Police to travel on Trains in the Hutt

If you see police on a Tranz Metro train out of Wellington, don’t be alarmed – it’s a new initiative between Tranz Metro and community policing.

The project, launched from Wellington Railway Station today, literally takes police in a new direction.

Having Community Constables using the trains provides people with an extra opportunity to discuss local concerns with Police. “It’s along the lines of policing where the people are”, says Inspector Michael Hill, Acting Area Commander for Wellington. “The rail network is widely used so we are getting the ability to work on and from trains”.

In the near future, Community Constables may be seen talking with passengers on the Upper Hutt, Melling and other rail lines. With many commuters choosing the convenient, environmentally friendly trains, it is hoped they will use the time to discuss local concerns.

“We work closely with the authorities and we are delighted that Police are using the Tranz Metro train service like so many Wellingtonians,” comments Mark Pettitt, Security Manager of Passenger Rail at KiwiRail.

via NZ Police

Hutt Region City Councils Long Term Council Community Plan (LTCCP)

Hutt City Draft Community LTCCP 2009-2019

Hutt City Draft Community LTCCP 2009-2019

Your submission is required by the 5pm Thursday 30th April.

There are several other draft plans that effect the Hutt Valley at present. Listed below are the times for submissions:

Upper Hutt City Councils Draft Plan 1 April – 13 May 2009

Greater Wgtn Regional Council Draft Plan 23 March-24 April at the same time they will also be undertaking separate consultation between 23 March and 24 April on the Regional Land Transport Programme for the Wgtn Region.

But lets look at the Hutt plan in a bit of detail. First its 325 pages long, thats right 325 pages. What are they talking about that takes that much material. Well each household would have received a summary via post.  This document is 14 pages long, and provides a blurb from the Mayor and CEO as to the purpose behind the LTCCP, which is to look ahead 10 years, an opportunity to provide your views on projects and activities they are proposing and how they will spend the money to fund this in the coming 10 years. The 325 page document gives far greater depth, in fact its frightening that it takes this much space to explain their goals / activities etc. One puts this up against the Greater Wgtn plan of the same agenda (Long term planning) it only runs to 223 pages, 100 pages less.

But the whole purpose of these documents is to provide greater accountability to you the ratepayer, you pay these guys to provide services. The document is loaded with facts and projections.

A cursory look unfolds a couple of  facts /harbingers

  • Rates  Expect these to be around 2-3% increase each year (includes inflation). If inflation is higher rates will be higher.               
  • Income Council gets approx 64% of its income from rates, property owners in the Hutt 
  • Debt The Council is $75m in debt (2009) and expects to get this down to $30m (2015)

Several projects (in excess of $1/2million) are listed for consideration on the submission form, and as democracy goes the only way you can have your say is via a submission, part of the  form survey. This leads to a chance to present your submission to the Mayor in early May, if you desire. The process is similar for the other LTCCP plans.

One has to dig quite depth to find specifics, but in line with current postings of interest in the Hutt Valley, the  railway line is one subject that crosses the boundaries of several of these plans. By searching through the plans available one can find some interesting points:

1.   Hutt LTCCP P.165 investigate with Greater Wgtn Regional Council opportunities to expand parking at Waterloo Railway station (Park & Ride).

2. Greater Wgtn LTCCP P.20 Introduce a charge for Park & Ride Parking. Investigate a levy for parking at Park & Ride areas that are currently experiencing high usage where demand exceeds supply. see  http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/1b30b368#/1b30b368/21

One could concur that the Waterloo interchange Park and Ride parking is to be one of these areas. It currently is the second highest use railway station (behind Porirua). It has 617 carparks, and on most days carparks are scarce. An interesting fact also is that 50% of people that use the park live within 1.85km of the parks.

I would think that in light of this, albeit from 2 seperate plans that consideration be given to the commuters who use rail, that this matter be brought to light sooner rather than later.

How come the current parking has been provided for many years without charge?

Is charging going to impact on other transport alternatives, is it  not part of Greater Wgtn Regional to ensure traffic corridors are sustained and maximised?

Would it not be courtesy to state within the Hutt Plan that charges are contemplated for this exercise?

Unfortunately the above can only be answered by the Councils involved in time, what I am more concerned about is a level of transparency in each councils agendas especially where councils have dual responsibility.

What else lies within these documents ?  

The only way is to look at these documents in greater depth especially around areas that concern you, or impact on your residence or livelihood. Find any let me know!

 

Hutt Valley Rail Upgrade Easter – NaeNae & Epuni Stations

As posted via Twitter the upgrade of two Railway stations on the Hutt line was undertaken over the Easter Break.

See http://www.gw.govt.nz/story31258.cfm

Naenae Station and subway will be closed for four days over Easter, so the subway can be cleaned and made safer.

The station and subway will be closed from 6am Friday 10 April, and will re-open at 4.50am Tuesday 14 April.
The 105m subway will be ice-blasted and painted, new lighting will be installed, parts of the subway stairwells with poor visibility will be blocked off and high impact CCTV cameras will be placed in the subway and on the platform to improve security and safety.

The work, which will cost about $150,000, will be paid for jointly by Greater Wellington and Hutt City Councils.
The improvements are the result of a working party, comprising representatives from local police, KiwiRail, Hutt City Council and Greater Wellington, that was formed out of increasing concern about incidents of crime and vandalism in the subway and on the station.

Peter Glensor, Chair of Greater Wellington’s Transport and Access Committee, said the work would help make the subway a brighter and more pleasant area for the hundreds of commuters, elderly people and school children who used it daily.

“People use this subway not only for the trains but to cross from Oxford to Cambridge Terraces and vice versa. You can’t expect people to take public transport or walk, instead of taking the car, if the environment isn’t safe or pleasant.”

Hutt City Mayor David Ogden said, “This work will significantly improve the safety of the subway for the many Naenae residents and commuters who use it each day.  The subway will be light and clean, and the visibility will be significantly improved.”

While the station and subway are closed, pedestrians are urged to use the Daysh Street bridge to get across the railway line. Walking over the lines is illegal and extremely dangerous.

$150,000 has been spent in this renovation. Was it well spent, given future desires for use of Public Transport?

Photos of upgrade

 

 

No doubt a significant cost of the upgrade was the removal of Epuni station due to asbestos and CCTV upgrade at stations. The question needs to be asked about adequate facilities for patrons of the Rail service, given it appears no regard has been given to shelter, in the case of Epuni, and now the distance to travel up access ramps at both stations with the removal of internal access. 

Given it is part of the Greater Wellington Regional Councils mandate to increase use of public transport this goes little way to helping that, in fact it probably encourages people to use main Stations like Waterloo which have better facilities. Equally it is noted that the Council has an intention to start to charge for parking at Waterloo, so it seems that the rail commuter is faced with either discomfort or increased costs.

The final word goes to a regular commuter who expresses his frustration  http://www.geekzone.co.nz/psycik/6423   

Your comments appreciated