Stage 4 Determination of the preferred arterial transport configuration
Council adopts most recommendations from the Stage 4 report
Following three hours of discussion in front of a packed public gallery at their meeting on 11 August, Council decided to accept most of the recommendations of the Stage 4 Report of the study.
Council will now seek further information through an issues and options paper about what extra protection can be put in place, possibly through the Nelson Resource Management Plan and Regional Policy Statement, to protect any future uses of the Southern Arterial Corridor.
Mayor Aldo Miccio says “This decision doesn’t mean any roads are going to be built now. We are all comfortable with the expert opinion that we don’t have congestion issues that warrant it and won’t have for many years to come. However Council didn’t want to leave two options open (as recommended in the report) for an undetermined number of years. This could really limit growth and development opportunities for large areas of the city. By looking at future protection for just one option we can give some certainty to the community and get on with improving the roading network as best we can in the meantime. Lots of projects have been on hold pending the outcome of this report and we can now look at moving these forward. ”
The recommendation that Council adopted today included further investigation in to a shared walkway/cycleway around the waterfront that also linked into the cycle commuter network at the Annesbrook Roundabout.
It was agreed that the report recommendations as adopted by Council today will inform future transport planning including the Regional Land Transport Programme being developed by the Regional Land Transport Committee.
Council will also undertake to review the modelling data on a regular basis to assess if and when further investigation into the implementation of the Southern Arterial Corridor should be addressed in earnest.
The objective of the Nelson Arterial Traffic Study is to determine the best transport configuration between Annesbrook and the QEII/Haven Road roundabouts that would improve the city as a whole. The fourth and final stage report has been released and it makes a recommendations for Council to consider.
The findings in a nutshell
- We don’t have a significant traffic problem in Nelson, nor is one forecast to develop over the modelled time period of the study – the next 25 years
- Of the four options that were assessed in the study Option A - Peak Hour Clearways and Option B – Southern Arterial both offered positives but also had negatives. (Options H and I were discarded earlier in the process)
- Elements of Option A can be done in stages to provide additional capacity when needed, for example – the study recommends we go ahead with the walk/cycleway around the waterfront in the short term, subject to NZTA funding approval
- Option B – the Southern Arterial should be protected as a long-term future dedicated transport corridor
The overall recommendation for Nelson City Council from the study are summarised as:
- Retain the existing arterial network configuration and operations and progress the individual intersection improvements*, and other projects as appropriate.
- Incorporate relevant provisions in the City’s policy and planning documents that identify State Highway 6 as the main arterial route and provide for it’s protection and efficient use. Also provide for the protection of the Southern Arterial corridor as a transport route (walking and cycling, roading or otherwise) with specific associated explanation and policy.
- Implement Travel Demand Management Measures such as travel plans, car-pooling and changes to the cost and availability of public parking immediately. Place Phase A** public transport on hold and review the feasibility of this again in around 10 years time. In the interim, it is recommended that investigations be undertaken to determine what improvements could be made to the current services in terms of number and frequency of trips within the current constrained financial environment.
- Proceed with the investigation of a walkway/cycleway around the waterfront, noting that the construction of such a facility is likely to hinge on obtaining adequate funding.
- Undertake regular monitoring and reviews of the population projections and land use assumptions used in the transport model, as well as traffic volumes, public transport usage, sea level rise predictions and funding policy changes, and assess the implications of any changes from the projections and predictions used in this study. This should be undertaken in line with the release of Census information.
- Do nothing that would prevent the implementation of either the Peak Hour Clearways or the Southern Arterial at some stage in the future. Consider implementing either option only when:
- The above monitoring and review programme identifies a need to address transport issues;
- it can be economically justified; and
- it can be shown that it would improve the city as a whole.
* The intersection improvements referred to are as follows:
- By 2016: New signals along Waimea Road at Market Road / Boundary Road and Motueka Street as well as intersection improvements at Waimea Road / The Ridgeway
- By 2016: Intersection improvements at Haven Road / Halifax Street intersection in Nelson
- By 2036: Upgrade of the roundabouts at Whakatu Drive / Annesbrook Drive and Whakatu Road /Waimea Road / Beatson Road intersections
- By 2036: New signals at the Vanguard Street / Gloucester Street and St Vincent Street /Gloucester Street / Washington Road.
