Have Your Say on Wellington Roads, Urges Mayor

4 July 2011

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown has urged Wellingtonians to have their say on the most significant roading projects in Wellington since the Inner City Bypass: the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) proposals from Buckle Street to Cobham Drive.

Ms Wade-Brown welcomed the multimodal approach included in the proposals, with walking, cycling and public transport capacity integral to future management of the traffic flow in the city.

"This is a key issue for Wellington City. We have a great opportunity to get this right and put in place a solution that balances all the city's needs - not one simply focused on moving cars around. It's important that Wellingtonians make themselves heard on this issue and engage in the consultation process."

However, she said the proposed flyover shadowing the Basin Reserve could be a missed opportunity for Wellington. "Given the NZTA assumptions around future traffic growth, as a city we need to consider whether unattractive flyovers are the best way to address congestion and mobility in our coolest little capital.

"I will be proposing to the NZTA that options other than flyovers near the Basin - a cut and cover option for example - also be considered. As a capital city we're already thinking towards 2040 and the Wellington we want to shape.

"Whatever is built will be around for many more decades, so let's invest in a solution that won't spoil the cityscape for future generations. Let's make the solutions smart, green and best for the long term.

"The timetable for most of the road construction is long term, with the duplicate tunnel under Mount Victoria and the doubling of Ruahine Street not scheduled until after Transmission Gully and the Kapiti Expressway. By that time, fuel prices could well exceed the high scenario of $2.50 per litre."

Mayor Wade-Brown said long term increasing of road capacity is only part of the package to tackle traffic congestion, and Council is already committed to a multimodal approach, for example this week increasing cycling funding in the Council's annual plan.

Next year will see the high quality public transport study completed and the Public Transport Plan is out for consultation. It is essential that we also put in place immediate and practical solutions to traffic issues by improving:

  • the quality, reliability and affordability of our public transport
  • implementing more bus priority lanes
  • focusing on our walking and cycling networks.

Ms Wade-Brown said she looked forward to the consultation process being undertaken by NZTA and was keen to hear the views of Wellingtonians. Council would analyse submissions carefully before making a decision on its preferred position in September or October.

Wellington Inner-city Transport Improvements - NZTA website