Unbelievable: Council hopes trees will reduce visual impact of 300-metre flyover

Wellington.Scoop
The city council today released its report on yesterday’s meeting which voted against opposing the Basin Reserve flyover. Councillor Foster, whose casting vote defeated moves to oppose the flyover, talks of “mitigating” the concrete structure – which will, of course, be impossible to hide as it will run for 300 metres across Kent and Cambridge Terraces.

News release from Wellington City Council
Wellington City Council’s Strategy and Policy Committee yesterday agreed that Council staff should continue to work with the NZ Transport Agency to ensure everything possible is done to address any adverse effects of the planned Basin flyover.

Yesterday’s result follows the Council’s decision in December to take one last look at alternative transport solutions for the Basin Reserve roundabout, and Councillors discussed the findings of the two-month study.

The Council’s Transport Portfolio Leader, Councillor Andy Foster, says it was a worthwhile exercise to look into alternatives, but it was found none of them were demonstrably superior.

“However, through that process, we identified a significant number of mitigation opportunities, as there are a lot of urban design challenges implicit in the existing flyover design.

“We have an opportunity to influence the outcome, to work with NZTA to reduce the visual impacts of the flyover and ensure Kent and Cambridge terraces are landscaped with public space, trees and gardens and pedestrian and cycle facilities.

“We are clear that public transport must be the number one priority, and north/south bus lanes must be implemented alongside – not after – the construction of the flyover.

“We cannot consider the flyover without examining the entire network, but particularly the Levin to Airport corridor. Vivian Street is certainly not ideal as the main through way to the Airport, and longstanding landscaping issues also remain for the area,” he says.

The study compared three options: Option A of a flyover, the Architecture Centre’s tunnel design Option X, and an at-grade proposal by Richard Reid and Associates. All assumed a future duplication of the Mt Victoria Tunnel and future improvements to public transport.

The review by Council staff, which was peer-reviewed by independent traffic and urban design experts, concluded that more areas of Option A needed mitigation than initially analysed, and that the alternative options, while providing some benefits, did not surpass those presented in Option A.

The options were assessed on a number of criteria including how they would impact on the economy, the look and feel of the city and Basin Reserve area, public transport, walking and cycling, traffic volumes, journey times – and what could be done in each case to mitigate less desirable effects.

About 25,000 vehicles enter the Basin Reserve from Kent Terrace each day, about 20,000 from the Mt Victoria Tunnel and more than 11,000 from Adelaide Road. Congestion causes delay and makes travel times unpredictable, especially at peak times and weekends.

The Strategy and Policy Committee today voted to:

1. Receive the information.

2. Note the Council’s previous resolution to support a multi-modal package of transport investments including separation of north-south and east-west traffic at this location as outlined in the Ngauranga to Airport Corridor Plan.

3. Note the Council’s previously stated preference for an underground solution to achieve that separation.

4. Receive the Assessment of Alternatives report.

5. Thank Council officers, NZTA officials and consultants, the Architecture Centre, and Richard Reid for their work on the review.

6. Note that Option X and Richard Reid and Associates at-grade solution are not developed to the same level of detail as Option A.

7. Note the report’s findings that none of the roading alternatives evaluated in the review are assessed as better than Option A overall in terms of cost, transport and urban form outcomes.

8. Request officers to continue to work with NZTA to achieve optimum mitigation outcomes for the city in respect of Option A, and in particular work with NZTA to achieve the following additional mitigation elements identified through the review process:
a. Ellice Street corner (visual and noise issues)
b. Kent and Cambridge terraces (potential boulevard or vegetation, art and landscape treatment)
c. Bridge design (identifiably Wellington)
d. Public Transport priority on Adelaide Road and Kent and Cambridge terraces and north/south bus lanes implemented immediately on construction of the flyover
e. Karo Drive (address longstanding amenity issues)
f. Long-term corridor planning between Terrace Tunnel and Basin Reserve including future use of Vivian Street as State Highway
g. Addressing any effects on strategic cycle and walking routes from the south and east of the city.

9. Agree that officers will report back to the Strategy and Policy Committee at the appropriate time with a draft submission focused on mitigation.

10. Request officers to commence work with the Mayor and Transport Portfolio Leaders on refreshing the Council’s Transport Strategy to emphasise travel demand management , emergency and freight priority, better walking, cycling and public transport to provide real transport choices for more people and report back to the Strategy and Policy Committee in June on an engagement plan.

11. Agree to write to the Minister for the Environment requesting that any application for resource consents to build the Basin Reserve Flyover is heard by the Environment Court rather than a Board of Inquiry.

Andy Foster changes sides

 

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