CHRIS TURVER’S COLUMN

matanagi trainFormer regional councillor calls for a start on Raumati South station

Former Regional Councillor Chris Turver has called for urgent action to solve the car-park crisis hitting commuters on the Kapiti rail link with Wellington.

In his latest column for KIN, he says its time now to build the long-awaited Raumati South Station and to improve local bus services at peak times.

Here’s Mr Turver ‘s column:

2. chris turverUrgent action needed to improve commuter parking

By Chris Turver

It’s great to have a shiny new rail service from Wellington to Waikanae and much more frequent services….

But if we’re not careful people will be turned off using trains because parking is such a hassle.

The time is well overdue for Greater Wellington Regional Council and Kapiti Coast District Council to find solutions for an acute shortage of parking at Paraparaumu and Waikanae.

The regional council funds just 581 car parks at Paraparaumu and 176 at Waikanae but that was clearly never going to be enough.

Rail patronage is increasing at more than three per cent a year and even Paekakariki, with 79 car parks, can be stretched as Raumati residents find it easier to find a park there than drive north to Paraparaumu.

The issue now is that in Paraparaumu and Waikanae cars are parking in adjacent streets, blocking access for local residents and businesses, and reducing shopper parking.

It’s time for an urgent review of options including:

–        reducing car parking demand by extending peak time local bus services to pick up and drop off commuters whose nearest bus stop is too far away

–        constructing the long-planned Raumati South rail station to relieve the growing parking pressure at Paraparaumu station

–        creating park-n-ride hubs outside Paraparaumu and Waikanae and providing frequent peak time bus feeder services to the stations

–        finding more land for parking in the town centres

The bottom line is that there are only 836 car parks and while existing local bus services and car pooling to take some pressure off, the evidence of short supply is clear to anybody who watches the spillover on to local roads.

The two councils need to be seen to be doing something but there is no evidence that solutions are being found.

If in fact the two councils are working towards creative options, then tell us so we get some comfort that the issue is not being swept under the carpet.

Separately, the likelihood of any extension of electrification to Otaki is unlikely for at least 12 years, according to regional council information which now puts the cost of any extension to between $50-60 million and the earliest start date at 2024-25.

This means that if the Capital Connection does not continue after its latest extension date of 2015, then the growing Otaki area will be without a rail connection to Wellington for about 10 years.

Not good for Otaki and not good for Kapiti as we try to grow the economic strength of the whole district.