More tunnels in which to hide from the new climate

Wellington City Council wants to spend $250 million tunnelling through Mt Victoria and extending State Highway One to Wellington Airport.  The Mayor, Kerry Prendergast, seems to think this is going to happen no matter what people think:

‘I think there are some [things] we have to do,’ she told The Dominion Post.

…Ms Prendergast said a new Mt Victoria tunnel should be a high priority, regardless of what submitters to the study say.

Well, that will certainly encourage democratic participation.

Prendergast’s tunnel vision is odd given the Council’s long standing cost objections to building a cheaper ($140 million) light rail system to solve exactly the same transport concerns.

As Green Party Wellington City Councillor Celia Wade Brown notes ‘people can’t take their cars on a plane.’ So the real solution to transport to the airport should include extensive public transport, not more roads or holes in our landscape.  

‘The high speed corridor concept reduces the ability to make local trips by active modes – walking, running and cycling.’

59 thoughts on “More tunnels in which to hide from the new climate

  1. The empty land identified by Kahikatea running from Queens Drive in Kilbirnie to the Airport is a sewer reserve, probably one of the main sewers to Moa Point. It probably is not therefore available for rail.

    A dedicated right of way like the J’ville line is not possible east of Mt Vic, there is simply no room. Light rail would work, just throw the trains down Rongotai Road.

  2. samiuela, The first part of your argument is quite correct. Increasing patronage on existing services does improve the efficiency and economics of public transport.

    The last part of your argument is also quite correct. Adding more services means you have to add even more passengers to regain your original efficiency and economics.

    As far as I can see, the only way to shift people from cars to PT that doesn’t result in medium term increases in carbon emmissions is to savagely increase the price of petrol and parking spaces. Those increased prices can then be spent increasing PT services to meet the new level of demand. This is essentially what was done with London’s congestion cordon. It is also what has been done with a number of other town centre traffic reduction schemes. The crucial thing is that car access is always made more expensive before or at the same time as PT services are increased. It’s a carrot and stick approach that actually works. Bus priority measures are a carrot and stick approach that doesn’t work because the increase in cost is in the form of a tiny increase in travel time for each car traveller.

    It is a vain hope to think that spending more on PT will magically solve the global warming crises. Each sustained jump in the price of petrol has produced more increase in PT use than all of the increases in PT subsidies in the last 10 years. The government just needs to give those increases a helping hand so that kiwis can start pay post peak oil prices per peak oil, that way the switch from cars to PT will occur at a rate that won’t slam-dunk the economy.

  3. Kevyn,

    The flaw in your argument about the efficiency and economics of public transport is that you use current patronage figures. If more people take PT, then the number of people per bus will increase, making the fuel per passenger kilometre figures better. At peak hours, the increase in patronage will mean more buses will be required.

  4. insider said: Given the existence of reasonable bus services already from the airport…

    Humph! The one I was on yesterday afternoon broke down and I had to walk right round Moa Point with a heavy bag to get to my flight.

  5. BJ

    As long as the wind is blowing (or not blowing too hard) when all those buses are needed to take us home in the middle of winter when we are turning the lights on and all those heat pumps the govt keeps encouraging us to install.

  6. Yes… I want to see those wind farms on the ridges all the way along SH1 and more… I think the damned things are gorgeous 🙂

    Cause we DO need to have a lot more renewable electricity if we’re to keep anything like the lifestyle we’re accustomed to having.

    Easier to expect that than anything else though.

    BJ

  7. bj, That’s true.

    But it does take us back to the reasons for replacing trams with buses. That all hinged around the future need to provide public transport services in the modern suburban cities. With the technology of the day it was cataneries or nothing. Advances in battery technology may mean that buses can charge their batteries while travelling on the arterial part of their route and run on batteries on residential streets. I don’t know how expensive diesel will have to get before that becomes a cost effective option.

