The Dom Post editorial:
The dream is over, for the time being anyway.
A comprehensive study of Wellington’s transport options has concluded what has long been obvious to everyone except Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown: the light-rail system she promoted during her 2010 mayoral campaign is unaffordable.
The light rail scheme would have cost around $3,000 per household!
The study commissioned by the New Zealand Transport Agency, Greater Wellington Regional Council and the Wellington City Council puts the cost of turning Ms Wade-Brown’s dream into reality at $940 million. The alternatives canvassed in depth in the report are markedly cheaper.
The first – providing more bus lanes during peak hours and more priority traffic signals for buses – has a $59 million price tag. The second – a dedicated busway for bigger, modern buses separated from other traffic as much as possible – would cost $207 million.
Buses are often the most effective form of public transport. They are more flexible and cost effective. However the Greens don’t like buses because buses go on roads and roads are evil!
The bus rapid transit will cost under a quarter of the light rail option. It would result in $95m of time savings compared to $56m for rail. And critically it would lead to a 75 increase in public transport usage in the morning peak time while the rail option would not change the numbers at all.
So what else is planned about from a dedicated busway and bigger more modern buses? The Dom Post reports:
A second two-lane tunnel through Mt Victoria could be open to traffic within a decade.
The NZ Transport Agency has today revealed plans for a second Mt Victoria Tunnel and widening of Ruahine St and Wellington Rd to connect to the new $90 million Basin flyover.
Yay, a key step in the vision of having four lanes on State Highway One from the airport to Levin.
The plans for the second tunnel show it would sit directly along the northern side of the existing tunnel.
It would provide two lanes for east-bound traffic, along with a separate pedestrian and cycle facility linking to the flyover. On the Hataitai side of the tunnel, Ruahine St will become four lanes, and will also sport a pedestrian and cycling path.
Cool. If only they can get the tunnel to smell better!