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    • Plimmerton Farm: getting greenfields right
      • 28 Jun 2020
      • Talk Wellington
      • If we’re hellbent on doing more residential development in greenfields, what does “decent” look like in Plimmerton, hilly land near an existing suburb – like most of our region’s greenfields? This post is basically a guide for anyone who cares about Plimmerton, good urban development, or healthy wetlands, streams and coast, but is time-poor and can’t face going through the truckloads of documents they’ve stuck up without any specific meta-guidance (some FAQ are here). Hopefully this will help you pop in a submission! PCC’s “information” pages they suggest you use for submitting. Every one of these is a large PDF document, 90% written in technical language… aargh! The background: what where and how For those who don’t know, Plimmerton Farm’s a big proposed subdivision of hilly farmland draining into the significant Taupō Wetland and to Plimmerton Beach, just over the train line and highway from Plimmerton village (original Ngāti Toa name: Taupō). It’s going through a Streamlined Planning Process, a pre-COVID government scheme for accelerating development. The key step is the requisite change of the land’s zoning in the Porirua District Plan (“rural” zone to “residential” and other “urban” zones) that sets out what kind of stuff can then be built, where. It’s mostly streamlined because there’s just one shot for the public to have input on the plan change. One shot. Why submit? I was born and raised in Plimmerton, live here now, and intend to for the rest of my days. I’d love to see it grow, well. I would love Plimmerton to get more wallets, more hearts and minds, more faces (more diverse ones too!). But not with more traffic, and pointless damage to our environment. Right now, the proposal has some serious flaws which need sorting. I say Sorting because the changes won’t make it crazy innovative, just good enough for a development in the spot it is, being kicked off in 2020. Time matters too: there’a a bunch of good things happening imminently (and some bad Porirua trends that need to be reversed). I cover these in Get it right, below. It’s worth submitting because given the situation, a 1990s-grade development just won’t cut it. So what about Plimmerton Farm needs to change? It boils down to two themes: dial down the driveability and dial up the liveabilitymake Local the logical and easy choice for daily needs I’ll outline what needs to change in each. NOTE: There’s a third – don’t stuff the wetlands and streams. This is really important as Taupō Wetland is regionally significant, and all our streams and harbours have suffered from frankly shameful mismanagement of sediment from earthworks-heavy subdivisions like Aotea and Duck Creek, and from the earthworks-a-rama of Transmission Gully. Friends of Taupo Swamp have an excellent submission guide for you – add in some of their suggested bits to your submission. I: Dial down the driveability, dial up the liveability There aren’t many truly black-and-white things in life, but there’s one for towns: If a street is nice to drive in, it’ll be a crappy place to do anything else in (walk / eat / hang out / have a conversation / play / scoot or cycle / shop / have a pint). If it’s nice to do anything else in, it’ll be a crappy place to drive in. Mostly this is because of the nature of the automobile: big solid things that smash into our soft bodies if someone makes a mistake (75% odds of death if that’s at 50km/hour, 10% odds of death if at 30km/hour) big objects that need lots of space for manoeuvering and especially parking – which offstreet can be crazy expensive and push up the cost of a home, and onstreet hoover up valuable public space. big solid things driven by us real humans (for a while at least) who respond to the environment but also get distracted, and generally aren’t good at wielding these big solid things safely. The transport setup proposed for Plimmerton Farm makes for a much too driveable and poorly liveable place. 1. Narrow down all the roads. The current proposal’s roading setup has roads and streets that are too big, and there’s too much of them. Right sized roads for a liveable community The cross-sections for the roads include on-street parking and really wide lane widths. This is really gobsmacking for a consortium that talked a big talk about good practice. For all the reasons that Low Traffic Neighbourhoods are good, this is bad. (And it’s especially nuts when you realise that the excessively wide “arterial” roads (11 metres!) will need earthworked platforms built for them where they’re drawn running up the sharp ridges and across the tops of gullies. Expensive, damaging for the environment, and … what were they thinking?) So recommended changes: NARROW DOWN THE ROADS. Seriously. Design all the living-area streets and roads, and the centre, to be self-explaining for an operating traffic speed of 30km or less – that’s the speed where mistakes are rarely fatal. What does that look like? The designers will know and if they don’t they should be fired. Narrower crossing distances; chicanes (great way to incorporate green infrastructure and trees and seating!); narrowed sight-lines (trees! sculpture!) so no-one driving feels inclined to zoom. Reduced trafficked lanes (rori iti on the larger roads!), with properly wide and friendly footpaths. Threshold treatments, humps, modal filters, all the things we know very well are the natural ways to slow us down when driving, and make streets nicer for people. The beauty of all this “restriction” on driving is how much it frees us up for making everything else appealing. Streets become hospitable for kids to walk, scoot, bike to school safely, using the road not the footpath. Older people and those with impairments can walk and wheelchair safely. Teens coming home from town of an evening can scoot or bike home, safely. Popping down to the shops or for a coffee or to the train becomes a pleasure to do on foot, or on a scooter or bike. And you’re moving in a legitimate way – seeing and being seen, not stuck off in the bush on a “recreational” track like what they’ve described. The ordinary streets and roads are walkable, bikeable, scootable, mobility-scootable, and perfectly driveable, equally safe and useable in all weathers and anytime of day or night. Used to be a big, fast road. Now, kids bike to school and old people can chill out on it. (Mark Kerrison) (And in case you’re worried about firetrucks / rubbish trucks / buses, recall that on even Wellington City’s far more winding, narrower hilly streets everyone gets their rubbish collected and fires fought just fine. On public transport, smaller buses, like those that community transport operators use, are the way of the future for less densely-populated areas like this). Don’t build the through and loop roads. You don’t need signs like this when the only people who bother to drive in are those who live there, or who are visiting friends, because you just have to drive out again the way you came. When it’s the place you live, you’re invested in not being a dick far more than if you’re just out for a drive – or worse, out for a bit of a boyrace hoon on a massive loop route through a whole place. So just don’t build those big connector roads that enable people to drive easily from one residential area to the next, especially the ones up in the hilltops (section C) that just say “come for a hoon!” Instead, connect the living spaces heavily with bikeable, walkable, scootable, disability-friendly streets and lanes, and as much as possible, only one way in and out for cars from each living area. II: Make local logical and easy Plimmerton is a true village, with a great little centre (including a train station!) but Plimmerton Farm is ultimately a damn big area. The way to go is to enable people to get the basics of life – like school, groceries, a coffee – with a little local trip on foot, bike or scooter – it’s more of a bother to get in the car. Right now though, it needs two changes: 1. Provide for a second centre “Bumping into” spaces are known to be crucial to a feeling of neighbourhood, and in the (initial) absence of third places (worship places, community hall, sports club, cafe/pub, a supermarket is a vital social centre. Yet the north end of Plimmerton Farm is currently a deadzone for anything except residential. What things will probably look like under current layout. Like in Edwards Scissorhands without the interest of a castle. There’s no provision for a place to do your household groceries, so people will drive to Mana New World – more car trips – and less opportunity to bump into people who live nearby. (There’ll be no school in Plimmerton Farm for a while, because Ministry of Education isn’t allowed by the Education Act to build a school somewhere until there’s a certain population density of kids to fill it. A shitty Catch-22 for developments which is hopefully going to be fixed … sometime. Just another reason to make walking, biking and scooting really kid-friendly, as extra dropoff traffic for kids going to St Theresa’s, Plimmerton School, Paremata and Pukerua Bay schools will be a nightmare.) So they should provide for an additional centre in the north, including a groceries place of some kind. 2. Intensify within walking distance of Plimmerton proper. We should intensify properly, with lots of medium and even some high density (6 storeys of nicely laid-out density done well!) in the area that’s within a 5-minute walk of Plimmerton Village. The more people can live and work with access to all its many amenities, and its rail station (10 min to Porirua, 30 min to Wellington), the better. But there’s not enough density provided for there. Plimmerton Railway station: buzzing in 1916 and has only got bigger. (Photo: Pātaka Porirua Museum) So they should add another zone – E – of higher density in that 5-minute walking catchment of Plimmerton Village. What could it look like? A good example is 3333 Main, Vancouver . Submission tips On the site they ask you to fill in a Word or PDF form, saying which specific bit of the gazillion proposals you are talking about and the specific changes you want. This is a BS way to treat the vast majority of people submitting: normal non-professionals, just regular people who care about good development and liveable places. So just don’t worry about that. In those question 6 column boxes just put “Transport” and “Layout”. It’s the professional planners’ job to figure out specifically how to change a planning document. Just be specific enough that they know what you want to see. The text above is worth copying and pasting – it’ll be enough. And don’t forget the Friends of Taupo Swamp and Catchment advice is essential – definitely go read and use. That’s all you really need – just go submit! But if you’re keen to know more reasons why they should be doing this better, here’s some… Get it right, now Once this plan change is through, traditional developers like Gillies like to whack in all the infrastructure – hello, massive earthworks. And yet the place will take decades to fill with actual people – those hearts and minds and wallets. (Note even before COVID, Porirua’s growth rate was 0.1% per year. Yep, one tenth of one percent.) And extra pressure’s on to do this better because all these things are features of the next one to three years: the One Network Road Classification (sets the design specs for roads of different types) is being updated right now to be more people-friendly in the specs for roads in residential and centre areas, so designs like Plimmerton Farm’s will soon be Officially Bad Practice Sales and riding of e-bikes and e-scooters are going through the roof, continuing through and beyond COVID – this shows no signs of slowing, and prices are dropping. E-power flattens the hills of Plimmerton Farm and makes wheely active travel a breeze for the middle-class people who’ll be living here, if the streets and roads are hospitablePlimmerton Railway Station (on the most popular Wellington train line) is being upgraded to be a terminus station – i.e. better servicesThe Wellington Regional Growth Framework is setting a bunch of directions for councils on how to grow well, including well-known but often well-ignored issues like intensifying around public transport hubs Councils will soon be required to do to a bunch of a bunch of international good practice including get rid of many minimum parking requirements (in the news lately), and to upzone (enable intensification) of landuse in the walking catchment of public transport hubs. (5 min walk = approx 400 metres, 10 min = 800m).Bad trends we need to stop: Porirua’s really high car-dependency (we own cars a lot and drive a lot) is continuing, due to car-dependent urban form [PDF]– despite nice words in council’s strategic intentions.People living outside Wellington City are mostly to blame for our region’s 14% increase in emissions from transport in just 10 years. OK go submit now – and share with anyone who you think might care!
