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Upper Hutt Leader : August 31st 2011
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All roads lead to Petone Debating the issues surrounding Valley access By JIM CHIPP ' The question I want to put, with respect, is: why are you making it hard for us to do the right thing, and so easy for others to do the wrong thing? ' David Tripp Get on with completing a safe, off-road route for walkers and cyclists between Petone and Ngauranga, and do it right now.'' That was the clear message of the 287 submissions to Hutt Cor- ridor Plan Hearing. It was by far the most popular request with almost 100 individ- ual submitters calling for it, as well as a large number who wrote in support of the Great Harbour Way Coalition, which also called for the cycleway extension. However, in its submission the New Zealand Transport Agency said it had other priorities, but will explore other funding sources. Wellington Regional Council chairwoman Fran Wilde, Hutt mayor Ray Wallace, Upper Hutt mayor Wayne Guppy, Wellington City councillor Andy Foster and New Zealand Transport Agency central region director Jenny Chetwynd heard submissions over two days in Wellington and Lower Hutt. Other themes were a new road from Grenada to Petone, which received almost equal support and opposition, calls for further inves- tigation of a new cross-valley link road, to take some of the Esplanade's traffic load, and a grade-separated interchange at Haywards to make entering or leaving Manor Park safer. Rocky road for popular cycleway Although completing the cycleway from Petone to Ngauranga was by far the most popular project, its future still looks bleak. Patrick Morgan, speaking on behalf of Cycle Aware Wellington, said one and half million people in New Zealand ride bikes. We are not talking about a few lycra-clad enthusiasts' interests here. Cyc- ling in New Zealand is a very mainstream thing,'' he said. Facilities need to keep pace with public demand. Let's end the delays and get on with it,'' he said. Many others including Ohariu MP Peter Dunne agreed. Not only are parts of this sec- tion unpleasant to ride but many people refuse to do so because it is basically unsafe.'' David Tripp, an intensive care specialist at the Hutt Hospital said he didn't want a lot of money spent on a pedestrian and cycling bridge across the railway at Horokiwi, but had informally identified other hazard-spots to cyclists on the Petone-to- Wellington route, which he wanted fixed. Cycling wasn't that dangerous, he said. The question I want to put, with respect, is, why are you mak- ing it hard for us to do the right thing, and so easy for others to do the wrong thing?'' he asked the committee. New Zealand Transport Agency highways and network operations planning manager Selwyn Black- moreimmediately poured cold water on the pathway being brought forward. That is not going to happen, from our perspective, because funding is fully committed [else- where],'' he said. The agency's written sub- mission supported investigating the Ngauranga-to-Petone cycleway next year, but warned that it would offer no funding assurances for construction. Esplanade coastal highway? A written and oral submission from CentrePort said the corridor plan's assumptions that the Esplanade would carry 3000 trucks each day is likely to be an underestimate. Significant volumes of both import and export cargoes pass through the Hutt Corridor area and as the plan highlights, freight movement is anticipated to grow in volume by over 70 per cent through to 2031.'' Currently 11 million tonnes of freight pass through the Hutt trans- port corridor with 2.5 million being transported to and from Seaview, Gracefield. CentrePort supported a new road from Grenada to Petone and a new cross-valley link road road to meet it. The plans to upgrade the Espla- nade to carry more vehicles is a short-sighted, short-term band- aid fix,'' it said. Thirteen written submissions supported re-considering a cross valley link road. Some suggested that another popular project, a new road from Grenada to Petone, should not be considered in iso- lation of Hutt City's roads. Pam Hanna of the Petone Plan- ning Action Group said members were quite alarmed by the pros- pect of more traffic on the Esplanade. Several residents of Horokiwi made submissions, mostly in sup- port of the Grenada to Petone road, including Horokiwi Rural Preservation Society member Karen Futter, who said since right turns into or out of Horokiwi were stopped in 2009 her family has travelled an extra 8000 kilometres each year, in order to get there via Ngauranga. A Grenada to Petone road was a very acceptable solution to the Horokiwi community, especially if the southern alignment is used, that goes past the quarry'', she said. Hazardous Haywards A small but articulate group of submitters wanted a grade separated interchange at Haywards to reduce the danger of crossing State Highway 2 in order to enter or leave Manor Park. Residents, golf club members and a rest home all made submissions. Malcolm Crichton spoke to the committee. I think the important point is that that it is not just the houses and the residents, there are a lot of visitors to the houses and the golf club,'' he said. The hearing committee will meet again on September 9 to review changes to the Hutt Corri- dor Plan before it goes to the Regional Land Transport Com- mittee for final approval.
August 24th 2011
September 7th 2011