Council needs fresh approach on transport

1280px-Wellington_MotorwayWith local elections looming, it is timely to comment on Wellington’s roading infrastructure.

And why should I be commenting on this? Well, it’s all about investing in our city.

The main problem is the link between Wellington Airport and the Terrace Tunnel. Somehow this link has become a major road block at critical times, causing lost production, additional cost to travellers and business and congestion that causes pollution.

When the Basin Flyover was stopped successfully by the Court of Appeal, a major disservice was done to the city’s infrastructure.

It is interesting to note that while alternative solutions have been put forward, no progress has been made to date on these or discussed further at length.

As such, Wellington will continue to stagnate.

Therefore, any new council and mayor need to find a collective way forward on this matter.

Wellington is falling behind Auckland and Christchurch and is now becoming one of the most congested cities in the world, which is simply ridiculous, given the size of our population.

The pervious council under Celia Wade-Brown has been woeful on this matter, lacking leadership and a cohesive approach.

Any future mayor and council need to address this issue, especially if they want an extended runway at the airport. To extend it with our current infrastructure would simply be folly, adding more cars to an already congested roading system.

As I travel regularly in and around Wellington, I know what it is like.

I rarely use the Terrace Tunnel now, because at any one time of the day, it can be blocked up, especially coming into Wellington.

I have found myself having to exit at The Terrace and using either The Terrace or Boulcott St to go into town, just to avoid the long queue at the tunnel. And sometimes these roads have become jammed with traffic as well.

In the evenings, when I go to tennis, I go through the western suburbs to avoid the Terrace Tunnel.

The problem doesn’t lie with the Terrace Tunnel alone – it as much a problem at the Mt Victoria Tunnel.

This is especially so when I have come from the airport into the city. I would not live in the eastern suburbs because of the Mt Victoria Tunnel and Basin Reserve problem.

On a number of occasions, I have been forced to go round Evans Bay and Oriental Pde to get home. On a few occasions, I have even been forced to go over Mt Victoria to avoid the congestion.

Now I know Wellington and how to get around. But tourists and business people from out of Wellington don’t.

A number of taxi drivers have told me of arguments they have had with passengers over the cost to get into Wellington.

One taxi driver told me he had to charge a business client $105 to get into Wellington!

This is simply not a good look for Wellington, and as I said at the beginning, a major cost to productivity, and a cost to travellers in money and time.

It is simply not good enough.

My only hope is that the right mayor and council get elected this time round.

If the wrong one does, then Wellingtonians will have to put up with much more infrastructure suffering.

And this begs the question: should this matter be left in the hands of our council and mayor?

But that is another matter.