Monday, August 31, 2009

More hypocrisy by Council?

The latest in the Kapiti Expressway saga is that the Kapiti Coast District Council has apparently dispensed with the services of Opus, an engineering company that had been working on the Western Link Road because it is also doing work for the New Zealand Transport Agency and is therefore "conflicted". (See: )

It's fair enough to avoid conflicts, but two points arise:
(i) aren't KCDC and the NZTA supposed to be on the same side - providing safe efficient and reliable roading systems to service the needs of Kapiti and the country as a whole; and
(ii) isn't it a bit hypocritical of the Council to allege a conflict because Opus works for NZTA, when it has been quite happy to pay an "urban designer" who has previously (and possibly still is) working for a property developer with specific private interests relating to the Western Link Road?

Perhaps conflicts of interest are only an issue for the KCDC when the Mayor doesn't like something.

Isn't it time that the Council stopped its petty politicking and started thinking about what's best for the district? And yes, shock horror, it might be that an expressway IS actually for the best, if it creates safe local roading options as well as options for inter-regional traffic to traverse the district safely. Believe it or not, an expressway might actually lead to better outcomes across social, environmental, health and transport areas!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Stop whinging and be constructive

Dr Chris Lane is reported in the Dominion Post today whining about the Expressway proposal because it's not "convenient" for emergency services.

Well, there's a consultation process underway! Why doesn't he make a constructive submission on the question instead of engaging in public grandstanding?

Why not build the Western Link Expressway?

Some residents in the Waterstone subdivision are concerned that the new expressway will pass by their homes, and have an impact on their quality of life and property values.

These people have legitimate concerns. They bought their properties in good faith without knowing that a new road would be going close by.

Here's an alternative: use the whole of the Western Link Road corridor to build the new State Highway One expressway. The land's vacant - and most of it has been owned by the Crown for decades. The new expressway could cut across the northern corner of Queen Elizabeth Park and follow the route of Western Link Road. Not only would it make the road more accessible to the people of Raumati, Raumati Beach and Paraparaumu Beach, but it would be using land that's already designated for roading purposes.

And after all, if people bought houses next to land designated for roading, they can't really complain, can they?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Go Steven Joyce!

Isn't it great that the Minister of Transport has effectively shut the Kapiti Coast District Council out of discussions on the Western Link Road?

It's time someone started thinking of the interests of the District as a whole, rather than pandering to particular interest groups.

State Highway One is here to stay. No matter whether you believe in peak oil or not, cars and trucks are with us in some form or other for the foreseeable future. Cars and trucks will carry people and goods through Kapiti to and from Wellington. They also play a key role in helping Kapiti people commute - particularly to destinations not served by the rail network.

Road transport can be dangerous. That's why a safe expressway where people can travel at a reasonable speed without lots of connecting roads will be a great thing. It'll make transport safer, easier and quicker.

The great thing about using the Western Link Road corridor for part of the route is that there's enough empty land to mitigate the impacts of the new road.

Councillors should stop whining and start talking about how we can make a new State Highway One Expressway something to be proud of, with plenty of native plantings and safe over/underpasses for local people.