Jeremy Smith says the Government’s post-Covid 19 ‘big spend’ on public works to restart the economy could have major benefits for Kapiti.
His suggestion for the transport sector — remove level crossings.
Rail- road crossings are some of the most dangerous places in New Zealand, he says.
So, he says, ‘Start by removing the Elizabeth Street level crossing in Waikanae.
Elizabeth Street is the only road out of a major part of Waikanae.
Because of delays caused by trains a special locked gate rail crossing for emergency services only is in place north of the Waikanae station. (KIN reported on this in 2019).
Elizabeth Street congestion could ease
The railway lines could go into a trench so the Elizabeth street overbridge to the main road would cross at close to ground level. At the same time, a second passing line could be put in.’
Remover the rail crossing at Paraparaumu
‘My second suggestion: Remove the Paraparaumu crossing at Kapiti road by the Kapiti Coast Funeral Home just north of the Paraparaumu station.
Both Paraparaumu and Waikanae stations have become noticeably busier since the introduction of 20-minute weekday services to Wellington.
More trains mean the barrier arms are down more often and the bells are ringing more frequently.
Since 2008 the number of rail commuter trips in the Wellington region has gone up from 11.8 million to 14.3 million. And in the last five years peak passenger growth is up 5 percent.
A significant portion of this is on the Kapiti line.
Both Elizabeth Street and Kapiti Road at Hinemoa Street are important local roads with increasing traffic. Both have traffic backed up at peak times. Expect more delays.
This would leave only Otaihanga and Paekakariki as the remaining rail crossings on the Kapiti Coast.’
Linking with rail improvements to Otaki
‘Developments at Waikanae would also tie in with upgraded rail services to Otaki and beyond.
The draft NZ rail plan calls for a second platform at Waikanae. And the plans as they stand call for a second weekday Capital connection train between Palmerston North and Wellington.
Money has already been set earmarked to refurbish carriages for the existing Capital Connection.
By this time next year the two big Kapiti transport projects, Transmission Gully and Pekapeka to Otaki should be finished.
Removal of the two rail crossings would be a significant local project, providing jobs and injecting money into the Kapiti economy.’