    If we expect electric PT to deliver even half the mobility we get from the internal combustion engine then we need to face up to the actual amount of electricity that will be needed to acheive that. The confounding factors I mentioned are crucial to working out a realistic amount of generating capacity to achieve the switch. Start with the fact that just over half of our vehicle travel occurs in urban areas = two billion litres of petrol. Convert to btu then kw/h then make some reasonable assumptions about how much of that petrol is consumed during the peak commute hours, the effects that peak oil will have on PT load factors and overall urban travel demand and confounding factors. The answer will be somewhere between 0.1 gW and 1 gW per during the peak hour of the peak period. Unfortunately that coincides with the current shoulder peak electricity demand in winter. We don’t have that much spare generating capacity.

    At least New Zealand is in the fortunate position of having ample potential to get that electricity from either installing renewable capacity or reducing profligate consumption in buildings, unlike the USA. Europe doesn’t have to replace as much urban transport fuel consumtion but it also has less potential to either instal renewable capacity or reduce profligate consumption in buildings.

  8. Kevyn – Buses can be electrified using current technology. A car cannot carry that sort of kit on top of it. BJ

  9. samiuela, When I had a look at the maplink provided by StephenR I found that there are two Mt Vic tunnels, a single lane one for buses and a narrow two lane one for general traffic. One of the tunnel options is for a tunnel between Pirie St to Ruahine St. Since this is almost parallel to the bus tunnel it would be an effective solution to increasing bus frequency which is currently limited by the one lane bus tunnel.

    If the WCC was planning for improvements only for traffic generated by the current activity east of Mt Vic. better roads would make sense. However the proposal to create satellite CBDs (WCC call them growth nodes) means they are planning for a huge increase in trips generated by these new actvities. Common sense says they should be planning to move traffic (including buses) out of the way of a future light rail system. The Pirie tunnel option allows buses to operate pretty much on their current routes without needing a tunnel of their own. This tunnel could then be used for light rail. Light rail vehicles can carry as many people as ten buses so this would make more efficient use of the single lane tunnel.

    On your first point, sadly the argument should be stated “buses and trams (b)can(/b) hold many more passengers than cars” but in reality they almost never do. Firstly because the nature of PT services means they tend to gradually fill up or empty out as they travel along their route. Secondly because commuter traffic is one way in the morning and the other way in the evening means they are empty half the time. Thirdly to meet the needs of the transport disadvantaged without incurring additional capital costs PT must operate outside of peak periods with vehicles scaled for peak period demand.

    Christchurch Metro pasenger surveys found that half their passengers would make the trip by car if there was no bus service. The other half would not make the trip or would have to walk or cycle. Thus even in Christchurch where there are an average of 16 passengers on each inbound or outbound bus this equates to a maximum 8 cars removed from the roads for each bus. The impact in peak periods will of course be much greater and these are often the only times when the road network is lacking capacity. Unfortunately PT also lacks peak capacity and it is the cost of providing buses and drivers for those brief periods that is the main barrier to PT improvements.

    However from a sustainability perspective we also need to consider several confounding factors. First, the average car journey is less than three-quarters of the length of the average bus route. Second, buses are heavier than cars therefore they use between two and three times more fuel. Thus we reduce 8 by at least three-quarters then divide by two or three to arrive at the car carbon eliminated by a bus carrying an average of 16 passengers.

  10. Frog said “Well, that will certainly encourage democratic participation.”

    Democracy often delivers the people what they deserve. If Auckalnd ratepayers hadn’t voted against a special loan to extend their tramlines in 1927 they might have ended up with a transit friendly city instead of a Transit friendly region.

  11. Kevyn and Bjchip:

    There is already a tunnel through Mt Victoria. If there are less cars and more buses or trams, additional roads will not be required, because buses and trams hold many more passengers than cars.

    I haven’t lived in Wellington for over four years now, so maybe it is different now, but when I did, I cycled from Strathmore to the city. There were three ways: through Newtown, which had quite a bit of traffic and was a little bit hilly, around the bays, which was flat but longer distance, and through the Mt Vic tunnel (on the footpath), which was smelly (exhaust fumes). I usually took the bay route, because it was more scenic, and felt safer.

    Once they started screwing around with the roads near the tunnel, it became a nightmare for cycling that route (unless I biked illegally on the footpath). So I take your point about good routes for bikes, but I think this could be achieved without building more roads.

