INDEPENDENT NEWS

Proposed Wgtn tunnels fattening and carbon-mad!

Published: Thu 6 Dec 2007 12:25 AM
Proposed Wellington tunnels are fattening and carbon-mad!
"The Terrace and Mt Victoria tunnels suggested in the Ngauranga to Airport Strategic Study are a 1960s solution for a 21st century city that is committed to carbon neutrality." says Celia Wade-Brown.
Urban settings play a major role in facilitating and enabling healthy lifestyle choices. In particular, they can provide opportunities for maintaining or reintroducing walking and cycling as part of daily life, contributing to more physically active lifestyles and reducing obesity and risks for important diseases such as coronary heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes.
Increasing road capacity is an expensive way of going in the wrong direction. Short term congestion reduction is generally followed by more traffic on the same roads. More traffic on Ruahine Street means more delays at Kilbirnie Crescent and more traffic along the bypass which divides Southern Wellington from the centre of the city.
With limited funding available, it makes sense to transform the public transport system so Wellington is more resilient to oil price increases. Plenty of studies show that reducing capacity makes for a more pleasant city - as long as there's good public transport.
People can't take their cars on a plane so a much more frequent Flyer service must be part of the solution of getting to and from the Airport - with a convenient sheltered bus stop at the airport not the current wind-blasted spot.
Green Councillor Wade-Brown, who moved successful amendments to toughen up Wellington City Council's carbon neutral goals this week, says central government funding would probably be better spent on safety improvements and public transport. "$250 million on tunnels makes light rail sound quite a bargain at $140 million." says Ms Wade-Brown
Children can't easily cross Ruahine Street to go east to Hataitai School or west to the Hataitai Park sport facilities. The high speed corridor concept reduces the ability to make local trips by active modes - walking, running and cycling.
"Let's hear what people say. 79% of Wellington residents* state they're ready to change their behaviour to help reduce climate change, so there will likely be an outcry against increasing private vehicle traffic."
Ms Wade-Brown will be working with a range of groups to mobilise Wellington residents and businesses to have their say. She is a multi-modal traveller, walking to her local shops, cycling to work, catching the bus and train from time to time and driving a vege-oil car for some tricky trips like taking an elderly relative to the hospital or early morning children's soccer games.
* Residents Satisfaction Survey, referenced in Climate Change Action
Plan
http://www.wellington.govt.nz/haveyoursay/meetings/committee/Strategy_and_Policy/2007/05Dec0915/pdf/4_Climate_Change.pdf
- note further targets have been introduced.
People can have their say at
http://www.wellington.govt.nz/haveyoursay/publicinput/ngauranga.htm l
by 22nd February.
Cr Celia Wade-Brown
Wellington City Councillor
ENDS

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