Let’s take ad­van­tage of this chance to get mov­ing

The Dominion Post - - Business - JOHN MIL­FORD

OPIN­ION: I’m pleased but not sur­prised to re­port that Welling­ton busi­nesses have re­sponded in strong num­bers and strong terms to the Cham­ber of Com­merce’s call to be heard on the Let’s Get Welling­ton Mov­ing pro­pos­als.

Their con­tin­u­ing con­cern over traf­fic con­ges­tion and the effect it has on con­duct­ing business ef­fi­ciently and im­pli­ca­tions for the re­gion’s econ­omy has prompted the big­gest-ever re­sponse to one of our sur­veys – and com­ments are still com­ing in.

So far, there has been a smat­ter­ing of sup­port for the op­tions that pri­ori­tise pub­lic trans­port, walk­ing and cy­cling in the cen­tral city (sce­nario A), an ex­tra Mt Vic­to­ria tun­nel, and the sep­a­ra­tion of east-west traf­fic at the Basin Re­serve to de­liver mass tran­sit to New­town and the air­port (sce­nario B, which in­cludes A), and cut and cover through Te Aro (sce­nario C, which in­cludes B).

But the ma­jor­ity favour sce­nario D, which in­cludes all three op­tions and adds an ex­tra tun­nel at The Ter­race.

That would have the added ben­e­fit of elim­i­nat­ing bot­tle­necks there in the morn­ing rush hour and on week­ends, and re­mov­ing traf­fic from the quays, thereby greatly im­prov­ing ac­cess to the water­front.

Here’s a sam­ple of com­ments that re­flect the ma­jor­ity pref­er­ence:

❚ Take the lead of other cities around the world who have had suc­cess, and get on with it. Too much talk­ing about it and not enough do­ing it.

❚ Let’s do what is needed, not what is easy. The ben­e­fits from this level of in­vest­ment will sus­tain the econ­omy for gen­er­a­tions. The oth­ers [op­tions] are short term only.

❚ It takes brave lead­er­ship to make

Get the traf­fic – foot, freight, mass, cy­clists and vehicles – mov­ing.

this hap­pen. Hope we have that.

So, sce­nario D is hardly a sur­prise, since it achieves the most, and is in line with what busi­nesses have been say­ing for years: get the traf­fic – foot, freight, mass, cy­clists and vehicles – mov­ing.

Though sce­nario A is the quick­est and cheap­est, it would de­liver the least ben­e­fits.

As the sce­nar­ios grow to­wards D, they de­liver more, in­clud­ing travel-time sav­ings and op­por­tu­ni­ties to re­gen­er­ate and de­velop the city.

They also have greater costs, greater im­pact on prop­er­ties, more con­struc­tion dis­rup­tion, and there would be a loss of on-street park­ing.

Some would have dif­fi­culty with that, but I be­lieve it would be a com­pro­mise worth mak­ing.

There is one fur­ther fac­tor that’s worth con­sid­er­ing for those still mulling over their sub­mis­sions – re­silience.

It’s a word we’ve heard a lot since the Kaik­oura earth­quake, and it should now be the key to ev­ery­thing we do in the in­fra­struc­ture space across the re­gion.

Hav­ing a brand-new ex­tra tun­nel at The Ter­race and at Mt Vic­to­ria would also be like an ex­tra in­sur­ance policy for our trans­port net­work.

Fur­ther­more, we’ve got to en­sure the mass modes we choose can adapt to the to­pog­ra­phy and are also them­selves re­silient.

Sub­mis­sions don’t close till Fri­day week, and I urge ev­ery­one to have their say.

The cham­ber is work­ing on its sub­mis­sion, and will wait a lit­tle longer to hear from mem­bers be­fore fi­nal­is­ing it.

So far, they’re giv­ing us a man­date to sup­port sce­nario D.

One of the key is­sues that should drive de­ter­mi­na­tion for our trans­port op­tions should be on bring­ing ben­e­fits in eco­nomic growth and pro­duc­tiv­ity, not just for the city and the re­gion, but also na­tion­ally, and we be­lieve sce­nario D will do that.

A note to those who don’t like fly­overs: Let’s Get Welling­ton Mov­ing says tun­nels are in the mix at the Basin, so sub­mit ac­cord­ingly.

What hap­pens there is cru­cial to get­ting rid of con­ges­tion and fu­ture-proof­ing ef­fi­cient mass tran­sit – things we all want. ❚ John Mil­ford is the chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Welling­ton Cham­ber of Com­merce.

PHOTO: KEVIN STENT/STUFF

Traf­fic con­ges­tion at evening rush hour on Pater­son Street, near the Basin Re­serve in Welling­ton.

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