  12. Or Bicycles Kevyn…. going through tunnels beats the hell out of going up and down hills in the rain.

    Samiuela, in this there is a measure of savings…. going over hills instead of through them is expensive in terms of energy unless you get very clever about your energy recovery mechanisms. We’ve not ever done that, but it could be done.

    I want more routes, and roads establish them as well as anything does. The roads build for roman foot soldiers are still routes in old europe, with roads and rail both running through those corridors.

    However, that said…. the question of what will be left as the sea level rises has to be asked. How long can the airport stay where it is? How long can the city stay where and as IT is? Our preparations are, in terms of planning for the future, laughable though I think the airport is high enough that it can stay where it is for another century or so… The question is actually what happens to the city?

    Building a lot of long-term infrastructure along the shore seems one of the sillier ways to spend our children’s money.

  13. samiuela, “if this $250 million tunnel is built, how long will it be needed?” By cars? Maybe only a decade or three. By land transport? Indefinitely, provided it’s big enough for buses or trams. Ditto for all new roads and motorways really.

  14. OK,

    So if this $250 million tunnel is built, how long will it be needed? Whether you believe peak oil has already arrived, or is still 20 years away, it seems like a poor investment to me, even ignoring all other environmental considerations?

    I can understand why people don’t see the urgency of reducing CO2 emissions … after all, climate change is something which creeps up on you over decades. But surely the rapidly increasing price of petrol over just the last two or three years should be ringing warning bells with the people planning new roads???

    Now this is pure speculation, but why has OPEC just decided to not increase oil production? Is it because they want to keep the price of oil high, or is it because they are not capable of increasing production? Personally, I think it is probably something to do with trying to maintain high prices, but one day soon, it will be because they simply can’t produce any more.

  15. kahikatea, StephenR provided this map link. Zoom in and select satellite view. This right of way flows into Queens Dr heading north. It appears to be the southern boundary of the proposed Kilbirnie growth node (satellite CBD). The other proposed growth node is Newtown with possible light rail along Adelaide Rd so that is the route light rail would have to take to be cost-effective.

    http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Wellington,+Wellington,+New+Zealand&sa=X &oi=map&ct=title

    The “motorway” is essentially an expressway duplication of the existing SH1 corridor east of Mt Vic. as far as Cobham Dr. There are two options for a tunnel, a duplicate Mt Vic Tunnel or a tunnel approx parallel to Hataitai Tunnel (Pirie St to Ruahine St.) The first option would allow completion of the foothills motorway plan (circa 1963). The second makes this impossible and unnecessary by continuing the separation of the east and west bound portions of SH1 all the way to the east of Mt Vic.

  16. > # insider Says:
    > December 7th, 2007 at 4:40 pm

    > Kahikatea – corridors may be identified but I don’t think they are reserved, ie there are no empty corridors waiting to be built on. I grew up in teh area and must have missed those empty tracts.

    I fond this most intriguing, as I was walking along it only last week. So it’s definitely there. Unless it’s one of those magic places that’s there for some people, but not for others – and it doesn’t look magic, it looks neglected.

    It starts at the bottom of Kilbirnie Hill, just North of Endeavour St, and it continues eastwards half a block north of Endeavour St. It skims the southern edge of the bus barns, then on past the southern edge of Rongotai College to the airport runway. Most of the way it’s just grassy, and I’d say it’s wide enough for double tracks.

    I’d swear I’m not imagining it!

  17. The solution is obvious. Push Mt Victoria into the harbour entrance as landfill.

    That will connect up Eastbourne, give lots of room for light rail, roads and bike tracks and as a bonus, the ferry trip to Picton will be 10 minutes quicker.

    Now stop getting distracted and build transmission gully.

  18. Thanks Kevyn that seems to say light/rail is a waste of time based on passenger numbers unless you kill the alternatives, and that buses is the way to go.

    Kahikatea – corridors may be identified but I don’t think they are reserved, ie there are no empty corridors waiting to be built on. I grew up in teh area and must have missed those empty tracts.

  19. # insider Says:
    December 7th, 2007 at 3:21 pm

    > There is not a lot of room for a rail corridor. WHich houses are going to be demolished (think inner city bypass but much worse as you will be going through the heart of the middle class). This thread started with an objection to a new tunnel for Wgtn, well exactly which tunnel will this rail line run through?