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    • Metlink to boost electric buses from 2 to 22 per cent of its fleet to meet climate change goals and passenger growth
      • 26 Jun 2020
      • Greater Wellington Regional Council
      • From left to right: Cr Daran Ponter – Chair, Greater Wellington Keven Snelgrove – Tranzit Brendan Prince  – NZBus James Howard – Tranzit Cr David Lee – Greater Wellington Cr Roger Blakeley – Greater Wellington The ink has dried on contracts for 98 new electric buses, which will take Metlink’s fleet of electric buses to 108, significantly reducing its carbon footprint and taking Greater Wellington a step closer on its target of carbon neutrality by 2030. Metlink currently has 450 buses in its active fleet in the Wellington region 10 of which are EVs, making up two percent of the fleet.  Once the 98 buses are added to the fleet the proportion of EVs will rise to 22 per cent which, excluding market leader China, is high by international standards. Seventy-three of the buses will be used on current scheduled services with a further 25 to be progressively added to routes to meet future network growth. The new electric buses will eventually take 61 diesel buses off the roads, leading to a 17 per cent drop in carbon emissions and a similar reduction in harmful emissions. Greater Wellington is delivering on its promise of a building a modern low emission bus network according to Chair Daran Ponter. “I’m sure that people across the region will be pleased to see another 61 diesel buses taken off the road and this will drive real climate benefits by deploying the new electric buses on high use areas of the network. “Just like our plans for rail, this is also about ensuring we have a fleet in place that can cope with rising population trends and demand for public transport over the next few years.  That’s why 25 buses will be used to accommodate forecast passenger growth without an increase in emissions,” added Chair Ponter. Climate Committee chair Cr Thomas Nash said we have to provide attractive alternatives to our current 20th century car culture if we’re serious about responding to climate change. “Over the last two decades transport emissions rose by 14 per cent across the region, mainly from fossil fuel burning cars and trucks. “We need a real step change here and we know we can move far more people with far fewer vehicles if we provide high quality public transport. A modern, comfortable low emission fleet will play a key role in attracting new passengers, encouraging them to embrace public transport. We’ve got an opportunity to break free from the car-dominated landscape that’s been driving pollution in our cities - let’s take it,” added Cr Nash. Roger Blakeley, chair of Greater Wellington’s Transport Committee, said that the new fleet will also attract more bus drivers to the region. “This new fleet shows our intentions for growing the network and obviously more buses means more drivers.  We want buses that drivers can be proud of and these state of the art buses, many fitted out right here in New Zealand, will help us attract drivers that want to be at the forefront of the public transport industry in New Zealand and internationally.” As part of the deal, NZ Bus will source 67 ready-to-go large single decker EVs from China and Tranzurban will build 31 double decker EVs at Kiwi Bus Builders in Tauranga, with parts sourced from world leading Chinese bus manufacturers. NZ Bus CEO Barry Hinkley said he was delighted that NZ Bus was making a significant contribution to NZ’s environmental performance, commenting that growing the number of EVs in its fleet is the right way forward as NZ Bus looks to a future of reduced fossil fuel usage. "With these 67 new electric buses, NZ Bus is proud to be having the largest EV bus fleet in New Zealand. With these new orders, we will see our EV fleet grow to at least 85 buses in the short term. "Obviously, we all should try and do as much as we can to look after our environment; taking public transport is a great way of reducing emissions, and electric public transport is an even better way. “We’re committed to doing our bit to help reduce emissions in New Zealand and at the same time provide people with a safe and easy way to get around,” said Mr Hinkley. Tranzurban Director Keven Snelgrove said today’s announcement is a clear demonstration of the company’s commitment to partnering with Greater Wellington and pioneering and investing in electric bus technology and infrastructure in New Zealand. He says the 31 new double deck EVs add to the company’s fleet of 10 New Zealand-built double deck EVs successfully in operation in Wellington already. “This new fleet will deliver multiple benefits of being New Zealand built, adding to our modern and reliable electric bus fleet and help reduce carbon emissions and air pollution for Wellingtonians.” The buses will be delivered between mid-2021 and early 2023. 
