I pinched a map from this page on the Greens website. (Yes, it’s a transport policy for Wellington on a political party website. The Greens do have their transport and cycling policies published on their website, which is transparency and openness at it’s democratic best. National don’t. Labour don’t. So when you vote Green at least you know what you’re voting for.) The Greens’ map does have some good ideas for improving Wellington’s transport infrastructure, but let’s take that as a starting point and see what could be done if we did more than just pay lip service to the idea of sustainable cities.
So here are some ideas for Wellington:
#2 New train stations on existing lines – Some of these are suggested by the Greens, like Aotea station between Porirua and Paremata, and Fraser Ave on the J’ville line fix little gaps in the network. Here’s some more ideas:
- Replace Kaiwharawhara Station with a new station midway between the existing Kaiwharawhara Station and the Passenger terminal part of the InterIslander Ferry terminal. It’s only a couple hundred metres from Kaiwharawhara and would give ferry passengers a stop on the line.
- Have a new train station near where Tinakori Road meets the Hutt Road. There is a big gap between Wellington and Kaiwharawhara and there are a lot of nearby workplaces and it would be good for Thorndon residents.
- Reinstate Beach Station at Petone and have the trams (but not trains) stop there. Beach Station is of course on the Great Harbour Way so it’d be a good place for transferring between trams and the bike path network for heading up the Hutt River Trail or over towards Eastbourne.
- Build a new station at Glenside where the NIMT exits the tunnel.
- Build a station between the tunnels where the NIMT flies over the highway in the Ngauranga Gorge.
#3 A Jackson Street Tram. The tram would ride the rails to Petone Station and then run along Jackson Street and end at a park and ride station (for cars, and bikes) near the Hutt River, with a footbridge across to more parking on the east side of the river. The trams would have bike trailers like the ones in Stuttgart. The Hutt River Trail cycleway passes by the end of the tram line. Jackson Street is a bit of a funky shopping/eating district, and trams work really well on streets like this, like in Melbourne or Toronto.
#4 Extend the Johnsonville line to Glenside where it would meet the North Island Main Trunk line. It would be a road running tram. The original line of the NIMT was from J’ville on what is now the motorway on-ramp heading north. A new tram route would need to be made on Middleton Road. Run the J’ville line through to Porirua with some limited stops through Tawa.
#5 Modify the Melling line to take street running trams through the centre of the Lower Hutt CBD, past Queensgate and to Waterloo. This tram would also interface with the Hutt River Trail cycleway and could have a bike trailer on the front.
#6 Develop the space above Ngauranga Station, and the nearby free land between the motorway and the Great Harbour Way and turn it into an office and restaurant district. At the moment it is wasted space and a poo dump for motorhomes. Allow for some traffic to exit and enter the motorways and Hutt Road to multilevel carparks, but have Ngauranga develop as another waterfront pedestrian district.
#7 Link Ngauranga to Johnsonville with an aerial gondola. This gondola will take bikes (and would get rid of the huge climb up the Ngauranga Gorge.) More on this later in the post. For those unfamiliar with aerial gondolas I suggest reading the Gondola Project. Ticketing for the gondola will be integrated into the trains and buses and ferries and as such be a part of the urban public transport network.
#8 Run trams down the Golden Mile, eliminating all cars and taxis, and many of the buses from the Golden Mile. Widen the footpaths for pedestrians and have cycle lanes the length of the Golden Mile. Have the trams run to Island Bay, the Airport and through Mirimar to Seatoun. Run the tram services as shown on my map. Porirua to the Airport via the Johnsonville Line. Jackson Street to Island Bay and Waterloo, via the Hutt, to Seatoun. The other 3 train lines shown on the map stop at Wellington Station still and will continue to use trains. (The Wairarapa Line, the Capital Connection and the Overland are not shown for clarity).
#9 Build an aerial gondola that starts at a station over the median of Lambton Quay near the bottom of the Cable Car, then heads north to the front of Wellington Station and then heads south above the waterfront to Te Papa and to Oriental Bay. This gondola does not carry bikes as there are bikepaths along the waterfront and along Lambton Quay and there is a widely available bike share scheme with bike stations at every gondola stop.
#10 Add a bike trailer to the Cable Car for carrying bikes up to Kelburn. At the moment you can put a bike on the Cable Car, but capacity is restricted and they can get in the way of other passengers.
#11 Build a 3rd aerial gondola. This one carries bikes and goes up the hill from Oriental Bay to the summit of Mount Victoria.
Or to summarise, here’s my map:
So the end result is that there are safe bike paths linking all parts of the Wellington, Hutt and Porirua. Trams carry bikes. There is adequate ad-hoc secure undercover bike parking at every station including all the way out in the far flung suburbs (including charging stations for electric bikes) plus a widespread bikeshare scheme with bikes available at each train and tram station).
All of this is funded by the users of the services (such as tram and gondola passengers, and bike hirers) and by tolling congestion creating cars using the motorways in peak periods.
Now let’s look at idea #7 in more detail. I presented all the other ideas to give this idea context. If I told you it’d be a good idea to build this cableway now you’d think I was crazy. You add it to all the other ideas, and now it makes a lot more sense. Particularly it makes sense if there is the connectivity from Porirua and the north into J’ville, and that Ngauranga is developed as a waterfront mini-CBD. It also makes more sense once the Great Harbour Way connecting Wellington and Petone is built. The holistic idea is to provide a flexible frequent public transport service where it is possible to get around on foot, by bicycle (even without your own bicycle), and the public transport services can get cyclists up hills.
The waterfront at Ngauranga has the bike path running along the seafront and then there is a busy train station for the Waterloo, and Jackson Street Tram plus the Upper Hutt train, and there are a bunch of new offices and shops and restaurants. From the station aerial gondolas will climb up through the gorge on the east side of it, with the first stop at the new Gorge station, which would be in the foreground of this photo. Ngauranga is down by the sea in this photo and the cableway would cross the motorway and use the hillsides to get here.
It would climb the hill from the Gorge Station. Here’s looking back to near Ngauranga Station near the SH1 Hutt Road flyover.
and sidle around or over the hill:
and have one or two possible suburban stations for East Johnsonville and Newlands residents (such as on the right side of the photo below) who are presently poorly serviced by bus, flying across Newlands Road, and angle down to meet the rail line at Johnsonville Station. Johnsonville town centre is seen here in the middle above the motorway.
So much more could be done with the ideas going around the blogosphere. There’s all the new bicycle thinking. There’s all the new cable technology thinking. There’s lots of new thinking about trams and LRT. Electric bicycles could figure a lot more in transport planning. It’s got to be better than National’s 2.5 billion dollars of spending on new motorways for the Wellington Region, and it’d all be a helluva lot cheaper. The NZTA, John Key, Stephen Joyce and co are so 1960’s in their motorway thinking. But fellas it is 2010. The world has moved on, and so could Wellington.