    There is already a rail corridor through Kilbirnie/Lyall Bay/Rongotai, which has been empty land since these suburbs were laid out. You would have to knock down some houses in Newtown and drill a tunnel under the Melrose ridge to get to it.

    >Given the existence of reasonable bus services already from the airport and their relatively low patronage, what miracle will move people onto a rail system in great enough numbers to make it viable to a system which will duplicate many of the limitations of buses – ie the relative inflexibility compared to a taxi or car.

    I wouldn’t stop it at the airport – I would continue it to Miramar North. In this case, it would serve areas served by the Lyall Bay bus route, the Newtown Park bus route, the Miramar bus route, the Airport bus route and a large part of the areas served by the Seatoun and Strathmore bus routes. And it would be quicker and more comfortable than a bus, so I think it would get quite a lot of passengers, actually. And take quite a lot of cars and buses off the road.

  20. In a follow up to Kevyn’s post, just exactly where will this rail line run and realistically how many people would use it? Much of wellington is pinned between the hills and the sea. There is not a lot of room for a rail corridor. WHich houses are going to be demolished (think inner city bypass but much worse as you will be going through the heart of the middle class). This thread started with an objection to a new tunnel for Wgtn, well exactly which tunnel will this rail line run through?

    Given the existence of reasonable bus services already from the airport and their relatively low patronage, what miracle will move people onto a rail system in great enough numbers to make it viable to a system which will duplicate many of the limitations of buses – ie the relative inflexibility compared to a taxi or car.

  21. Oh FFS Emerald! Why not just force us to shave our heads and wear grey striped pyjama work uniforms too. In case you hadn’t noticed, there are plenty of apartments in Wellington, in fact there is an oversupply. Are you seriously suggesting people be forced to live where YOU insist. It doesn’t take much to scratch through the green veneer to get to the true command and control heart.

  22. Why doesn’t Wellington increase the density of accommodation in the centre so that so many don’t have to travel?
    Have every new office development put a few floors of apartments on the top.
    And make it known that companies whose top management don’t live in these apartment don’t get access to government contracts!!

  23. Actually the story said the $250 million is to complete the Terrace Tunnels and build a new Mt Vic tunnel and the total spending on the corridor will probably be $650 million. Unless the connection between the two tunnels is to be modelled on the Duluth Lakefront Freeway it will end up dividing the city instead of uniting. I can’t see this modern approach fitting within the proposed budget. Details of the Duluth citizens revolt and photos of the revitalised lakeside:
    http://www.mindspring.com/~tbgray/prch4.htm

    I can’t see how an effective light rail could be built for a mere $110 million. Alstom’s website provides enough information to estimate likely costs in NZ dollars of almost $10 million for a 500 passenger Citadis trainset and $10 million per km for tracks, cataneries and tramstops, I presume this is double track. Logically the route should be from the railway station to the airport, a distance of 7km. Ergo $70 million plus the cost of a tunnel. It would require at least two trainsets to provide a half hour service, based on Portland’s lightrail average speed of 12.5 mph, but you would really need a much more frequent service for the railway-CBD portion. The Federal Transit Administration’s analysis of rail projects that it has funded revaels that capital costs on average exceed initial estimates by 20%, patronage is on average overestimated by two-thirds and most projestcs have delivered only three-quarters of what was included in the original plan. Generally that is the result of a combination of fewer trainsets were purchased, less stations were built, some doubletracking was reduced to single track , trains are scheduled less frequently. The result is that real capital costs are typically underestimated by almost half resulting in the project being scaled down by one-third to stay within the approved funding and thus loosing one-third of it’s projected passengers and revenues.

    Whichever option is finally selected you can expect an outcry about the cost overruns.

    Since there is an implication that lightrail is a more sustainable option it might be worth looking at the actual energy intensities of various transport modes. The only stats I have been able to find are from the US Dept of Energy. In all cases except school buses and trains the New Zealand figures are probably 20% better because of lighter vehicles. The units are btu’s per passenger mile or occupant miles for cars/SUVs.
    School bus 837, intercity bus 964, intercity car 2584, Amtrak 2709, heavt commuter rail 2755, scheduled airlines 3264, lightrail 3458, urban car 4306, transit bus 4323, urban car/SUV/MPV 5099. Note that most transit buses are airconditioned which is not the case in this country and that EuroIV buses are up to 20% more fuel efficient than older buses. School and intercity buses probably have the advantage of essentially being one way services whereas (the same as cars) whereas the other PT are essentially running empty half their travel in peak times.

