Public health and transport experts are making a plea for Wellington officials to invest in light rail, instead of more roads and tunnels.

Transport in the region is a hot topic, with Let's Get Wellington Moving currently shortlisting options for change, to go out for public consultation in November.

The group is tasked with finding a new fix for the city's congestion woes, after the controversial Basin Reserve flyover was canned in 2014.

At a public meeting tonight [Mon] residents and experts alike pushed for changes that would include light rail from the CBD to the airport, and more attractive walking routes.


But there was also a clear undercurrent of distrust on whether the favoured green solutions would win out.

One Mt Victoria resident asked Let's Get Wellington Moving director Barry Mein if he could "look me in the eye and guarantee" that NZTA wasn't working to a political agenda that favoured roads.

Mein's answer was brief. "Yes. Yes I can."

Ora Taiao NZ Climate Health spokesperson Dr Russell Tregonning also raised questions about NZTA's trustworthiness.

"NZTA has on its website right now that we'll be getting more tunnels.

"So if it's been pre-ordained, what's happening?"

Mein answered that any mention of tunnels was simply because a new solution hadn't been decided.

He said all options were "back in the pot".

Mein added that he himself saw the need for better public transport options.

"We can't simply put more people into cars. We just don't have the space to do that."

Earlier in the evening, Dr Tregonning made a presentation on how light rail could "transform" Wellington.

"It's congestion free, it's climate and pollution friendly, and it's fast.

"If Wellington matches other systems a trip from the CBD to Miramar will take 20 minutes."

Living Streets Aotearoa spokesperson Paula Warren said Wellington needed to make sure it didn't become the next Auckland.

"Roads and carparking in central Auckland are 50% of the land. That's a huge, important resource.

"Your number of crashes, health effects, are all directly proportional to 'vehicle kilometres travelled'.

"If we shift people from being in a vehicle to walking or cycling, that benefits everybody, including those still driving. It makes everybody safer, healthier, and improves congestion.

"A good transport provider won't force anyone to use any particular mode, but will facilitate the different options for those who want them.

Warren said walking should be an obvious option in Wellington, but it could be difficult even for those who lived ten minutes from their work.

She said streets needed to be designed so that you could not only walk where you needed to, but that it would be an enjoyable walk.

"But every time there's an argument, car parks win. NZTA's funding models allow that.

"This is our chance to change that."

The event was organised by Congestion Free Wellington.

Spokesperson Michael Barnett said they were concerned too much of the transport budget was being sunk into roads.

"We are not anti-car but every person who chooses to walk, cycle or take public transport frees up much-needed road space.

"Those paying the highest cost from congestion are small businesses like electricians and plumbers. Stuck in traffic, they lose income.

"If we develop a transport system that provides realistic alternatives to the private car, these vehicle-dependent businesses will be among the biggest beneficiaries."