      • Accepted from GW media releases 2019 3 months ago by feedreader
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    • Metlink to boost electric buses from 2 to 22 per cent of its fleet to meet climate change goals and passenger growth
      • 26 Jun 2020
      • Metlink - Greater Wellington's public transport network
      • From left to right: Cr Daran Ponter – Chair, Greater Wellington Keven Snelgrove – Tranzit Brendan Prince  – NZBus James Howard – Tranzit Cr David Lee – Greater Wellington Cr Roger Blakeley – Greater Wellington The ink has dried on contracts for 98 new electric buses, which will take Metlink’s fleet of electric buses to 108, significantly reducing its carbon footprint and taking Greater Wellington a step closer on its target of carbon neutrality by 2030. Metlink currently has 450 buses in its active fleet in the Wellington region 10 of which are EVs, making up two percent of the fleet.  Once the 98 buses are added to the fleet the proportion of EVs will rise to 22 per cent which, excluding market leader China, is high by international standards. Seventy-three of the buses will be used on current scheduled services with a further 25 to be progressively added to routes to meet future network growth. The new electric buses will eventually take 61 diesel buses off the roads, leading to a 17 per cent drop in carbon emissions and a similar reduction in harmful emissions. Greater Wellington is delivering on its promise of a building a modern low emission bus network according to Chair Daran Ponter. “I’m sure that people across the region will be pleased to see another 61 diesel buses taken off the road and this will drive real climate benefits by deploying the new electric buses on high use areas of the network. “Just like our plans for rail, this is also about ensuring we have a fleet in place that can cope with rising population trends and demand for public transport over the next few years.  That’s why 25 buses will be used to accommodate forecast passenger growth without an increase in emissions,” added Chair Ponter. Climate Committee chair Cr Thomas Nash said we have to provide attractive alternatives to our current 20th century car culture if we’re serious about responding to climate change. “Over the last two decades transport emissions rose by 14 per cent across the region, mainly from fossil fuel burning cars and trucks.  “We need a real step change here and we know we can move far more people with far fewer vehicles if we provide high quality public transport. A modern, comfortable low emission fleet will play a key role in attracting new passengers, encouraging them to embrace public transport. We’ve got an opportunity to break free from the car-dominated landscape that’s been driving pollution in our cities - let’s take it,” added Cr Nash. Roger Blakeley, chair of Greater Wellington’s Transport Committee, said that the new fleet will also attract more bus drivers to the region. “This new fleet shows our intentions for growing the network and obviously more buses means more drivers.  We want buses that drivers can be proud of and these state of the art buses, many fitted out right here in New Zealand, will help us attract drivers that want to be at the forefront of the public transport industry in New Zealand and internationally.” As part of the deal, NZ Bus will source 67 ready-to-go large single decker EVs from China and Tranzurban will build 31 double decker EVs at Kiwi Bus Builders in Tauranga, with parts sourced from world leading Chinese bus manufacturers. NZ Bus CEO Barry Hinkley said he was delighted that NZ Bus was making a significant contribution to NZ’s environmental performance, commenting that growing the number of EVs in its fleet is the right way forward as NZ Bus looks to a future of reduced fossil fuel usage. "With these 67 new electric buses, NZ Bus is proud to be having the largest EV bus fleet in New Zealand. With these new orders, we will see our EV fleet grow to at least 85 buses in the short term. "Obviously, we all should try and do as much as we can to look after our environment; taking public transport is a great way of reducing emissions, and electric public transport is an even better way. “We’re committed to doing our bit to help reduce emissions in New Zealand and at the same time provide people with a safe and easy way to get around,” said Mr Hinkley. Tranzurban Director Keven Snelgrove said today’s announcement is a clear demonstration of the company’s commitment to partnering with Greater Wellington and pioneering and investing in electric bus technology and infrastructure in New Zealand. He says the 31 new double deck EVs add to the company’s fleet of 10 New Zealand-built double deck EVs successfully in operation in Wellington already. “This new fleet will deliver multiple benefits of being New Zealand built, adding to our modern and reliable electric bus fleet and help reduce carbon emissions and air pollution for Wellingtonians.” The buses will be delivered between mid-2021 and early 2023. 
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    • Free Walking Solution- Hataitai to CBD
      • 30 Sep 2019
      • Sarah Free
      • Would more people walk to work or school from the Eastern suburbs if they didn’t have to use the dark, crowded, loud and smelly Mt Victoria tunnel?Here’s the idea: can WCC and GWRC work together to give walkers a free trip from one side of the Hataitai bus tunnel to the other?Once the bus system is up and running with a bit of spare capacity, think what a boon that could be for walkers.
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    • Newsletter Aug 19 | Term 3, Week 1
      • 1 Aug 2019
      • South Wellington Intermediate School
      • This issue covers: Pedal Ready at SWIS SWIS Open Day Buses Property Update New Students for 2020 Year 7 Vision Screening St Catherine’s College Enrolments  It is with both regret and excitement that I am letting you know that this is my last term as principal of SWIS.
