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Agency admits Basin flyover will have “significant impact,” plans landscaping

Media release from NZ Transport Agency
The Agency’s regional director Jenny Chetwynd says its resource consent application for the flyover at the Basin Reserve includes a comprehensive suite of proposals to mitigate the project’s effects. One of these proposals is a new Basin Reserve Northern Gateway Building, which mitigates the visual impact of the new bridge on the Basin Reserve.

NZTA, Wellington City Council, and the Basin Reserve Trust have collectively agreed that a structure will be included in the consent application. The proposed structure, on the northern edge of the cricket ground, is a roughly 65m long, three level structure, extending from the existing players’ pavilion to the existing toilet block. The Northern Gateway Building will link with the proposed new pedestrian plaza at the end of Kent and Cambridge Terraces and include a new main entrance to the cricket ground and modern facilities for players’ and officials above.

Ms Chewtynd says the NZTA has worked closely with Council and the Trust on developing the mitigation measures, which recognise and address the visual effects of the bridge as required under the Resource Management Act. The building will screen the bridge from the ground while providing facilities that are in keeping with the ground’s character, purpose and use.

Ms Chetwynd says the NZTA proposes to build the structure in close consultation with the Council and the Trust. The parties are currently in discussions to confirm the final arrangements for the fit-out and ongoing management of the building. She says investment in mitigation measures is an essential part of any major project in an established urban area, and the NZTA understands the importance of reducing the impact on the cricket ground and surrounding environment.

“The transport and economic benefits of this project will be huge, but we also recognise that the Basin Bridge will have a significant impact on the area, and that’s what we are seeking to address. This mitigation package reduces the visual impact of the bridge while providing facilities that integrate with the character, historic and international status of the ground, and creates landscaped open space for the public to use.”

There will also be further opportunities to enhance design aspects such as the finishing and materials of the piers, the lighting design, and the layout of the open space.

Ms Chetwynd says that the Basin improvements will not only improve journey times for state highway traffic, but also for all north-south traffic travelling through Newtown and beyond, including public transport.

“The Basin Bridge enables Wellington to realise its ambitions to create a public transport spine that delivers the efficiency and agility that a world class city demands. Currently, meaningful improvements to the public transport spine are impossible because the combination of state highway and local road traffic is creating a blockage at the Basin Reserve.”

Ms Chetwynd says the Basin improvements will provide nearly a kilometre of additional dedicated cycle and pedestrian facilities, making active journeys through this busy hub far safer and more convenient. These improvements also include a new landscaped drop off and safe pick up area for schools on Dufferin Street.

She says that the walking and cycling facilities, totalling close to three kilometres, are proposed to be extended through the duplicate tunnel and out towards Kilbirnie, forming Wellington City’s biggest investment in walking and cycling infrastructure in recent memory.

The project will include landscaping that will extend the open space created at Memorial Park all the way down to Cambridge Terrace, entailing the planting of over 70 new trees and over a hectare of recreational space for the public.

For the Basin Bridge project, lodging consent applications is a significant milestone that has been years in the making.

“Lodging for consents is the result of hundreds of public submissions and years of investigation into improving travel through this critical part of the city.”

“Depending on the direction the application takes, the consenting process is anticipated to take nine months to complete from when it is notified. Once the EPA has advised us on how the application will be heard, the community will be notified as part of the formal submissions process.”

Ms Chetwynd says the Basin Bridge application may follow the same process as other critical projects, like Transmission Gully, MacKays to Peka Peka and Peka Peka to Otaki, and be heard by a Board of Inquiry. If this is the case, the outcome of the NZTA’s application should be known in (early) 2014.

The Basin Bridge RMA applications can be viewed at www.nzta.govt.nz/basin-bridge.

2 comments:

  1. Elaine E, 18. June 2013, 18:47

    How can it even be a possibility to consider putting pedestrians and bicycles in a tunnel with cars and trucks? It is incredible to drive through Victoria Tunnel and see school children walking or cycling breathing diesel and gas fumes. Of course this tunnel also vents onto the school grounds of Wellington Girls College. Is the air quality of these areas ever monitored? And another “shared” tunnel is planned?

     
  2. Paula Warren, 19. June 2013, 20:52

    NZTA are promising new cycle and walking facilities.
    These are the same people who are refusing to use the existing second tunnel (a service tunnel) to fix the problem for cyclists and walkers now.
    These are the same people who took away safe pedestrian access from Korokoro to Petone foreshore, after promising locals it would stay.
    The same people who refused to allow safe access between the Indoor Sports Centre and the coastal walking/cycling route along the harbour edge because apparently you can’t have traffic lights on state highways.
    The same people who didn’t want to agree to do anything major to fix the unsafe cycling/walking route between Petone and Ngauranga, despite deaths and public demand.
    The same people who wouldn’t agree to any mitigation for cycling and walking impacts for the TGM project, and whose experts said that a shared cycleway/walkway beside a major highway that is only 50cm wide at its narrowest was adequate provision.
    Why am I so suspicious about all these promises?