Not necessarily. Much of Wellington’s traffic comes from outer suburbs that aren’t well served by buses and trains. More homes close to where people work, study, and socialise can reduce the need to drive a car, meaning less traffic on the road. The lowest car ownership and car use rates in Wellington are, unsurprisingly, people in central Wellington – where the proximity of places to work, learn, rest, and play makes car-free or low-car life much easier. Building more housing in well-connected areas, as proposed under the draft Spatial Plan, will mean more people can choose not to own and run and store their own private car, which enables a host of good things. In Wellington we’re in a transition phase heading towards that; we’re definitely not there yet, and in the short term there may well be a blip upwards in car traffic congestion in some places. A small step forward is the removal of the current Minimum Parking Requirement: providing carparks encourages car ownership and car use, so it’s good that the new Parking Policy will let a landowner or developer choose whether to provide carparking according to whether the prospective buyers are willing to pay for it (in the order of $20-40,000 per carpark on top of the dwelling cost).
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