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      • South Wellington Intermediate School, 30, Waripori Street, Berhampore, Wellington, Wellington City, Wellington, 6023, New Zealand (OpenStreetMap)


    • Long Read: Mass Rapid Transit in Wellington
      • 26 Jun 2019
      • Fair Intelligent Transport (FIT) Wellington
      • Posted by Kerry Wood <figure class=" sqs-block-image-figure intrinsic " > The latest version of ‘trackless tram’ (TT) has been developed by CRRC in China. A trial system has been running in Zhuzhou since 2017, and should be coming onto the market about now. It is of interest in Wellington because of potential cost-savings over light rail, but comes with corresponding problems and is barely commercial at this stage. TT is distinct from BRT but shares some important characteristics. On this page… Key messsages Route and capacity Light Rail BRT Trackless Trams Costs Key messsages The TT feature of interest in Wellington is capacity. It is the highest-capacity BRT-like vehicle on the market, presumably with a much better ride than a bus, and may be able to meet Wellington needs on a two-lane route. Any decision to adopt TT will require careful studies; Wellington has already run into costly problems created by a casual attitude to supposedly minor issues. In a more difficult situation, we must get it right this time: BRT using conventional articulated buses is well-established but an unlikely option for Wellington. High-capacity BRT is generally used in cities having wide streets, unlike Wellington. TT might be an alternative to BRT, if it can offer sufficient capacity, and when ‘the kinks have been ironed out.’ At a time of very rapid change, uncertainties are inevitable and require good management. In this case high-capacity would be a low-risk approach, favouring either light rail or four-lane BRT. Decision-makers need to bear two things in mind: First, light rail becomes cheaper than either BRT or buses at a relatively low ridership. Second, BRT also benefits from a properly segregated route, to minimise congestion, and from diverted underground services to minimise delays. Light rail may well be the lowest-risk option, or even the cheapest option. An independent conclusion comes from Matt L at the Greater Auckland transport blog: I do think that this [TT] technology is promising and definitely worth keeping an eye on, but I’m not convinced that Auckland should be so quick to jump on the bandwagon. Let’s at least wait till at least a handful of cities have successfully rolled this out and ironed out all the kinks… Let’s also wait till there are multiple suppliers with inter-operable systems. Unfortunately, even without the capacity/frequency issues that I think would be an issue for the city centre, I don’t think Auckland can afford to wait. We need to get on fixing transport in this city and so should get on with installing light rail as soon as possible. ↑ Contents Route and capacity The LGWM route has recently been challenged, with proposals for a Mt Victoria tunnel for buses, walkers and cyclists. A tunnel for walkers and cyclists seems sensible, but a new bus tunnel would be a backward step. The existing Bus Tunnel is adequate for serving Hataitai, and a much better MRT route is through Newtown, because of high residential density. Densities are too low for MRT in Hataitai and through to Miramar and the Airport. The Newtown route offers substantially greater residential density, on both sides of the route, as well as potential for future density. Adelaide Rd and Kilbirnie are designated WCC development areas. A Mt Victoria route was proposed in the 2013 Spine Study, apparently to save time, but the real time-savings come from good detail design on the chosen route. Bypassing Wellington Hospital is itself a planning error for MRT: BRT in Brisbane went as far as a stop within the Hospital building. It is not a criticism to recognise that LGWM’s modal demand estimates for 2036 contain serious errors. Ideas and assumptions in transport are changing very quickly, among professionals and through society as a whole. Engineering NZ’s latest Transport Group Conference had the theme ‘Change is in the air.’ Who could have imagined, twelve months ago, that school children would be going on strike to demand action on climate change? Will we really see a third of CBD commuters still travelling by car in 2036, as predicted by LGWM? We don’t know. With so many uncertainties to manage, LGWM might be wise to plan for generous spare capacity on primary public transport routes: rail into Wellington and MRT further south. This might even extend to purchasing delivery options, or more vehicles than needed. If world-wide demand shoots up, small orders for a city like Wellington might take too long. The combination of highly uncertain demand and high-capacity MRT suggests that mass-transit might usefully be over-provided, within reason. Under-providing seems likely to be the greater risk. ↑ Contents Light Rail At this stage, light rail seems to be the only option clearly suited to Wellington and the chosen route. It is also available from multiple suppliers; light rail is well-established and supply-competitive. BRT is also available from multiple suppliers, but TT is only available from CRRC. The example vehicle chosen by FIT is seven-section, similar to the Gold Coast (G-link) vehicle in the photo. It is 63 m long with a capacity of nominally 470 passengers. Shorter vehicles might be best for the early years, reducing costs, but longer vehicles might be cheaper in the long term. The costly parts of a modern tram are the control system and cabs, and operating cost-differences are almost independent of vehicle length. If lack of capacity is a risk, then longer vehicles could usefully be introduced at once. The obvious drawback of light rail is the cost of track and diverting underground services. The usual arrangement is that services running along the light rail route are relocated beside it, and services crossing it are relaid in ducts, so that they can be replaced without disturbing light rail. Large drains are generally an exception because they can be repaired from the inside. ↑ Contents BRT A new route study can be based