The Mount Victoria community has been expecting consultation about roading changes around the Basin Reserve since last October. But yesterday, consultation was postponed again. The delay means there’s more time for the Architectural Centre’s innovative cut-and-cover plan (above) to get some serious consideration.
The New Zealand Transport Agency first promised that it would be “engaging with community groups and other relevant organisations from early October onwards to keep them continually briefed” on the Basin Reserve roading plans which it’s been developing for more than a year. Nothing happened at that time. A first meeting took place in December, when the locals were told that formal consultation would begin in February and would run for six weeks.
Nothing happened in February, though the Transport Agency created a section on its website where it provides background information on Basin Reserve roading but fails to mention the word “flyover” which is generally assumed to be one of the options being developed behind closed doors.
A couple of weeks ago the Agency advised that it expected to make an announcement last week on when consultation would start. But that announcement was never made. Instead, yesterday the Agency explained its reasons for a further postponement of the day when it will tell local people about its ideas for Basin Reserve roading improvements.
It wants to wait till the government has finalised the design for the War Memorial Park in Buckle Street. As everyone knows, the government seems to have agreed that State Highway One will be put underneath the Memorial Park, using a cut-and-cover trenching system.
And as we said two weeks ago, the cut-and-covered Buckle Street should continue under Tory Street – which would solve rush-hour delays at this intersection where the traffic lights satisfy no one. A bit more creative thinking and the undergrounded road could continue round the Basin Reserve, which is what the Architectural Centre proposed before Christmas.
Everyone including Mayor Prendergast was pleased when undergrounding was announced for the war memorial park. It’s a sure bet that everyone would be even more pleased if State Highway One stayed underground at the Basin Reserve. When that decision is reached, the Transport Agency can throw out the flyover plans which it has been developing for so long. And opponents of the flyover – who include Councilor John Morrison – will then be able to relax in the knowledge that Wellington’s much-loved cricket ground will no longer be threatened by high-rise traffic.