Wellington Scoop

Flyover necessary because “people are delayed constantly,” says Fran Wilde

Press Release – Wellington Regional Transport Committee
The Basin Reserve is one of the biggest traffic jams in the region and the separation of traffic flows around it is vital to keep the Wellington region moving physically and economically, says Fran Wilde, Chair of the Wellington Regional Transport Committee.

The Regional Transport Committee developed and owns the Ngauranga to Airport Corridor Plan which includes the roading improvements around the Basin Reserve.

“People are delayed here constantly, whatever the time of day, and it’s getting worse in the weekday peaks and at weekends. The plan announced today will help smooth traffic to and from the eastern and southern suburbs and is essential for the future of Wellington City and the region. Bus passengers, pedestrians and cyclists will also have huge gains from the improvements.”

Ms Wilde says the improvements will be critical for the delivery of a high quality Wellington city public transport spine, which is currently being assessed in a study that has narrowed options down to a bus priority system, a bus rapid transit system or light rail.

“Better walking and cycling facilities are also a very important part of the plan. We’re confident that the proposed walking and cycling paths on both the new road and underneath it will make it much easier and safer for pedestrians and cyclists to get round the Basin.

“And improvements here mean that the scenic eastern route around Oriental Bay can be enjoyed more by motorists, cyclists and pedestrians who have the time for a more leisurely journey.”

Fran Wilde says that concerns expressed about the aesthetic implications of the roading changes for the Basin Reserve environment were legitimate and the final detail design needed to take this into account.

“The Basin will always be a precious green space in the city. We need to make sure its special character is retained through a robust consenting process. I believe that the NZ Transport Agency means what it says about its commitment to respect the heritage and sensitivity of the surrounding environment, and we look forward to working with them on the next steps of this project.”

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  1. Pauline Swann, 19. August 2012, 17:15

    Fran Wilde is quoted as saying “people are delayed here constantly, whatever time of day …” However, 12 months ago I had to visit Wellington Hospital every day for a week at different times, travelling from the north along the waterfront and Kent Terrace and returning via Cambridge Terrace. At no stage did I experience any delays, even around the Basin Reserve between 8.45 and 9 am with school buses etc.

    In April 2009, my husband and I made a submission to the Regional Transport Committee opposing the flyover. We considered the massive concrete structure would have a disastrous effect on our iconic sports ground, due to the noise, atmospheric pollution and the visual distraction it would create. It would also destroy the key heritage values of the Basin, Government House, St Marks, Wellington College and Wellington East College and of course the Mother Aubert Creche built in 1914.

    In August 2011, we made a similar submission to the NZTA stating that we supported Option X which would bring the Basin back to the city as an asset as well as integrating the green spaces and places of national significance. Wellingtonians and visitors have happy memories of school sports, marching teams, band competitions, soccer etc and of course cricket (even women’s cricket} on this park and it would be nice to see more “play” facilities for children and family picnics when there are no organised events.

    In our submission in 2011 we agreed with the Architectural centre “that this is not just an issue for Mt Victoria and Mt Cook residents, nor is it simply one for Wellingtonians, but is an issue for all New Zealanders at the National War Memorial, the Basin Reserve and Government House are sites of National significance which must be celebrated and respected – not bypassed.

  2. Rufus Sixsmith, 19. August 2012, 19:12

    Pauline has her finger on the pulse again … well said.

    Perhaps the delays that Fran is alluding too are not from personal experience.

  3. Morgan, 19. August 2012, 19:18

    The flyover might make the Basin better for pedestrians. At the moment it is a major pain in the butt. The council has had plenty of opportunity to make a decent walkway around there, but instead there are winding pathways dotted with pretty ferns, and dirt tracks where people actually want to walk. It’s locked at night sometimes too, meaning you have to take an extra 5 minutes to go around the outside, braving the traffic to cross the roads several times.

  4. Tony Randle, 19. August 2012, 19:22

    I commuted to Newtown through the Basin Reserve every morning for 5 1/2 years and almost always had to queue at rush hour. Competition to get into the right-hand lane of Kent Terrace is intense. Those that pushed in to the Newtown Lane were the worst, especially from Hania Street, often holding up drivers heading towards the Kilbirnie/Airport area . . . often it is downright dangerous. In the evening the Basin is even worse and to be avoided at all cost if travelling from Newtown !

    I disagree Fran Wilde on many issues but I absolutely agree with her observations quoted above about the traffic congestion at the basin and support any measures to address them.

  5. Rufus Sixsmith, 19. August 2012, 20:31

    Tony: quite right, those who don’t get into the correct lane cause delays for everyone. As has been noted elsewhere, Kiwis can’t merge …. perhaps better signage would help. People who commute at “rush hour” expect delays … it is part of the definition of rush hour. But the gratuitous claim that “people are delayed here constantly, whatever the time of day” is blatantly false.

    The tunnel is the bottleneck in this area. The flyover will minimally assist north/south flow, but will do nothing for traffic to the eastern suburbs.

    A recent survey of road congestion showed that the Basin doesn’t figure as being a problem: http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/7392627/Wellingtons-most-congested-roads-revealed

  6. traveller, 19. August 2012, 20:52

    Maladjusted traffic lights at Paterson Street are the other reason for delays at the Basin. If the Transport Agency could rouse itself and fix the phasing, making the lights responsive to traffic instead of non-responsive, most of the delays would disappear. (A cheaper and more realistic fix than spending $90m on a concrete monstrosity). If there are delays 24 hours a day, as Fran Wilde is so dubiously claiming, it’s because of the faulty lights and not because of non-stop traffic.

  7. Cr Paul Bruce, 19. August 2012, 22:35

    A safety egress tunnel attached to the Mt Victoria tunnel and doubling as a pollution free cycle/walk way has been delayed until after the construction of the Basin Reserve flyover.
    Instead, we have $5 million spent on a clipon to something we didn’t ask for. The extra induced traffic will create new traffic hazards.
    Let’s get investment in some real choices for car commuters, such as attractive high capacity light rail through to Newtown and Kilbirnie, and safe cycleways along all arterial routes.

  8. insider, 20. August 2012, 13:31

    There is no delay Paul Bruce. It was always coming after the Basin Project, as you should well know.