    Possibly most important is the fact that eliminating SUVs would make private cars as sustainable as transit buses. If all those cars had diesel engines they would be as sustainable as lightrail. Since banning petrol engines would produce this carbon redution benefit in rural areas and small towns as well as in the big cities it would IMHO be a better use of resources to retrofit the vehicle with diesel engines rather than invest in public trasport. Especially as retrofitting could be fully implemented within a decade which is all time we have if we want to halt carbon emmissions growth in time to make any real impact on AGW.

  24. Gerrit, the good news is that the passenger rail service will be extended to Helensville mid-2008.

    The bad news is that they are only planning to run one train each way a day. As if everyone starts and finishes work at the same time? So there will still be heaps of one-driver cars travelling into Auckland, parking all day, and travelling back clogging the motorways, and they will probably then say the service doesn’t attract enough passengers and close it down.

    I also agree with you that the slowness of the double tracking on the Western line is a problem. Swanson – Henderson should be completed by March 2008, but that won’t allow for increased frequency becaue the real bottleneck is New Lynn – Avondale. The double tracking is not scheduled to be completed there before the end of 2009, so until then it will still not be possible to have trains running at a frequency of more than every 18 minutes and any delay to one train holds up the rest for hours. Why they didn’t tackle New Lynn – Avondale first is beyond my comprehension. At least that way we could have had trains running every 10m between Henderson and Auckland CBD at peak hour.

  25. ># BluePeter Says:
    >December 6th, 2007 at 5:38 pm

    > Why does an environmentalist want to go to an airport? 🙂

    where else are you going to find a decent bookshop on the Miramar peninsula?

  26. ># StephenR Says:
    December 6th, 2007 at 2:19 pm

    > One thing im puzzled by: on this map of wellington, SH1 already goes straight to the airport?!

    Yes, but it’s too congested, because there’s no damn railway.

    Extending the railway out here would also mean we could go into town by train rather than by bus, meaning less congestion on Lambton Quay and Willis St.

    And in response to BluePeter, I have actually walked home from the airport once, though admittedly I live quite close, and I didn’t have much luggage. But the main demand to walk and cycle around the Eastern Suburbs isn’t from people going to or from the Airport – there are plenty of other places to go to out here.

  27. Toad,

    I agree with you about the rail plans for Auckland. The new SH20 extension should have include a rail easement for future use (it is being built on what was Railway – NZ taxpayer – owned land).

    The idea of a commercial airport at Whenuapai is never feasable unless a dedicated carrier makes it it’s home base.

    Wont be Air New Zealand or Quantas so will have to be a new entrant (Virgin). However Virgin want the ratepayer to fund the infastructure so cant see that happening.

    Plus public transport from anywhere on the Shore to Whenuapai is marginal at best.

    Problem with rail development in Auckland is the slowness of expanding the infastructure.

    Those rickity trains need to be updated, the double tracking on the North Auckland Line needs to speeded up (was in the budget two years ago).

    And the trains need to run further out (north as far as Helensville and south to Tuakau).

    A quick trip to Tuakau recently was an eye opener as people have seen the development of Pukekohe with a regular train service and have pegged Tuakau as the next place for development.

    We also need to see trains run intercity from Auckland to Hamilton, Tauranga, Rotorua, etc.

    As a rail fan it is good to see a renaissance in passenger rail services.

  28. Blue Peter asked: Why does an environmentalist want to go to an airport?

    To count the flights, record their destinations, and calculate the CO2 emissions!!!

    No, seriously Peter, that is like asking why does an environmentalist want to have electricity reticulated to their home.

    Personally, I fly only when I have to. I have a disability which means I cannot drive more than about three hours, so I fly more often than I would like, given the slowness and infrequency of inter-city bus services and the near absence of inter-city rail services. And New Zealand’s geographic isolation means that it is impracticable to get anywhere else in the world by any other means.

