RTF calls out Govt on Cobham Drive proposals

In News3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineJuly 26, 2021

A new pedestrian crossing and speed reductions on Cobham Drive in Wellington shouldn’t be going ahead without sufficient evidence to support its benefits, according to the Road Transport Forum’s submission to the Let’s Get Wellington Moving project.

Chief executive Nick Leggett says the crossing, and its subsequent speed reductions, planned for Cobham Drive, the State Highway 1 route to and from Wellington airport, will only add time to people’s journeys.

Submissions close this week on Let’s Get Wellington Moving’s proposed crossing on Cobham Drive and lowering of speeds on State Highway 1, east of Mt Victoria. The RTF is part of a group of Wellington businesses and stakeholders frustrated by Let’s Get Wellington Moving’s progress and focus.

“I’ve said before, Let’s Get Wellington Moving is a misnomer and to get things moving, we’ve got to stop slowing things down,” Leggett says.

“This is our main state highway and vital route to Wellington’s airport, we don’t want to see time added to that journey without strong evidence, which is currently missing in action,” he says.

Leggett says all road users need to operate in an environment where road safety, the impacts of transport on the environment, and the transport of goods by road can co-exist.

“We proactively participate in central and local government conversations about how this can happen,” he says.

“What is concerning is that they talk, but they don’t listen. And they can’t produce sufficient evidence to substantiate significant changes to the roading network that favour cyclists and pedestrians over motorists, and spend vast amounts of rate and tax payer dollars.”

Leggett says the Government is talking about spending $1 million for a raised pedestrian crossing, with lights, “for a handful of people who might want to cross this road where they don’t need to”.

He says this will disadvantage the 35,000 vehicles that typically use Cobham Drive every day.

“We have seen no cost-benefit analyses to underpin this crossing and we know that a controlled pedestrian crossing will further slow traffic on this vital route – to a stop when the lights are red and to a crawl to get over the raised crossing,” Legget says.

“The guise of road safety can’t be taken to mean safety at any cost and we don’t believe New Zealanders have signed up for that.

“We believe Let’s Get Wellington Moving has missed one critical scenario in its planning, that of doing nothing and maintaining the status quo,” he says.

“It jumped straight to a starting point of delivering a crossing, regardless of justification and cost.

“We urge Let’s Get Wellington Moving to develop and provide a more balanced case on the impacts of this proposal on all parties, and in particular to provide quality data on the economic and social impacts.”