by Lindsay Shelton
Roading problems around the Basin Reserve aren’t rocket science (even though the Transport Agency hasn’t been able to deal with them). Dave Armstrong got it right yesterday when he described them in one precise paragraph.
As I cycle home towards Newtown from the CBD, I see the current problems. Two lanes of traffic in Kent Terrace remain virtually empty yet the right-hand lane backs up with traffic almost to Courtenay Place with traffic headed for Newtown and the motorway north. However, when you get to the lights near the Mt Victoria tunnel bottleneck, the inside lane is virtually empty. Then at the Adelaide Road lights, half the traffic wanting to turn left into Newtown has to wait for traffic going straight ahead. Then the lane going north to Cambridge Terrace is largely empty while the lanes heading toward the motorway north are congested – though the Arras tunnel has made a huge difference.
Like all of us, he’ll also be aware of the problems in Adelaide Road, where parked cars occupy the inside lane, leaving one lane carrying all the north-bound traffic that backs up every afternoon all the way to the new Countdown supermarket, till it spreads into three (or four?) lanes at the lights by the Basin.
Dave Armstrong also correctly describes the existing plans to fix things at the Basin:
The two most popular … are the Basin Reserve Roundabout Enhancement Option (BRREO), favoured by Save the Basin and the Mt Victoria Residents Association, and the more expensive Option X (about $150 million or three-quarters of a Hobbit subsidy), designed by the Architectural Centre, an organisation of about 200 architects, artists and designers. Option X would see more of a criss-cross than a roundabout, create more green space and see north-south traffic flowing over east-west traffic. BRREO is inexpensive, coming in at between $3-5 million (about a sixth of a flag referendum) and involves minimal disruption. The sharp corner heading south into Adelaide Road would be improved, some car parks lost, and more lanes created both before and after the lights by the Mt Victoria tunnel.
To which he could have added a third – the plan offered by Celia Wade-Brown back in 2010 before she became the mayor.
The first two alternatives are wellknown and have been widely discussed. It’s disgraceful therefore that the self-appointed group of transport leaders didn’t mention them when they announced their plans to start re-thinking Basin traffic layouts. It’s equally disgraceful that no contact has been made with those who designed the two alternatives. (Andy: surely you could have phoned Christine and Richard by now?)
Such failures provide further reasons why the pro-flyover members of the group (who foolishly rejected both alternatives during the Transport Agency’s prolonged and unsuccessful flyover campaign) should stand down , in favour of new faces with no such failed agendas. Let’s nominate Dave Armstrong, for a start. Sue Kedgley should be in the group, too. For years she’s been a clear thinker about transport issues, not only at the Basin, but also for the wider city.