on the ITDP BRT Standard. In 2017 LGWM’s consultant WSP recommended design to the ITDP ‘Bronze Standard,’ and gave these assumptions: Full separation from general traffic flows (dedicated lanes), except intersections. High priority at traffic signals. Requires integration with surrounding walking, cycling & traffic network. Fully electric vehicles. High frequency 2.0–2.5 min/direction/peak hour (“realistic/normal” operating frequency of BRT on Golden Mile). Less transfers/interchanges for passengers. Maximum Capacity 150+ passengers. Medium potential to attract car users to PT. Modern low floor articulated bus vehicles. Flexible/less physical infrastructure. Generally fixed route, some flexibility (if required). BRT is likely to cost roughly the same as conventional buses. In practice, BRT seems very unlikely to be satisfactory in Wellington, because lack of space in the CBD will require a two-lane route. This might be sufficient with good management, of bus lanes, but can never be enough at stations. BRT stations in Brisbane (scaled from an aerial photograph) are typically about 27 m wide, compared with a street-width of 15.1 m in Wellington’s Manners St, for all purposes. BRT stations need two lanes each way, for buses overtaking buses. Also needed are more bus-berths, dedicated berths for each route (so that passengers know where to wait), and substantial platform width to handle passenger numbers. Some principal CBD junctions may need flyovers, to allow adequate junction time for traffic crossing the busway. WSP (bullet point 5 above) anticipate a reliable maximum time between buses of two or two and a half minutes between buses on the golden mile, only 24–30 bus/hr. The only real alternatives to the golden mile are two lanes on the waterfront or two lanes on the ‘secondary spine’ proposed in the Spine Study, using Featherston and Wakefield Streets southbound, and returning on Jervois Quay. Neither is wide enough, with very poor passenger access and legibility. ↑ Contents Trackless Trams Chinese developer CRRC is now the world’s largest manufacturer of railway rolling-stock (Newman et al. (2019), p 33, The Trackless Tram: is it the transit and city shaping catalyst we have been waiting for?). CRRC’s Autonomous Rail Rapid Transit (‘trackless tram’ or TT) system is now being trialled in Zhuzhou. TT might prove an attractive option, but there are surprising uncertainties here. Detailed information from CRRC is still scarce, and some sources seem very unreliable. Much of what is available is dated 2017, and an apparently official video is remarkably amateur. It is not even clear that CRRC have yet begun to market TT. TT uses digital steering of all six axles to track a pair of painted lines, with supplementary data from GPS and LIDAR. CRRC have paid close attention to ride quality, using high-speed rail technology. The vehicles are battery-powered (in fact condensers), with an anticipated range of 50 km after a ten-minute charge, backed up by an overnight ‘deep recharge’ and a brief top-up at each station (Newman et al. (2019), p 38). CRRC is offering, or planning to offer, vehicles 30 metres long, in three sections, with a five-section option planned. See the photos below. CRRC now has the largest vehicles on offer, with probably the best ride and the most effective batteries and charging systems. Other manufacturers are also in the market, including Alstom, Van Hool and Irizar (Newman et al. (2019), p 34), offering shorter, bus-based vehicles. The route capacity achievable using light rail is about 10,000 passengers an hour in Wellington, which seems a reasonable target for TT. A lower target would be more easily achieved but might risk running into capacity problems. Three-section TT vehicles are 31.6 m long and 2.65 m wide (the standard light rail width). The claimed capacity is 250–300, which seems very high. A standard figure in Europe is a preferred maximum of 4 standing passengers per square metre. Using this figure, and comparing on a floor-area basis (after subtracting two metres at each end, for the drivers’ cabs), gives a TT vehicle capacity of about 220 passengers. A further correction is needed, because TT vehicles have wide wheel-boxes for six axles (like the front wheels of a bus), and the boxing is continued beneath side-facing seats: the seats are set forward from the windows (photo above right). The full vehicle width is only available to passengers around the doors. An estimated width-correction of 300 mm reduces the capacity to 200 passengers, or 330 on a five-section TT, about 50 m long. This is about 70% of the assumed light rail capacity of 470 (FIT example vehicle). An animated video suggests that two TT vehicles can run in convoy only about a metre apart. If such an option becomes practical, TTs might be capable of running together without coupling, matching light rail capacity and eliminating the need for a four lane route. However, stop-length is another consideration. Finding space for platforms longer than about 50 m becomes progressively more difficult, and extremely difficult beyond about 70 m. Two potential TT risks are: A typical modern European tram (Siemens Avenio, 63 m long) weighs nearly three times as much as a full load of passengers, but TT vehicles weigh only about 15% more. The risk here is that long vehicles need adequate ‘buffing strength’ to protect passengers in the event of a crash. The whole vehicle needs to be strong enough to absorb the kinetic energy of the rear end with minimum risk to passengers. TT in New Zealand will need careful checking for compliance with regulations, regardless of whether the system is treated as bus or light rail. In either case, new regulations will be needed, and may need legislation. Wellington would gain a dual advantage from choosing ‘the same as Auckland’: no regulatory costs, and cheaper vehicles and equipment because of repeat orders. In Looking past the hype about trackless trams, Wong (2018) points out that TT is not really revolutionary, and alternatives to light rail have been available for years. However, Wong also challenges TT’s ride quality, which might be unfair, but his paper is still of interest. A guide and manual with application to Trackless