    Anyway, I do as much work as I can by email, web forums, teleconference, videoconference etc, but sometimes you just have to meet face to face with people to achieve anything.

    And I’ll admit to the occasional overseas holiday – like once every 3 years.

    It is a matter of being responsible about air travel – not abstaining completely from it.

  29. Yep, Sam C. Brisbane Airtrain is an example of why private ownership of transport infrastructure is just plain dumb. Unless the roading into the airport were tolled as well, the train just can’t compete.

    Nationalise it and charge a fare that reflects the cost of operating it, rather than requiring a return on capital investment, and the punters would flock to it.

    As far as Auckland is concerned, if we had a publicly owned rail link from either Puhinui or Onehunga to the airport (preferably a loop through both), the ridiculous $15 Airbus fare would be a thing of the past and the peak hour traffic congestion through Mt Roskill, Onehunga and Otahuhu would disappear. The best option would be to also extend the Onehunga line to join the Western line at Avondale – providing a rail service to Mount Roskill and Blockhouse Bay and meaning anyone from West Auckland could readily get to the airport by public transport.

    But no, Waitakere City Council want to build another airport at Whenuapai, which is completely unserviced by public transport, rather than get a decent public transport service into the existing one. So much for Waitakere’s claim to be an “Eco-City”.

  30. >>Why would anyone want to ride donkeys when there is a rail route?

    Why does an environmentalist want to go to an airport? 🙂

  31. Yay for donkeys! They have much cuter ears than cars and what’s good enough for Jesus Christ is good enough for me!

    The council should put in a ‘white donkey’ scheme, it would be dirt cheap and think of the publicity it would attract.

    Anyway, I live in Wellington and have never had much trouble getting to the airport. Wellington is a breeze to get around compared with most cities, even if you are stupid enough to take a car. In London a bus driver recommended that, to be on the safe side, I should I plan five hours to get from the centre to an airport.

  32. Yeah insider I think this whole issue should even possibly be a NON issue, in that theres not a LOT terribly wrong with Wellington’s services as is. I live in Auckland now and just moved from Wellington – auckland as everybody knows is the place that needs SOMETHING.

  33. Stuey

    I suspect BB takes no more offence than us rail-using Wellingtonians do to his unsubstantiated statement that almost nobody wants anything other than another tunnel.

    However, he believes it makes his posturing more effective if people think he angries up his blood over the issue.

  34. StephenR, the access fee is levied by the Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) to “cover the cost of construction” much like tolls on roads. Unfortunately, the access fee goes up and up as ridership decreases as the Airport Corporation aren’t getting their money back as quickly as they’d like. A ticket from the city to the station where the AirTrain branches off the main network is $5, BAC adds another $10 on top of that, making it bloody expensive. I live half one station from where the line branches off and it’s cheaper for my partner and I to get a taxi from our house to the Airport even with the congested roads coming up to the airport.

    BAC is more interested in turning a profit than providing a service with positive externalities such as reducing congestion on the Gateway Motorway and East-West Arterial Rd. The local council and State Government are looking at making things worse by building a 5km (unfiltered) tunnel called “AirportLink” which doesn’t even go to the airport. The money should be spent on AirTrain either subsidising the access fee or buying it back and integrating it in to the existing train network. BAC don’t even provide anything beyond the station buildings and the track (and a few unhelpful staff); everything else is taken care of by Queensland Rail.

  35. BB: “there are very few who want anything other than another tunnel”

    You going to provide a reference for this assertion (for once)? Did you personally go and ask them all? Have you got some survey results?

    Why on earth do you “take offence” at the suggestion that the public want light rail? Isn’t that an over-reaction?

    And aren’t you displaying the same flaws as Kerry P in this regard, saying it must be a tunnel and not light rail no matter what the public really think? Isn’t that a bit of an authoritarian position? You are going to give the people what you think is best for them no matter what they really want.

  36. Stephen

    For much of SH 1 route it is a suburban/city road rather than a two way expressway that some have visions of.

