Motorway Madness

By Alan Tristram

1st September 2009

“Motorway Madness Makes No Sense”

LyndyMcIntyre“The Government’s plan to spend nearly a billion dollars on an expressway through Kapiti is madness and makes no sense,” says Kapiti Coast District Councillor Lyndy McIntyre.

“As the enormity of the proposal sinks in, the community is realizing the disastrous implications,” she says.

Councillor McIntyre says the proposal brings no benefit to the local community or economy — and every expressway option creates more problems than solutions.

“This is all about shaving a few minutes off the journey through Kapiti for long-haul travelers and providing a fast lane between Wellington and Auckland for trucks,” she says.

“Far from benefiting Kapiti, it will shut down local businesses, destroy hundreds of households, create problems for emergency services, and fragment local communities,” she says.

The community should not be duped into thinking that four-laning the Western Link Road will improve the proposal, she adds.

“The bottom line for Government is a 100-kph-highway through Kapiti with a minimum of exits. Putting it through the centre of Kapiti solves nothing,” she says.

“This option is bitterly opposed by Iwi, and would be an environmental and community disaster for the centre of Kapiti.”

Congestion claim a ‘joke.’

Cr McIntyre also says the Government’s claim that State Highway 1 is “heavily congested” is a joke.

“The vast majority of the time the highway is not congested,” she says.

“The short peak-hour periods on weekday mornings and evenings could be addressed by dramatically increasing the number of daily rail commuters who travel to Wellington to work.

“If Government can find $1billion for the expressway, they could extend our public transport service to Otaki and make rail attractive to the overwhelming majority of Kapiti commuters who choose to drive to Wellington to work.“

Lyndy McIntyre says motorways were old thinking and out of touch with the key issues facing the planet – peak oil and climate change.

Option Four’ Mooted

Cr McIntyre says none of  three options suggested by the Minister of Transport and a Kapiti pressure group are remotely sustainable.

The best interests of the Kapiti community and the Nation would be served by an Option Four,she says. This is the sustainable option, which addresses the actual problem of too much traffic at peak times and provides solutions.

She says Option Four’s advantages are:

  • A state-of-the-art rail service between Wellington and Otaki and eventually Palmerston North, accessible to all local communities and moving freight to rail; and an affordable and efficient bus service throughout the Kapiti district
  • A scaled-down Western Link Road, including a second bridge over the Waikanae River.

The capping  of “think big” developments, such as the airport development, which are predicted to trigger massive local traffic increases over the next 20 years