Having said that- here's the essay
Under current Council plans, the Inner West suburbs, and the tourist destinations within, won’t get light rail until after 2040. That’s eleven Rugby World Cups away.
The ARC has decided to run trams around a small rectangle on Wynyard Wharf, Transport boss Ken Baguley thinks there’s no point unless it connects to something. Both of them are right.
Wynyard Wharf will have hundreds of millions of dollars poured into it and if it’s only connected to itself- it’s a waste of money. The Rectangle proposal imagines that people will walk to the tram, go round the block on it to look at silos and then walk away somewhere else. Common sense dictates folks will save time by not walking there in the first place.
Wynyard Wharf needs to be connected to the Viaduct and Queens wharf as a matter of course, but it still needs to go somewhere people actively want to go, like tourist attractions and parks. And shops.
Luckily we have a string of such destinations close to Wynyard, some of them already connected by tram. Victoria Park, Three Lamps, Ponsonby Road, Western Park, Grey Lynn Park, Grey Lynn shops, Springs Stadium and MOTAT where the existing tram line whisks us to Western Springs Park, the Zoo and MOTAT 2.
We don’t even have to create a new line, it’s merely an extension of a current one.
The proposed “Wynyard to Wynyard” line has technical hurdles to overcome; yacht mast clearance, arcing risk near bulk fuels, but primarily the fact that it goes NOWHERE.
The #1 Western Line solves these problems by passing south of the mast clearance and bulk fuels areas, and most importantly, visits every tourist attraction and park in the Inner West.
180,000 people a year use the trams already, how many more would use the expanded version? The W1 line extension runs 6.2 kilometres and would cost roughly $26 million.
ARC’s own Auckland Waterfront Tramway Feasibility Study says it’s pointless without access to attractions.
Let’s not waste $7 million on trams going nowhere, let’s invest $26 million in a plan with massive cultural, environmental and economic benefits. It’s the one chance for non-polluting rail in this central part of Auckland, and the best thing is; that if we start now, it’ll be ready in time for the Rugby World Cup.