What should they have considered?
NZTA has done no safety analysis on the impact of their decision on the local communities of Waikanae and Waikanae Beach. Extra traffic forced onto local roads will make our suburban streets more dangerous, particularly for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.
The beach streets include Te Moana Road, Rauparaha Street, Huiawa Street, Field Way and William Street. Rutherford Drive, Paetawa Road and Peka Peka Road are rural residential roads. These are all streets and roads that the residents and users will not be expecting a substantial increase in traffic, particularly at peak times.
The decision to backtrack on the south-facing ramps goes against the Community Vision and Action Plan for Waikanae Beach which sets out to protect the character, enhance the environment and respect the slow pace of life in the area. Large increases in traffic on the local roads will undermine this vision.
Along with these streets and roads, Hemi Street, Sylvan Avenue, Belvedere Avenue, Ngarara Road, Park Avenue, and Rimu Street will become far busier as people avoid the Waikanae township with traffic lights and reduced speed limits, to access the Waikanae interchange.
Furthermore, expressways are purpose-built to take traffic off the residential streets and have a significantly better safety record than local roads.
Once access from the existing SH1 is cut off to the Expressway at Peka Peka, travelling times (measured by us in low traffic periods) will increase by one minute when travelling between Peka Peka and the Waikanae Interchange, and by five minutes when travelling between Te Horo Beach and Te Horo township and the Waikanae Interchange. The south-facing ramps at Otaki South will only offer a faster route for those north of Te Horo township including School Road, albeit with a greatly increased distance.
On the other hand, the NZTA models claim a four-minute saving on these routes by 2021. This is highly unlikely if peak time congestion and growth are taken into account.
Hundreds of vehicles use the roads, particularly at weekends, to visit the many businesses in Te Horo and Peka Peka. Expecting these drivers to exit at Waikanae and travel through suburban local roads will have a negative impact on current and future businesses in the region. Visitors are already confused by the lack of logical traffic pathways to Peka Peka and Te Horo. Many businesses in Peka Peka and Te Horo are concerned for their future viability.
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Te Horo is an area without access to public transport, and not having south-facing ramps at Peka Peka reduces choice and resilience even further. NZTA didn’t consider this.
Finally, there was no attempt by NZTA to assess the impact on access for the Waikanae community of having extra traffic using their local roads as secondary transport corridors. More through traffic makes local access more difficult.
The local Waikanae and Peka Peka environment will deteriorate due to the increase in emissions from the additional traffic which will include large trucks. Total emissions including greenhouse gases will increase because distances being travelled will increase.
Shorter distances along the Expressway with purpose-built buffer zones away from the population will reduce the environmental impacts. NZTA did not consider this.
- Value for money
NZTA didn’t work out whether the Peka Peka ramps were the “right roads” following the Government’s new policy and then work out the best cost. They just cut and pasted an extract from the new Government policy into their old approach of evaluating these projects.
They didn’t consider the relative operating costs of the two options e.g. maintenance of the local roads. These costs are just put on the Kapiti ratepayers.
- Future Proofing
NZTA has not considered the effects on traffic volumes on zone changes in the Proposed District Plan where land has been rezoned from Rural to Rural Residential. This intensification has not been considered.
It also has not considered the impact of proposed new subdivisions north of Waikanae to both the east and west of old SH1. New connectors would make the addition of south-facing ramps at Peka Peka, sound viable access points to and from the expressway for these communities.
These developments mean that the level of traffic using local roads such as Park Avenue in Waikanae will increase dramatically. Diversion of this onto the Expressway will be valued by Waikanae residents whether by reason of safety, environmental concerns, or improved access to their local roads.
- Local people ignored
NZTA has ignored the data and opinions of local people. It undertook consultation with a segment of the users with a legitimate concern but ignored the range of other interests. As a result, their business case is silent on these issues.
- Kapiti Coast District Council (KCDC)
Both the Otaki and Waikanae Community Boards have passed motions supporting the need to redo the business case and to have this project added to the Regional Land Transport Plan. They are calling on KCDC to support these. There will be no costs to ratepayers in doing this as that falls at the feet of NZTA. We await the outcome of these motions and in the meantime, Council staff are assisting us with additional information and support.