** Phase A public transport improvements are defined in Appendix A of the Nelson Regional Land Transport Strategy
The study concludes it is too early to choose between Options A and B as the best long-term arterial traffic configuration. Therefore it recommends that Council should ensure both options remain viable in the long term while monitoring land use, demographic and traffic trends with a view to periodically testing the feasibility of Options A and B.
While Option B does provide more vehicle capacity for a marginal increase in cost when compared with Option A, the social and environmental consequences of Option B are significant. Those consequences might be justified if the current network was already reaching capacity and the economic wellbeing of the city was being affected but the research and modelling shows that this is not the case, and won’t be for the foreseeable future.
However, the Decision Making Team was acutely aware of the levels of uncertainty associated with making predictions about future capacity demands and city growth. The option B route is already a transport corridor and the team agreed that it was sensible right now, in terms of both economics and the long-term interests of the Nelson community, to make provision to retain the option of utilising this corridor more in the future. Some may see this as “hedging our bets” but because of the length of time before a new road is needed and the small cost of protecting Option B, it is considered a prudent approach to keep that option available if circumstances change significantly in the future.
What about the other options?
Option H – State Highway 6 Four laning and Option I – Waimea Road/Rutherford Street four laning were discarded because of their high cost and impact on communities for minimal improvement to traffic flow. Discarding these options was also recommended by the 33 community organisations following their workshops held in 2010.
How did the experts make their choice?
All the data collected and presented in the Stage Three report was subjected to Multi Criteria Analysis (MCA). This is a way of exploring the preferences among different options and was outlined in the Stage 1 and 1B reports published in June 2010, along with the criteria to be scored and the weight to be placed on each criterion, as developed by the Decision Making Team.
Ten criteria were decided on. These were used to guide the analysis of the options.
1. Impacts on cultural and heritage values. This includes direct impacts on protected items such as trees, buildings and historic sites and less tangible cultural and spiritual values.
2. Impacts on the natural environment. This includes general effects on air quality (including particulates and greenhouse gases), water quality (including coastal water), biodiversity values and natural areas.
3. Co-benefits. This criterion takes into account any positive contributions to the community that an option may yield, which are not directly associated with transport.
Examples of co-benefits could be freeing up of land for other uses, health benefits, or opportunities for multiple uses of road or transport facilities.
4. Impacts on the city’s future. This measures how an option contributes to or detracts from the achievement of known policies and plans. It applies to the community as a whole.
5. Impacts on communities - Physical – for example, effects of changes in air quality, noise, visual impact and physical safety (including safety of road users) on the community.
6. Impacts on communities – Social - assessment of concepts such as severance/social cohesion, convenience/loss of access, freedom of movement, amenity values and security, as well as direct effects on community land uses such as schools and meeting venues.
7. Impacts on communities - Economic – potential effects on the wider economy of the city and region and to a lesser extent, effect on local businesses affected by the different options.
8. Robustness/Future-proofing. This identifies and assesses how well an option will perform if the medium to long-term assumptions turn out to be incorrect due to changes in demand and/or transport types. It requires consideration of the implications of the physical changes involved (for example to a road corridor), if demand either does not eventuate, or exceeds that predicted, in the medium or long-term. Can the option be scaled up or scaled down in the future?
9. Degree of Difficulty – this criterion introduces the concept of practicability in terms of achieving an option. It takes into account aspects such as technical ability to undertake the option, affordability, any legislative issues and complexity.
10. Economic Efficiency/Benefit-cost ratio. This criterion applies NZTA’s Economic Evaluation procedures to determine the economic efficiency of each option.
Both options A and B were also assessed against NZTA investment criteria (Strategic Fit, Efficiency and Effectiveness ). Under current investment criteria, neither Option A or B currently have a funding profile of sufficient priority to receive NZTA funding.
Councillors will discuss the study at the Council meeting on Thursday 11 August. This is a public meeting and residents are welcome to attend to listen to the discussions.
Public discussion session
You are welcome to attend a public session to discuss the contents of the Stage 4 report or join the online discussion here.
- Wednesday 3 August 5.30 pm in the Council Chamber, Civic House (please enter via the old double doors on Trafalgar Street – opposite Noel Leeming).
For more information contact the Council on +64 3 546 0200 or send us an email.