Trams, a paper by Peter Newman et al. (2018), develops a new method of assessing public transport, specifically with TT in mind: Traditional transit planning does the transport engineering first and then adds the land use planning as a supplement after finding government funding; the approach being presented here starts with the land development planning and then does the transport engineering after achieving the funding/ financing from the land development potential. [p 6] Four approaches to capital are used: broadly, all-public; mostly public; mostly private; and all-private. While the paper seems very useful (and note the BCR below), explicitly applying it to TT seems doubtful: By integrating higher value into land development within cities, rather than having further land development on the urban fringe, there are significant public and private benefits that vastly outweigh the costs. Some BCR calculations have seen a simple light rail project with a BCR of 1.5 increase to around 7 because of the increased land development. This not only saves public money in infrastructure costs (usually 1.5 times as much as redevelopment) but also provides transport time savings for those living in the [Transit-Oriented Development areas (such as WCC’s plans for Adelaide Rd)] (based on all transport usage). Thus, it is important to ensure land value increases are integrated into the full transit and land system upgrade process. [p 6] Clearly, the model also works with light rail, but perhaps more worrying is this: Towards the end we show that a Trackless Tram is likely to be the new ‘rail’ system for cities as it does all the things light rail does but costs one tenth of it. This low cost makes it possible for entrepreneurial developers to build such systems as it will unlock their developments. [p 14] TT at a tenth of the cost of light rail is implausible. While the four-level model is interesting, other sources suggest that saving 90% of light rail costs is unrealistic. One of Newman’s errors has been picked up by Matt L: The press for the trackless train claims the vehicle can hold 300 people. This seems highly unlikely given the vehicle is only about 30m long. As a comparison, AT say that a 66m light rail vehicle will hold up to 420 people. The interior of the vehicle doesn’t suggest a huge amount of standing space either and a capacity of 180–200 people seems more realistic. But even if it could hold 300 people, it’s not enough, which is why AT are going for higher capacity vehicles. Newman himself notes (Newman et al. (2019), p 39) an Australian estimate of a third of the cost of light rail, which seems a reasonable starting-point; real-world costs must cover more than painting double white lines. Trackless trams, like BRT, look tempting because they seem far more cost-effective than light rail. This has gone on for a long time, and Wong (2018) refers to a 1994 paper, by Henscher and Walters, titled Light rail and bus priority systems: Choice or blind commitment? Perhaps the largest single risk when adopting alternatives to light rail is the simplest. Decision-makers have repeatedly demonstrated how easily they can convince themselves that anything without tracks must be better than light rail. An example is that UCL, in Innovative technologies for light rail and tram: a European reference resource Briefing paper 1 Tyre innovation–rubber tyred trams (a 2015 review of earlier versions of trackless trams), commented: All (BRT) systems installed to date have been more expensive than conventional tramways. At least two of those systems were replaced by light rail. A related blind-commitment temptation is assuming that only light rail needs to disturb underground services. The ignored risk is that underground services can disrupt TT, just as they have always disrupted present-day motor traffic: TT/BRT proponents, including CRRC, claim the benefits of being able to avoid a crash by manually steering around the obstruction. This is as much a disadvantage as an advantage, because the converse is motor vehicles running on TT/BRT ‘tracks.’ Light rail experience in Britain is stoppages when parked cars obstruct the track, and TT/BRT must also address these risks. The light rail photo on page 3 shows a kerb outside the tracks (at right), with prominent ‘TRAM ONLY’ signs painted on the road, to discourage motor vehicles. Light rail has to maintain an exclusive corridor, and effective TT will need to do the same. If TT/BRT is seen as not needing underground services diversion, decision-makers have unwittingly accepted the risk of delays or damage when underground services fail. Motor traffic is frequently delayed in this way, and drivers manage it by travelling at other times or taking an alternative route. Road signs warning of future disruptions are commonplace. Neither management option is available to either TT or BRT, and Wellington has recent experience of the effects. When the Hutt railway line was washed out in 2013, motor traffic also came to a standstill, for several days. Ignoring the need for services diversion for TT/BRT will tend to have the same effect, rarely over days, but even ten minutes can be very disruptive. Wellington decision-makers need to face facts here. Two major studies, the 2011 Bus Review and the 2013 Spine Study, were wiped out by ill-considered cost-savings. Ten years after the problem was first identified, Greater Wellington still has a heavily overloaded bus route and no plans for improvement. This process, of unconsciously working towards a substandard outcome, is well-known; blind commitment is one term, but Wikipedia calls it BRT Creep: BRT creep comprises several types of gradual erosions in service that sometimes affect a bus rapid transit (BRT) system, resulting in a service that is not up to the standards promised by BRT advocates. In its ideal form, BRT aims to combine the capacity and speed of a light rail system with the flexibility, cost and simplicity of a bus system. BRT creep occurs when a system that promises these features instead acts more like a standard, non-rapid bus system… The most extreme versions of BRT creep lead to systems that cannot even truly be recognised as “Bus Rapid Transit”. This is