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Civic Trust forecasts inevitable squalor under flyover

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Today’s Transport Agency decision to force Wellington to accept a flyover on the northern edge of the Basin Reserve is a plan which has many opponents.

Council transport leader Andy Foster says in the DomPost he’s disappointed that tunneling has been discounted. He believes that the popular Option X is “a more cost-effective option than the flyover.”

And the Civic Trust says the flyover – the cheapest option – is a poor solution to the problem of transport links. Chairman Alan Smith says: “No sensitive urban design will hide its bulk, or the squalor and tagging that inevitably follows beneath it.”

News release from Civic Trust
The Wellington Civic Trust is not surprised that the Option A overbridge has been chosen; it’s the “cheapest option”. It’s always seemed a poor solution to the real problem of transport links; but given the determination to build it come what may, we sought to limit its harm to our city.

Nowhere in today’s release does it say that this bridge will be one-way only. After it’s built, SH 1 traffic towards the airport will still, like today, run down Vivian St and cross the main bus routes on the level. The NZTA release talks a lot about separating highway and local traffic, and freeing up congestion. Today’s plan makes no change at all for half of that traffic.

NZTA assures us that this one-way bridge will now get sensitive urban design. Last year, NZTA made it clear that the bridge will not be an “iconic” structure. So just another State Highway bridge then – say like the recent Dowse one across SH2. No sensitive urban design will hide its bulk, or the squalor and tagging that inevitably follows beneath it.

The Basin Reserve is described as a giant traffic roundabout. In 2009 all parties stressed that “one of the ‘bottom line’ agreements between the Regional and City Councils and NZTA is that the ambiance and relative tranquility of the Basin Reserve will not be compromised by any changes to the road.” Today’s release mentions a new grandstand as “mitigation” – but what will that look like from along Kent Terrace?

This announcement comes a day after the latest release of the public transport spine study and a week after the trenching of Buckle Street was confirmed. No doubt more dribbles of bits and pieces will follow. Where exactly is the big picture of how all this fits with Wellington towards 2040 – Smart Capital?

1 comment:

  1. Iona Pannett, 18. August 2012, 10:12

    Excellent comments from the Civic Trust. The comments about the flyover are right on the button.