues.

        1. I am fully aware there are alot of buses passing the Wellington regional hospital but if they are living out Wellington city boundary like in Porirua, Petone, etc, they will use their car to travel to/from the hospital not public transport, hence the completion of the inner city by of SH 1 between the Terrace and Mt Victoria tunnels and a revamp efficient, frequent and reliable bus/train networks not what the GWRC is providing at the moment.

  11. We need the rapid transit to be light rail and it is essential to get it to Newtown. (disclaimer – Mr and Mrs mfwic own a villa in Newtown and are intend living there when they retire.)

    1. Light rail is an expensive toy that is not going to solve traffic congestion. The $2.2 billion for a 1 route system could be spend on improve the bus and rail networks.

      1. but building a second terrace tunnel to encourage more driving is money well spent? More roads means more driving. It really is that simple.

        1. There is a cheaper option and not to build the second Mt Victoria tunnel, by adopting 3 lanes between the Terrace and Mt Victoria tunnels instead of the planned four lanes.

          This could be achieved by having a more integrated efficient bus/train networks and region wide integrated payment/ticketing system for bus, train and ferry travel, instead on the penny pinching shambolic networks the GWRC is currently giving the region’s ratepayers.

          By the way, the Save the Basin group is already protesting to stop the building of the second Mt Victoria Tunnel.

    2. As someone who was born and bred in Wellington / Hutt Valley and who only made the move to Auckland 20 years ago, I must warn you that progress in Wellington has near stalled, the inhabitants are now distinctly provincial, and the weather is crap.

      1. As a person bred, worked and use Wellington’s public transport most of my life, I am inclined to agree with you.

      2. The weather is a bit tough, but there is more to do in Wellington. Or at least there is more to do that you can actually get to. Auckland used to be easy to get around but now it is stuffed. They have made everything difficult in Auckland and add to that the stupid constraints on building means houses cost far too much. High prices also affect owners as you are wasting capital by living here. Far better to rent Auckland properties to those who will pay and live somewhere more affordable both in active retirement and in our dotage.

        1. Yes unfortunately those of us who were born and raised in Auckland are not that happy with the mess those fleeing the city have left us in to further their own enrichment, nor are we chuffed to be paying the bill. At some point, we may have to call in the Piper.

        2. “They have made everything difficult in Auckland”

          Yeah rightio. They. The ones building the roads or the ones driving on the roads, miffy?

        3. Auckland is far easier to get around than when I wore a younger man’s clothes.

          Back then you couldn’t but drive over the harbour bridge to leave the north shore, which meant going to university by car in an hour’s traffic, or a bus stuck in an hour’s traffic. It’s still the same in the car, but at least you can get the busway past the queues in 20 minutes.

          I can ride a bike out west to Pt Chev on a separated cycleway, before the option was an act of death defiance on Great North Road.

          I could go on, you get the point. Traffic still just as shit but you’ve now got alternatives.

  12. Seems the Treasury are calling BS on this.
    Another massive failure of the Cindy Government and no surprise Twyford is at the helm. Some people thought that other parties would do a better job than National, but it seems there was a good reason more NZs voted Blue than for any of the others.

    1. Not a great start, ignoring treasury advice. Still, the govt can do this as there is little risk in being called to account for a 20 year in future project. BS indeed.

      1. @Lance A and MikeP – the Treasury being packed full of neo-liberals was what stuffed us all in the first place – ignoring Treasury and their narrow fixation on money and growth is a very good idea.

      2. You are confusing ‘ignoring’ treasury’s advice and ‘going against’ treasury’s advice. As a transport engineer, road safety auditors tell me that cycle lane separators are a trip hazard, which should be removed. I acknowledge their advice, and go against it.

        1. ‘Ignoring’ and ‘going against’ sound pretty disastrous if the advice is coming from your surgeon.
          You make a valid point, if Twyford had a record of success or fiscal expertise. We all know he has neither.
          It’s a grand plan. We could make one for Auckland too, something that puts a separated cycle lane on every road corridor and light rail to every burb. At the same time make all the highways 2 lanes in each direction with separations. The only fly in the ointment is it has to be paid for.
          You won’t find anyone that doesn’t think more spending on infrastructure is good, or spending on hospitals, education etc. But we just can’t afford this.

