RE-BLOG Transport Blog: WCC proposes to reduce emissions by increasing congestion and encouraging more long haul flights



It’s amazing what the Wellington City Council gets up to. Living Wage. Supporting the airport runway extension by using overly optimistic figures. Jinxing NZTA’s plan to reduce congestion in the inner city and the Eastern Suburbs. Island Bay Cycleway. Zealandia bailout. Convention centres. Selling Jack Illot Green and the Michael Fowler carpark to build high rise buildings. The list goes on and on…

I suppose the #WellingtonWay of reducing carbon emissions is to increase carbon emissions and destroy a marine reserve!

Anyway, I will focus on the rank hypocrisy of the Wellington City Council in regards to its proposed Climate Action Plan. The plan is to wage a war against the car while preaching for an airport runway extension, more long haul flights and helping their developer mates.

It is unbelievable that the Green Party is staying quiet about it [Ed: they are not. David Lee and Sarah Free have both come out in public against the extension]. Maybe only the Greens are allowed to massively increase emissions and destroy a marine reserve while saying they’ll do the opposite! Anyone else who does the same thing would get roasted by them and their supporters.

One of them (proposals) is a new plan to make Wellington a “low carbon capital” through initiatives designed to cut carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, relative to 2001 levels.

Those initiatives include phasing out a rule that makes off-street parking a requirement of new developments, and re-allocating 100 car parks across the city for car-sharing and electric vehicle charging stations.


What does this mean for us?

  • Those who park and ride in the suburbs will find it harder to find a parking space because residents would fill up all the parking spaces, hence the park and ride people will drive all the way to the city. This has a side effect of increasing congestion and carbon emissions.
  • Those who do drive to the city will have to do more loops around the block to find parking spaces which increases emissions even more. Up to 40% of congestion in the CBD is attributed to people looking for a parking space. This is set to increase even more if the council proposes to rip out thousands of parking spaces to make way for cycleways and electric changing stations.
  • Alternatively, if WCC increases CBD parking prices then people will drive further to suburban shopping malls like Queensgate or North City, or even Coastlands once Transmission Gully is open.
  • More congestion on our roads means more carbon emissions. A 40 minute start-stop car trip will emit more than twice the carbon emissions of a 20 minute continuously moving car trip covering the same distance . Hint, a war on cars will increase congestion and thus emissions.
  • More congestion will also affect our public transport system. Given Wellington’s narrow roads, it would be impossible to build dedicated bus and cycling lanes on all of our roads. As public transport gets slower, and less reliable, more people will switch back to the car and the cycle continues, whilst more and more carbon emissions are emitted.
  • We will be exposed to an ever increasing amount of propaganda telling us to reduce emissions, while the WCC tries to increase emissions from aviation. In 2010, 18% of our carbon emissions came from planes flying in and out of Wellington.

If elected members of the Wellington City Council wants to know how to get people onto public transport, I’ll give them a hint. Build proper public transport infrastructure, and run fast and frequent services. It does not include the transit lane/cycleway proposal for Hutt Road which would only make bus services 30 seconds quicker while cyclists still have to dodge cars going in and out of driveways. Most of the gains are from the removal of a bus stop. Again, the increase in congestion from removing two lanes for single occupant vehicles will obliterate any gains made by people shifting from cars to bicycles or buses. Not to mention people who work along Hutt Road may consider using their cars if they lose their closest bus stops.

I’ll give one more piece of sustainability advice. Moving people from walking or public transport, onto bicycles will not reduce our carbon footprint. I imagine that the Green bloc of the council is well aware of that. Either that or their party is filled with thickheads or cycling zealots.

To Celia, I strongly recommend you to get on your bike and ride a very, very long way away from Wellington. As Ian Apperley said, climate change is rather like a glass house. A dangerous place to be throwing stones. Perhaps it is time you step down and let someone else deal with climate change in a more pragmatic manner.