The preferred option, known as option 1, introduces mass rapid transit to the South Coast and continuous bus priority to the East, and focuses on a new Mt Victoria tunnel with dedicated provision for public transport, walking and cycling, as well as upgrades at the Basin Reserve to improve flows and physically separate movements and extend the Arras tunnel. As a package this option moves the most people possible from the southern and eastern suburbs, supports the most housing and urban development of all the options, and makes city streets better for everyone.
The next stage will involve detailed investigations which will test assumptions. Bus rapid transit will also be investigated further as a reserve plan may be appropriate given technological developments.
The Chair of Greater Wellington, Daran Ponter, says it was an important step towards significant investment in our region’s transport system.
“The preferred option, further testing through detailed investigations, and the fallback option of BRT are important and helped Councillors come to an agreement during discussions today.
“Striking the right balance between action and flexibility gives us confidence for a mass rapid transport future for Wellington and paves the way for dedicated public transport corridors and a connection to the wider Metlink network, which will be fantastic news for existing and future public transport users and the environment,” says Chair Ponter.
Wellington Mayor Andy Foster says today’s decision is an exciting milestone for the capital. “The goal remains the same in terms of moving the most amount of people with the fewest vehicles, but today’s endorsement provides direction and flexibility around the necessary infrastructure and the mode of transport needed to meet Wellington’s urban growth in the future.
“I’m particularly excited by the integrated approach to transport and urban development, and the work being done in partnership with the Government to actively drive delivery of housing and urban renewal rather than just passively zoning for intensification.
“There is in-built flexibility around the use of light rail or buses – depending on the extent of urban development possible along the confirmed MRT corridor – but also in-built certainty on the route itself, a second tunnel through Mt Victoria and resolving traffic issues around the Basin Reserve.
“Whatever mode of transport is selected, it will usher in a new, improved, sustainable way for Wellingtonians and visitors to move around the city as we look to become carbon neutral by 2050,” says Mayor Foster.
For more information on the Government’s announcement and the preferred option report visit the Beehive website.