    Why build light rail when we have buses and a road already in place

  37. I’m sorry but I too grew up in the eastern suburbs and saw that test tunnel being excavated and closed, and $250m for a new tunnel is just a complete overkill. There are at least 3 routes to the airport from the city: the tunnel, the bays and Newtown. The tunnel is the quickest but the bays is a close second and newtown would be least favoured.

    I have regularly travelled to the airport and it is a quick journey, even at peak times. The main jams are the lights at Wellington Rd and the basin reserve. How will those be fixed by a new tunnel?

    This is a vanity project by the sound of it.

    As to why go by car, well it is nearly always a lot faster and simpler, and it is a bit difficult to have the family wave you off by bus. Isn’t this question best directed at all the GReen’s friends in cabinet who have large cars lined up for them out front of the airport most mornings?

  38. BB

    If the light rail keeps you from having to pay for, and find, parking in the center of the city it will be useful. Why do you want a car in the center of the city? There isn’t anywhere at all in Wellington central you can’t walk to from everywhere else, and probably faster than you can unpark, drive and park next to it.

    I think the route is going to be key to whether we get our money’s worth of it, but “Can’t take the car on the plane” is as near to an unanswerable point as there is…

    Funny… when I read “Eastern Suburbs” I immediately thought of Eastbourne . Sigh… not a native yet.

    respectfully
    BJ

  39. Why would anyone want to ride donkeys when there is a rail route? Again, the road would cost $110 million more.

    One thing im puzzled by: on this map of wellington, SH1 already goes straight to the airport?!

  40. >>he high speed corridor concept reduces the ability to make local trips by >>active modes – walking, running and cycling

    Sure. Run to the airport with two suitcases. During a hurricane.

    I don’t see how a motorway excludes other types of transport. And why is light rail better than a bus? The Airport Express bus will use the new motorway, and the Eastern suburbs will have better road access. Everyone wins, except the usual sandal-wearing suspects, who won’t be happy until we’re all riding donkeys.

  41. At $110 million more? And what about the rest of Wellington that isnt in the eastern suburbs, which is where the airport is?

  42. Xyy

    As a Wellingtonian I take offense at your suggestion that the public want light rail, I was raised in the Eastern suburbs and there are very few who want anything other than another tunnel and or a quicker car journey into town.

    Wellington needs a second terrace tunnel and a second tunnel through Mt Victoria, its as simple as that.

  43. A quarter of a billion dollars for a new airport road that will fill up within a decade?

    Light rail looks to be a bargain by comparison. Why not build that first and then see whether the new road is even necessary? Nope, Kerry will go for the car option regardless of what the submitters (i.e. public) want.

  44. Conclusion: Sydney-ites are silly? I really dont know if the airport is miles away or really really close, so $10 COULD be a rip off. But yes whole heartededly agree with this topic post. I would love to see the proposed route for a Wellington light rail system though

  45. The thing about the cost of the airport train in Sydney is that people don’t compare the cost of it with the cost of a taxi or shuttle. They compare the cost of it with the cost of all the other train lines and they see that it is much more expensive than them, and they think “rip off!” and get someone to drive them instead.

  46. What is an ‘access fee’? If that is a one way charge, it sounds pretty reasonable compared to a shuttle ($24 in auckland) or a taxi (around $60). Especially since it wouldnt get bogged down in traffic!

  47. It’s definitely a valid point that you don’t take your car on the plane. It’s also quite silly to have one person drive someone to the airport and back, a colossal waste of fuel. Public transport to airports is something the larger cities are waking up to and integrating in to their transit networks and it’s most important that the resulting railway lines are publicly owned. In Brisbane and Sydney (across the ditch) the Airport Corporations, rather than the government, own the line and charge a ridiculous “access fee” of about $10. You can imagine what this does to usage on the Airport line.

  48. At least Wellington has a decent bus service to its airport.

    As an Aucklander, I have to start the public transport journey to Auckland Airport an hour and a half before my check-in time on weekdays. That extends to 2 hours on Saturdays and 2 1/2 hours on Sundays. Much of this time is because the bus service is completely unreliable and not integrated with the train timetable.

    And it’s expensive. It is $15.00 for a similar distance journey to that I make on the train to connect to the airport bus at cost of $4.40.

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