The Gimp is back, and it wants you to vote

orange man

This year’s local body elections are going to be a block buster. But there’s one thing worse than not voting, and that’s an uninformed vote.  Fear not – the Traffic Jam’s got your back.

If you could bet on such things, and if I was a betting man, I’d wager transport will dominate the debate on who should lead Wellington and its region into the third decade of the 21st century.

But it’s an issue which is bigger than any one suburb or residential meeting.

From the “Bustastrophe” to the railway yards, from cycleways to the Basin Reserve to the Mt Victoria Tunnel(s), people want to know who will move their city in the right direction.

Which is why The Traffic Jam, that little podcast dedicated to smart discussion on getting from A to B in the Capital C, is giving you two chances to ensure your precious votes go to the right candidates.

One city, two meetings, one topic.

Meeting one: For central, northern and western suburb voters. Wednesday September 18th; 6.00 to 8.30pm. Loaves and Fishes Hall (next to the Anglican Cathedral in Molesworth Street). MC: Bryan Crump.

Meeting two: For voters in the southern and eastern suburbs. Wednesday, September 25th, 6.30 to 9.00pm. Upstairs meeting room, ASB Sports Centre, Rongotai. MC: Dave Armstrong.

We’ll be inviting city and regional council candidates, but that won’t mean a thing if you don’t turn up as well.

Do you trust the people who signed off on Wellington’s bus revamp to do a better job next term? Do you want to get rid of them all? Are some worth keeping?

Do you want representatives prepared to make difficult decisions about reallocating road space away from private motor vehicles, or maybe even more challenging, away from on street parking?

Or maybe you want more off-road parks, and more roads to fill them?

The plans outlined by Let’s Get Wellington Moving have shifted priorities from the private to the public, from the motorised to the active.

But it’s timid. We know what we are not getting (more space for cars) but we don’t know what sort of rapid transit system the city will get instead.

Out in the Hutt, there won’t be a new road from Grenada, or a new Melling Interchange. But where are the public transport alternatives?

What do we need more of here?

Who’s talking about extending the Melling Rail Line across the river into Hutt City? Or a rapid busway over the hill to Tawa? Or even a rail link from Plimmerton to Haywards?

Change has a better chance of success when it comes with a mandate. From an alternative to car point of view, the best one can say about the current situation is that it’s delayed some major roading projects. We’re waiting for word on most other stuff.

Those roads could easily be back on the agenda with a change of leadership.

Wellington’s National MPs are campaigning to reinstate them. They believe a significant chunk of the voting public want the tar seal and the process was thwarted only by the meddling of a Green associate minister .

October’s elections may prove them right.

So whether you’re a bus or rail user, a pedestrian, a cyclist, a motorist or (most likely) all of the above, you can’t afford to miss the opportunity to make sure your vote goes to the candidates with the transport solutions you want for your city.

And it’s why you have to put at least one of those Transport Candidate meetings in your diary, and tell your friends while you’re at it.

Those dates again:

Meeting one: For central, northern and western ward issues. Wednesday  September 18th; 6.00 to 8.30 pm. Loaves and Fishes Hall (next to the Anglican Cathedral in Molesworth Street). MC: Bryan Crump.

Meeting two: For southern and eastern ward issues. Wednesday, September 25th, 6.30 to 9pm. Upstairs meeting room, ASB Sports Centre, Rongotai. MC: Dave Armstrong.

See you there.

Image credits:

  • Melling – Rob Kitchin / Stuff
  • Parking lot: the internet, multiple sources none with attribution
  • Orange Gimp: Elections NZ.

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