Wellington Scoop

At last, a brilliant idea for the Basin

The Architectural Centre has come up a brilliant idea for rearranging traffic round the Basin Reserve.

Whether or not you agree that there are traffic problems, there’s now a concept which would bring a remarkable improvement to the area from Tory Street through to Mt Victoria, and without the need for a flyover.

The plan was unveiled last month, but it got lost in the Christmas rush. Now thanks to the Save the Basin campaigners it’s been re-discovered and recognised as a marvelous alternative to the awful idea of building a flyover on the northern edge of the cricket ground.

Guy Marriage of the Architectural Centre says the scheme is an attempt to help the NZ Transport Agency understand that there are other ways of tackling the problem, rather than building bridges.

He is suggesting that much of the road could be placed underground, not by tunnelling, but by the less expensive cut and cover system. The result: a lot of new green open space from Tory Street to Government House.

“All the school children and all the university students and all the members of the public could walk from one side to another without fear of getting run over, without smelling car exhausts, in a park-like setting. How good is that?

“…We know that some of these ideas may be a bit hard for traditional roading lobbyists to grasp, but what the Transport Agency needs to realise is that there are other ways to do things without alienating massive amounts of the public,” says Guy.

When the Architectural Centre first unveiled its vision, it reminded us that the idea of a trench for Basin Reserve roading is not new – it’s been around for more than a hundred years. So you could say that they’ve looked to the past in order to come up with a visionary plan for the future.

Spread the word. A plan that deserves everyone’s support. Especially the New Zealand Transport Agency,


  1. Tom, 31. January 2010, 22:47

    This is certainly getting back to one of the original designs that had the motorway in a “ditch” with a number of promenades and open spaces above that were landscaped for people.

    The design was killed by the “green” anti-motorway lobby and the result is what we have.

    Would be nice to think that the original plans might be an option, but I think the costs are now such that by the time the authorities got around to doing anything about it, the opportunity will be lost again on financial grounds.

  2. Fredd, 1. February 2010, 12:40

    This looks like a great idea. They should put it underground, and cover the earth with natives, edibles and fruit and nut trees.

  3. Allan Probert, 11. February 2010, 7:26

    Whether it is a good idea or not; the principle of looking at new ideas from members of the public should be encouraged so we look outside the square on major issues such as these. It seems however that NZTA and other bodies have already made up their mind once they go out to consultation so what the public thinks does not matter! The costs are already high on this (and higher than originally calculated) and I suspect that the cost benefit ratio will be so poor as to render this project nonviable anyway! We need to get Ngaraunga to airport sorted for the good of the city and especially for those of us who live and work in the eastern suburbs….not looking forward to the sports stadium traffic effects!!

  4. rupert, 13. February 2010, 17:23

    Just get rid of the ghastly Basin Reserve; problem solved.

  5. Libertyscott, 25. February 2010, 6:39

    Frankly given that Transmission Gully, at over a billion dollars, is going ahead, when it has an appalling cost-benefit ratio, it is about time Wellington brought back the cut and cover trenched motorway option to connect Mt Victoria Tunnel to the Terrace Tunnel. A first step would be this sort of idea to connect Mt Victoria Tunnel one way to Karo Drive at Taranaki Street, leaving enough width to build the other direction at some future date. Then there would be a non stop through route at least halfway.

    Wellington lost out badly when the Green anti-motorway lobby killed a proper bypass and the city got the el-cheapo one way system called the inner city bypass. It’s about time Wellington went for the proper bypass once more, as previous work indicated it could take around a quarter of the traffic off of the waterfront route.

    All up such a job would be around a third of the cost of Transmission Gully, get the through traffic out of Te Aro, allow the waterfront route to be narrowed to allow better connections from the city to the harbour and make a huge difference to Wellington, and provide a permanent first class route from the airport to the wider region that didn’t involve stop start traffic through inner city streets

  6. Leon Baldock, 15. March 2010, 10:06

    It is amazing how much sensible commentary and rational thinking there is in the public arena, and I don’t believe it is as the authorities would think, uninformed. It pains me to see how many public projects take too long, have too many mistakes or errors, cost far to much and are generally the wrong idea to start with.

    One of the key aspects to the re-development of a trenched motorway and working in with this inspired Basin Reserve concept is, as many before mentioned, the reduction of inner city traffic and in particular waterfront traffic. I believe at present the Manners Mall project is playing out the same way the bypass did. It is a weak option, it will not solve any problems, only create more.

    There is serious doubt that the public transport corridor can fit in Willis St, Manners St and Courtenay Place. Even in non peak time there are up to eight buses traveling at once, up to eighteen and more at peak. If there was less traffic along the waterfront, and the road space reduced, the options for a two way public transport corridor along either Wakefield or Cable thru to Kent Tce with proper stations or terminuses would be possible. Feed services or loop routes could still deliver commuters or shoppers in to various part of the city.