what happens when the bus lobby sidles in and whispers, “we can do exactly the same for half the price.” They do, and they can’t. ↑ Contents Costs Costs for TT vehicles are roughly comparable with light rail; say about $80 million to run a five-minute service. Other cost estimates vary wildly, but real-world costs must cover more than painting double white lines: Road re-grading as needed; TT videos show well-levelled surfaces everywhere. TT vehicles use the same low floor-level as light rail, and will tend to need similar large-radius vertical curves. Heavy-current, high-voltage power at all stops, termini, and especially the depot. Stations, including platforms, shelter, passenger access; ticketing machines and connections at hubs. A depot, with scope for expansion. Motor traffic realignment to make room for TT. Integration with traffic signals for TT priority. Any TT cost-estimates for Wellington will need great care, using data from existing users. Ensuring a dedicated and separated corridor would future-proof TT to support fully autonomous operation when the technology matures: light rail is future-proofed by design. The first light rail line in Montpellier opened in 2001, and in 2008 was carrying 30 million passengers a year. A cost analysis from Marc le Tourneur (2011), Making the case for trams and regional trams, showed that buses and BRT both cost about 45% more than light rail: light rail (actual figures) Investment cost per passenger€ 0.93 Operating cost per passenger€ 0.53 Total€ 1.46 buses (actual figures) Investment cost per passenger€ 0.49 Operating cost per passenger€ 1.61 Total€ 2.12 bus rapid transit (simulated using data from Nantes) Investment cost per passenger€ 0.84 Operating cost per passenger€ 1.27 Total€ 2.11 Montpellier (populaton 290,000) now has four light rail lines, with a total length of 60 km. Data from Transport for London gives equal costs for buses and light rail at about 3200 light rail passengers an hour; a little higher and light rail is cheaper than buses, and a lot cheaper when light rail is running at capacity. One reason is that savings on operations cost are sufficient to pay for greater capital costs. Roughly 70% of operating costs are driver’s wages, for either buses or light rail, but one light rail driver replaces some four to six bus drivers. ↑ Contents
      • Accepted from Fair Intelligent Transport (FIT) Wellington feed 5 months ago by feedreader
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    • Buses, but not so rapidly
      • 5 Aug 2015
      • Wellington Scoop
      • Will the latest developments in planning a new Wellington bus system provide the rapid transit that was originally promised? Our local bodies (the city council and the regional council, working with the Transport Agency) have chosen “two options” to be investigated for the development of “modern, faster public transport” for Wellington City. But the announcement reads as if they know nothing about the city’s layout. And as for cycleways, it’s obvious that till now these haven’t been given any consideration at all.
      • Accepted from Wellington Scoop features 62 months ago
      • Tagged as:
      • buses
      • bus-rapid-transit

    • New Bus Shelter for Lyttelton Avenue - June 2015
      • 25 May 2015
      • Metlink - Greater Wellington's public transport network
      • A new, safe bus shelter is to be installed on Lyttelton Avenue in order to modernise the facilities and upgrade existing infrastructure in the area.   The work will begin at bus stop #2008...
      • Accepted from Metlink news scaper 64 months ago
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      • Lyttleton Avenue, Elsdon, Porirua, Porirua City, Wellington, 5022, New Zealand/Aotearoa


    • New bus network will give better access to Victoria University - February 2015
      • 23 Feb 2015
      • Metlink - Greater Wellington's public transport network
      • More students will have greater access to Victoria University, via connecting ‘shuttle’ services from a range of hubs around the city, when the new Wellington City bus network is introduced in 2017. The new network will replace the current Route 18 service to the university. As a consequence some students, who currently have a direct route to the university, will be required to transfer as part of their trip and this has been of concern to the university.
      • Tagged as:
      • vuw
      • route-18

    • Bus Stopped
      • 1 May 2014
      • Salient
      • The Greater Wellington Regional Council is looking to cut University bus routes, including the popular number 18, in a move VUWSA says will add to student travel time and CBD congestion. Under the Draft Regional Public Transport Plan, currently in the process of consultation, new “hubs” will be created at the Railway Station, Karori Tunnel and Courtenay Place.
      • Accepted from Salient main feed 77 months ago
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    • Earlier bus now possible for Strathmore service
      • 7 Sep 2013
      • Sarah Free
      • After contacting Mathew Lear of Greater Wellington with my concerns about the need for an earlier Strathmore service, I received the following email: “Just a heads up, after your feedback we’ve  amended the draft timetables and  the 6:20am trip from Strathmore now added to the latest draft timetable which provides a connection to Wellington Hospital […]
      • Accepted from Sarah Free posts 85 months ago
      • Tagged as:
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    • “We’re not perfect”
      • 2 Sep 2013
      • Wellington Scoop
      • “We’re not perfect,” says the CEO of NZ Bus, Zane Fulljames. This was after a second series of faults had been found in his Wellington buses. His words (for some reason they remind me of the last scene in Some Like It Hot) are being widely repeated. But it’s no joke. It’s the second time his company has been shown to be less than perfect. In May, there were four weeks of disruptions after his buses were pink-stickered because they were unsafe. Wasn’t everything supposed to have been fixed by now?
      • Accepted from Wellington Scoop features 85 months ago
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