        2. Lots of people go against advice from surgeons. I have an acquaintance who was advised to get surgery to reattach a ligament in his shoulder. It would have seen unable to work for 3 months and only ever return to about 80% function. He decided to retain ~70% function and not have to go through the surgery

          Treasury can advise whether they think a cost is worthwhile, but that is a political decision, not a technical one. As long as Goff acknowledges the advice about how much debt will cost, and potential risks to credit rating, there is no problem going against advice to proceed or change tack.

  13. To be able to get on a Matangi at Waikanae, Upper Hutt, or any station on the network and whisk right through to the Southern CBD, Newtown, Kilbirnie and airport would go a long way towards un-blocking Wellington and reducing its regional dependence on cars.
    Shame the resources that could have achieved this have been squandered on super-sizing SH1 to encourage even more driving.

  14. Matt
    I really struggle to take any positives from this plan. The headline figures: public transport to grow at a simple rate of 2% over the next 17 years. Compare that with AUckland currently around 6% without even trying.
    In the same area 50% more motorists. Where does climate change figure in this? Is the plan to replace road barriers with a line of tree planting? Sadly beyond planting trees the govt policy seems without focus.

    1. Uh, Auckland is pretty far from ‘without even trying’.

      Auckland has rolled out an entirely new bus network with massive frequency and span improvements, delivered a whole new fleet of double decker buses, electrified it’s rail lines, delivered new trains at improved span and frequency, built half a dozen new major interchange stations, rolled out an integrated ticket, rolled out integrated fares on a zone structure, and is extending one busway, building another, ordering more trains, extending train lines and planning for whole new rapid transit corridors.

      Auckland has done, and is still doing, a whole lot of the right things. It is earning it’s patronage growth after ten years of planning and project delivery.

  15. Nick, yes I am aware of all those changes and they are all historical. Much of the current growth is comprised of the surge of the NEX and I believe that may be due to moving passengers from say, the Browns Bay, Milford etc services. Maybe there is even double counting?

    We came from a run down PT system so the only way was up.

    Growth in terms of numbers is very poor compared to world leading cities.
    Car mode share at around 81% is appalling and AT has made no impact on that.
    I am not sure that double deckers add to patronage. I am observing older trams in Europe packed to capacity. I think that frequency is probably more important than infrastructure, recognising that they come from diffferent budgets.
    I don’t mean to diminish the efforts of GA because they have been immeasurable and have achieved great results.
    My view is that the answer to reducing emissions will need substantial PT growth. We need the targets for mode share reduction like Milan or Vienna. That will demand more than just relying on two light rail systems in ten years. Allowing a million extra kids to ride for free on the weekends will do nothing for our transport system given that many of those trips will be discretionary and of no value.
    Whoever is running our PT needs to have a coherent plan and nothing is evident at the moment. Too harsh? My experience in dealing with AT over the last couple of years leaves me very cautious that the unambitious targets they have set will be delivered. I am equally sure that AT can’t rely on past projects to deliver continuing growth. Train numbers recently seem to suggest that.

    1. They have changed the categorisation of a lot of service to rapid and frequent, so those categories appear artificially large on month to month. No double counting, just different labels.

      But look at the rolling totals, the growth is there and very strong. 7% growth from the last 12 months compared to the 12 before that.

      Nine millon new trips added in the last year, that’s an average of 17,000 trips a day more per year. Show me any city of less than two million residents doing that?

      These changes are not ‘historical’, they are current changes. We are still reaping the benefits of the current programme of upgrades and will continue to do so for years. Service changes take several years to bed in and stabilise, buses last 12 to 15 years, infrastructure lasts fifty to a hundred.

      For example, the double decker programme added about 40% capacity to a series of bus routes where people were being crowded off and left behind? Remember the last few years of March Madness, people stuck on the street, angry campaigns from residents groups to fix it? And this year, barely a peep. They fixed the immediate capacity issue and sorted the problem out. It’ll be fine for another couple years then they growth will have saturated that.

      But it’s not like they’ve stopped. See the announcement today about the Puhinui interchange? The projects keep ticking along. I know its popular to claim AT/Council/Government are useless and sit around all day doing nothing, but it’s not true. They are delivering these gains by delivering the right stuff, its the basics, but getting the basics right is the definition of a good transit system.

      Wellington on the other hand, well, that remains to be seen. They are now far behind Auckland in the basics.

