Wellington Scoop

They didn’t like it but they voted yes

by Lindsay Shelton
I wish I’d been at yesterday’s Regional Council meeting. I would like to have heard more about why two regional councillors voted to support the Basin Reserve flyover after explaining why they didn’t like it.

The DomPost reports from the meeting about the reluctant “yes” votes from Judith Aitken and Chris Laidlaw.

Chris Laidlaw said he was “lending his vote of support” only because the flyover achieved a basic aim of the council’s Ngauranga to Airport Corridor Plan, which was to separate state highway and local traffic at the Basin. But he said the council’s submission should state that it was unhappy with the design. The DomPost doesn’t tell us whether or not this was done.

Also voting yes for the flyover was Judith Aitken, though she said she was yet to be completely convinced of its benefits.

This stance used to be called “neither for nor against.” It was not a complimentary description.

Two other regional councillors spoke about why they opposed the flyover. But Daran Ponter and Paul Bruce didn’t just procrastinate. They voted against it.

The DomPost also reports how the Regional Council was warned about the flyover by a professor of sustainability from Perth. He said Wellington would be taking a backward step if it built the flyover … because it would bring more cars into the city which would be detrimental to the aim of encouraging more use of public transport. Around the world, he said, people were investing in cities that encouraged cars away from the CBDs.

Everyone knows that, of course. So why are a majority of our councillors voting for the flyover?


  1. Chris Laidlaw, 22. August 2013, 12:42

    The only way a dedicated public transport link can get past the Basin Reserve is by grade separation (in other words separating either the north-south or the east -west route from the other). It is also now established beyond any doubt that the only way we can do this without resorting to wildly expensive tunneling, is via a flyover of some kind. That is all that is on offer from NZTA, and the regional council in its submission on the project has recognised that reality and opted for the public transport benefits in terms of walking, cycling and faster bus movements. The flyover isn’t a good solution in any other respect and we have reached this point as a result of a deeply flawed process; one in which the NZTA makes up its mind in advance what option it wants and leaves the councils with a take it or leave it decision.

  2. Traveller, 22. August 2013, 12:49

    Faster buses? The city council made the same promise when it re-opened the Manners Mall to buses. Since then it has gone to great pains to slow them down, for reasons that we all know. Is it going to be okay for buses to go faster as they drive under the concrete bridge?

  3. Wellington Commuter, 22. August 2013, 14:40

    The flyover will let buses go faster as the buses won’t get caught in the Basin’s stop/start car traffic before coming to a grinding halt at the traffic lights. Swapping traffic lights for a bridge . . . sounds good to me 🙂

  4. BD, 24. August 2013, 2:29

    The flyover may be seen as an effective solution for solving the city’s traffic problems, but the main problem is: the NZTA have spent years trying to push ahead with it because they see it as a cheaper alternative than a tunnel. I believe a tunnel would be a more efficient solution as it would solve both problems and make everyone happy. It may cost a bit more but in the long run it’s worth it as the tunnel would have less visual impacts on the surrounding area.

    But unfortunately the government and the NZTA don’t see it the same way as everyone else. They’re intent on trying to push ahead with a flyover that will make many people unhappy. I think the main issue with the flyover proposal is that they have already committed to spending lots of money on the initial design work and are worried about throwing this away. The most sensible option would have been to design a tunnel in the first place, that way they would have had less hurdles to go through and would be able to implement the idea soon. Heck we should have had something built by now, but instead we have to settle for a half-baked solution that has been forced through because the NZTA have already committed to the proposal.

  5. 'No Flyer over Welly', 21. September 2013, 21:51

    The only sensible option is a cut and cover ‘tunnel’ between Adelaide Rd and Cambridge Tce. And, NZTA does up the earthquake stickered Vance stand as the price for their RoN. We don’t need a another mickey mouse stand to hide the ugly 1960s one-directional flyover that NZTA wants to hoist on Wellington.