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Seven reasons not to build a flyover at the Basin Reserve

by Tim Jones
Seven reasons why there shouldn’t be a flyover alongside the Basin Reserve.

1) A flyover at the Basin is unnecessary. The needed transport improvements at the Basin can be achieved by ‘at grade’ changes (i.e. not above or below ground). The major bottlenecks in the system are at other places, such as the Mt Victoria tunnel and at Taranaki St – not at the Basin.

2) A flyover at the Basin would be monumentally ugly. Don’t believe the Transport Agency concept pictures that make it look like an elven bridge out of Lord of the Rings. Real flyovers are ugly, massive structures. The ground underneath flyovers isn’t a parkland dotted with attractive people taking their ease, as the Transport Agency likes to portray – it’s a wasteland, and, this being Wellington, it would be a very windy wasteland.

3) Not only would a flyover be ugly, but the planned location is a critical part of Wellington. Building a flyover would destroy a lot of heritage values and ruin a central Wellington cityscape. And – even worse – a second flyover would then be on the cards, to carry traffic in the opposite direction.

4) A flyover at the Basin is already budgeted to cost $90 million, and would undoubtedly cost more. It’s a waste of money.

5) Visitors to Wellington have told us repeatedly that they can’t believe a modern country is even thinking about building a flyover near the centre of its capital city. In the rest of the world – the UK, San Francisco, Seoul – flyovers are being torn down. A US expert’s testimony to the Basin Board of Inquiry echoes this point: http://www.stuff.co.nz/motoring/9723004/Basin-Reserve-flyover-idea-a-50s-relic-expert.

6) A flyover would be bad for cricket at the Basin. Even if the proposed “Northern Gateway Building” (*not* a grandstand – there would be no spectator seating there) were to be built, a flyover would still be visible, and audible, from parts of the Basin. No other international cricket ground has an elevated roadway running right next to it. Umpires, players and spectators would all hear and see a flyover.

7) The Basin Reserve has Test status from the ICC because of its historic use as a Test ground. If a flyover is built at the Basin, plus associated works, it is likely to trigger an assessment of the ground’s suitability as a Test venue by the International Cricket Council – which means, in effect, by India, Australia and England, who have seized power at the ICC. These three countries are trying to carve up the intrnational cricket cake between them. Why risk the future of the Basin, and give the ICC the chance to rule out Test cricket being played there, for the sake of an outdated, ugly flyover that doesn’t need to be built?

Tim Jones is co-convenor of the Save the Basin group. This article was first published this week on the Save the Basin website.

The government-appointed Board of Inquiry, which is deciding whether or not to approve the flyover, starts the fifth week of its hearings in Wellington next week. Transcripts of each day’s proceedings are online here.

1 comment:

  1. Eaine Hampton. President Mt Victoria Residents Ass.,, 28. February 2014, 20:35

    Exactly Tim. Thank you.
    Then there is the Basin Reserve Enhancement Option, an at-grade (street level) plan which is worthy of a 21st century city. See on the Mt Victoria Residents website http://www.mvra.org.nz/