      1. Yes the Auckland projects keep ticking along. I have noticed that projects with some external urgent timing tend to get done with priority. The Puhinui Station interchange with contract just let and 18 month expected completion has always been touted as necessary for the America Cup in 2021. Hence the action.
        The Albert St CRL tunnel and Britomart associated works were pushed because of the mercury bay developers need to get on with their buildings.
        Otherwise transport projects tend to languish in inaction and bureaucracy delays, reanalysing and rebusiness casing, cutbacks, reprioritising, delays or future shifting by kicking into future decades. The list of such projects is getting quite long.

      2. Nick, you haven’t addresssed mode share in the same way that AT haven’t.
        I don’t know of another city with 9 million trips added, but Vienna has added 7.5 million on a base of 950 million. My concern is that the AKld rate of growth is slowing with little seemingly to give it real impetus. As you say on many routes we have plenty of spare capacity with 40% having been added.
        I am less certain that AT is spending money on the right things. I am concerned that there is a lazy $30 million tied up in parking at Puhinui that is unlikely to produce revenue to even cover the cost of capital. The consequence of this is that other projects will be delayed.
        Surveys regularly show that the majority want better PT in Auckland. They have a mandate to be more aggressive. The sky didn’t fall in when parking charges were raised at Downtown. It is unlikely that there will be rioting on the streets if other parking prices are increased. More steps to generate revenue and discourage driving might start to convince me that AT is really serious about better transport outcomes other than for cars. Research suggests that our environment demands it.
        I wish that my interactions with AT had been as positive as yours.

        1. Yes I never spoke about modeshare. I was simply pointing out that Aucklands strong and consistent patronage growth was not due to ‘not even trying’.

          My views on modeshare are quite clear, transit and traffic are largely separate. Indeed we are doing quite well at growing transit, very well in fact. But I agree, we aren’t doing so well on the traffic front.

        2. Vienna is rated as the best public transport city in the world. If Auckland was even slightly near Vienna in performance, it would be like the Austrian Rugby team winning the World Cup this year.

          Slowly, slowly baby steps. Except they have actually been at least teenager steps in the last few years.

  16. i am enviously sitting in the capital wondering if the equity from the sale of my house might get me something in Auckland. Ive had enough zero progress here.

    1. Agree Wellington is being left behind and it is so frustrating. Not sure why extending the existing rail 1.5km into the cbd is not being looked at for example, would make the train system so much more appealing to so many. Still this announcement is largely positive

      1. “Not sure why extending the existing rail 1.5km into the cbd is not being looked at”

        I can assure you that at least one person is looking at it. ME.
        Now if only I ruled the world. . . .

  17. Don’t duplicate the motorway through Wellington, replace it with an extended rail line on the same route. Wellington needs to stop trying to expand or ‘finish’ the motorway and start converting our transport corridors to higher capacity uses. I have heard wellingtonians talk about not ending up like Auckland but they don’t realise Aucklands trajectory will pass them by while they continue to go backwards. I left Wellington in 2011 and moved back 2 months ago. Nothing has changed. Auckland has fundamentally transformed in that time.

      1. I don’t think Wellington has ever tried to be a “world city”, and it is perfectly happy being a small, cool, provincial city. Auckland has always had the hunger to grow and to expand and, above all, to make money.

        Wellington is reasonably happy to just stay small. When the WCC were doing their “Planning for Growth” proposals, the comment from most people here seemed to be “what on earth do we want to grow for? Aren’t we happy just the way we are?”

        That’s by no means a bad thing. Growth is, by the GDP economic model, imperative, but by the more green holistic earth model: growth is on a fast track to destruction. NZ is growing incredibly fast by global OECD standards (due to our high immigration numbers), and as we have seen, untrammelled growth in dairy, for instance, is no longer seen as such a good thing.

