Why congestion-free Wellington

Last night, Congestion-Free Wellington held its first public meeting, which unanimously supported the following statement.

LGWM (Let’s get Wellington moving) is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to shape the city’s future form.

The problem is that the demand for road space exceeds supply; if we do nothing, congestion will continue to get worse.

The root cause is that the least efficient users of road space, single occupancy vehicles, have captured most of the supply.

In response, we can do 3 things: we can add road supply, we can use road space more efficiently, or we can manage down demand.

LGWM rightly says that we need multi-modal intervention, but in its suggested interventions, the lion’s share of the money goes to adding road supply.

Light rail, the most space-efficient people mover for a city our size, isn’t even on the list (light rail has since been added).

The walking and cycling interventions are equally modest, with no mention of options like closing Lambton Quay to private vehicles.

And a pre-condition for demand management is that people have attractive alternatives to private vehicle travel.

We ask LGWM to put forward bold proposals for public transport, walking and cycling, and managing demand; this can’t happen if most of the money is in the state highway bucket.

We want to send LGWM a message: be bold and we will back you; spend most of the money on roads and you miss the opportunity of a lifetime.

You can’t keep buying bigger trousers because you are putting on weight.

For a congestion-free Wellington, this meeting encourages LGWM to be bold.