Bishop’s vision from growing Lower Hutt

Chris Bishop writes:

For most of my life, Lower Hutt’s population has been pretty stable. When I was growing up in the Hutt in the 1990s, the city’s population was around 95,000 people. By 2013, it was still just 98,000 people.

But Lower Hutt’s been on a growth tear recently, and the latest statistics show we’ve hit just under 109,000 people – over 10 per cent growth in the city in just a few years.

Definitely has become a desirable place for many to live.

A growing city is a good thing; but only if infrastructure and housing supply keeps pace – and it hasn’t. Hutt commuters heading into town on State Highway 2 know that congestion is getting worse, and Petone residents like me are increasingly fed up with an Esplanade that slows to a crawl not just at peak times, like five years ago, but throughout most of the day. 

Incredibly painful.

First, let’s open up the north of Wainuiomata for housing, and build a second road into the area via Naenae. I’ve been saying this for a couple of years, but it’s now time for serious action.

About 2500 to 3000 houses could be built in north Wainuiomata, which would make a big contribution to addressing our housing shortage. A new road through to Naenae would be needed to connect the new suburb to the Hutt, and this would greatly improve Wainuiomata’s resilience.

Second, let’s get on with the Cross Valley Link and the Petone to Grenada Link Road. The Cross Valley Link has been talked about since at least the 1960s, and should have been built years ago. It will take pressure off the congested Esplanade, and make it easier for those living in the east to get across the city.

It needs to be built at the same time as Petone to Grenada, which will open up more land for housing, improve our resilience, and ease congestion from Petone to Ngāūranga. Petone to Grenada is expensive, but nobody really doubts we need it. Let’s get on with it.

Third, while we’re doing the new Melling interchange, let’s extend the Melling train line up to Kelson and Belmont. The line used to run there, and it can do so again. Both suburbs are growing (as are Avalon and Naenae across the river), and it will mean people don’t have to travel to Melling to jump on the train.

Great to see a local MP putting forward proactive ideas for growth in his electorate. They all sounds good to me, especially the 2nd link into Wainuiomata which could transform it.

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