        1. I agree with your comments about Wellington city not Wellington region where there is most of the urban growth.

  18. Dave I agree that extending the existing rail line through Newtown to the airport would provide fantastic service. Probably the best overall.
    However, in the complete absence of any existing corridor the cost of creating either an elevated, or underground pathway complete with elevated or underground stations would seem to be prohibitive. Paying the half share of Auckland’s CRL at $4.4b for 3.5k of track plus 3 stations is a considerable impost on Auckland’s 1m odd ratepayers.
    For Wellington 10k of track plus say 6 stations, $12b, probably more, because of cut and cover tunnelling in the earthquake prone and sea level rise threatened, slush over much of the route. Paying half that cost, such as in Auckland, would be a massive massive impost to a very much smaller rate payer base. Getting the government, or more importantly the rest New Zealand’s population to pick up the entire cost is probably unrealistic. Getting support for a cheaper light rail option, with or without tracks, on existing roadways, is far more realistic but will still be very challenging . Light rail will not provide as fast a path through the city but the provision of more stops, and the much quicker access to street level stops will actually give shorter journey times for most trips within the city.
    The other considerable advantage of the light rail option, is that it can be staged, initially by the creation of the corridor space as dedicated bus priority measures.

    1. I agree with your comments.

      Extending the HR line from Wellington railway station to the airport, besides the costs, people forget the massive disruption in the central city zone, Newtown, Kilbirnie and to the airport and displacement of people in building it.

    2. Perhaps they should consider the other way. Extend the LRT to some of the train corridors, i.e. Jonsonville and Melling. That would leave the full capacity of the heavy rail system to run the two trunk lines at high frequency.

      Replacing the Melling branch with light rail would presumably require building duplicate light rail tracks to Petone, which would not be cheap. However you could run from there up through Petone, Hutt Central and the Hospital to Epuni or Naenae. That would give you one line taking in both major hospitals, the airport, the lower hutt and wellignton CBDs, and a dozen main suburbs.

    3. Don – indeed, if you scale the per-km cost of AK’s CRL over the distance Wgtn Station to Airport then the figures look very scary. However I’m not sure that is valid. You could extend 1Km along Wellington’s waterfront at-grade-covered-over (won’t go into detail here). This would be way cheaper than underground. I understand the deep-level K-Road station constitutes a major chunk of the CRL cost. Wellington would need nothing like this. Any underground stations would be cut+cover so would be more like Aotea. There is a possible route at-grade from Kilbirnie eastwards, and some property-purchase may be cheaper and preferable to undergrounding, particularly near sea-level. I am no civil engineer, surveyor or architect, but I am sure those with such skills could come up with solutions if they were asked to apply themselves and think laterally. NZ is supposed to be the nation of can-do! And after all, when NZTA or its predecessors want to build a motorway through the city, they find a way to ram it through. I am suggesting a proper, joined-up, ‘extend-what-we-have’ rail-solution as an alternative to more motorway construction. A light rail system local to Wellington City will not provide much of an incentive to those on the Kapiti Coast or Hutt Valley to switch to train, yet these areas are precisely where the city’s traffic problems begin. I say we can’t afford NOT to extend rail. And to do it properly.

      1. Dave, my limited understanding, and I welcome experienced comment, is that cut and cover is more expensive then deep boring through reasonable ground partly because of a lesser requirement to reroute existing services. I know from experience, excavating just 3m deep in customhouse quay was fraught, runny porridge (estuarine mud) that welled up inside a pit created with 8m deep sheet piles that needed propping apart. Dewatering was a huge problem as the water had to be given a place to go somewhere.
        The Nats loudly announced that they could save money by building Waterview as a cut and cover but quietly reverted to deep boring because it was in fact less expensive.
        It would be interesting to know the indicative costs for Aotea station and K road station, they must now be known.
        If there are potential grade separated above ground corridors for part of the route then they would be a huge asset to any selected PT system so well worth searching for and hopefully creating.
        The main benefit of decent public transport is to provide alternatives to the SOV for people doing the things they do most days of the week, like going to work, or school, not the relatively rare trips people make to and from the airport. Airport to City PT arguments have assumed unjustified importance in the Auckland PT debate, and now it seems in Wellington.

        1. Hi Don.
          I am no expert either, but my concern over the cost of deep boring in Auckland is specifically with regard to the K-Road station. But I may be going on hearsay only. It will be interesting to get a reliable cost comparison with Aotea station.
          My suggestion for Wellington is to run at-grade wherever possible and box over as necessary. But I haven’t fleshed out the details of just how and where this would work.

          As regards airport-to-city journeys for a Wellington rail-extension, these would be a small proportion only. The main idea is to connect a significant part of the region that is currently disconnected from the regional rail spine that serves other parts so well. The area is deemed important enough to warrant a motorway-connection to the regional motorway spine, so that should tell us something. . .

  19. Well I guess it’s some move in a better direction than more roading.

    Still not the ideal in my opinion though.

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