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Andy, what were you thinking?

by Mary Varnham
Isn’t it time the Wellington City Council stopped letting the NZ Transport Agency and the mayor of Porirua call the shots on the urban design of our city?

I haven’t met a Wellingtonian who doesn’t think the Basin flyover is a ludicrous idea – ugly, old-fashioned, and in contravention of all modern transport thinking.

Around here we call the roading policy of the government, aided and abetted by the Transport Agency, ‘Roads of National Stupidity’.

Wellington is a small, compact city and every bad urban design is a blight forever, as witness the appalling siting of New World Chaffers, which the city council allowed to block the glorious views that used to be had from Cambridge Terrace, Wellington’s only grand avenue to the harbour. Now the view is rubbish bins at the back of a graceless building.

If the flyover goes ahead, the view at the other end of the avenue will be graffitied concrete posts.

Andy, what were you thinking? If the Transport Agency gets its knickers in a twist and refuses to fund more roading projects in the city, great. Who wants a large section of the Town Belt destroyed by completely unnecessary widening of Ruahine Street? Who wants historic Kilbirnie houses demolished so people can get to the airport 15 seconds sooner?

Stats show a continuing drop in car use in NZ. Imagine if this money were redirected to light rail from the CBD to the airport.

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Who, or what, changed Andy’s mind? [1]