Home' The Wellingtonian : August 4th 2011 Contents 10 THE WELLINGTONIAN, AUGUST 4, 2011
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Why the Basin
Your editorial (July 28)
characterised the Save The Basin
Reserve campaign as Ban Cars .
It s disappointing to see The
Wellingtonian stooping to
incorrect name-calling rather
than dealing with the issues.
The Wellingtonian should be
asking the tough questions about
this project, such as why the New
Zealand Transport Agency is
intent on building a flyover that
79 per cent of submitters said they
didn t want in the last
consultation round, why the costs
have blown out from $27 million
to $70 million in only three years,
why the high-quality solution
proposed by the Architecture
Centre has been ignored by
agency bureaucrats, and why
taxpayers are being expected to
fund $600 million for a roading
project that will only return $300
million in economic value.
Perhaps The Wellingtonian
should also be asking why the
Basin Reserve Trust has failed so
utterly at preventing this project.
If the trust truly had the
influence it claims with the
transport agency, the flyover
would have been still-born, and a
smarter cut-and-cover option
It has been the silent assent of
the Basin Reserve Trust to the
transport agency s flyover plans --
and its $11 million complicity over
a new stand -- that has
necessitated a Save The Basin
Reserve campaign at all.
I have been wondering if
councillor Iona Pannett ever visits
the eastern suburbs via the Mt
Certainly never on the
weekends or during peak times
during the week, that s for sure,
given her recent comments about
the lack of congestion in this
How can she say: Most of the
time there is little or no
congestion around this part of the
[Basin Reserve] system and car
use has not increased over the last
five years or so ?
Anyone who uses the Mt
Victoria tunnel during these times
knows of the delays and can see
firsthand all the cars idling
bumper to bumper as they edge
their way through the woefully
inadequate tunnel, which was
built 80 years ago when life was
To suggest that we use public
transport is a joke. It works well
during peak times Monday to
Friday but is pretty hopeless the
rest of the time, especially if
you re carrying a week s groceries,
taking the cat to the vet, or buying
a 20-kilogram bag of manure for
your garden, and so on.
And don t even start me on the
perils of cycling or walking
through the current tunnel!
A better roading system to get
to the eastern suburbs is long
overdue and I don t think a
handful of selfish Mt Vic residents
should prevent the rest of the
region from being able to readily
access the airport and eastern
suburbs through their constant
protests and desire to live in the
The National War Memorial
should be one of the most
significant, and visited, features
of the capital city.
The current cramped and noisy
environment falls well short of
what should be a spacious, well-
landscaped and peaceful setting.
NZTA s proposals for widening
Buckle St will have an enduring
adverse effect on the prospects for
Roads are not glamorous,
but any mention of
building them sparks
Last week s front page stories
(July 28) on plans to build a
flyover near the Basin Reserve
have generated numerous
letters to the editor and
The traffic snarl-ups around
the Basin Reserve must be
fixed, but have we been pres-
ented with the best options?
The New Zealand Transport
Agency has proposed two plans.
Option A is to build a
380-metre bridge 20m north of
the Basin, at a cost of $75
Option B is to build a 440m
flyover 65m north of the ground
When the Architectural Cen-
tre came forward with a third
option -- to trench Buckle St --
many of us were left wondering
why the transport agency had
not come up with the idea in the
We have been here before.
When the inner city bypass --
Karo Dr -- was mooted in the
1980s, trenching Buckle St and
parts of Willis St was discussed.
Transit New Zealand, the
agency s predecessors, said
trenching was too expensive
and went ahead with a street-
Look how well that turned
out. The result is a half-baked
highway that crosses two major
arterial routes -- Willis and Vic-
toria streets -- and has five
Anyone driving along Willis
or Victoria streets knows how
frustrating it can be. It s not
much better for pedestrians,
who often take their chances at
Wellingtonians do not want
or need another half-baked idea
that could that result in even
more traffic jams.
Motorists want to get to their
destination as quickly as poss-
ible, and although a flyover
might achieve that, it might not
be the best option.
Apart from being ugly, a
flyover will mean a major road
just metres away from Mt Cook
primary school, a memorial
park split in two, and on- and
off-ramps feeding into already
In March last year, former
mayor Kerry Prendergast told
the Dominion Post a trenching
option was the best solution.
It would be a superior out-
come for Memorial Park and
something the city would really
support, she said.
So what happened?
In publicly released plans,
the agency said a tunnel would
be too expensive to build and
would provide minimal trans-
The Architectural Centre dis-
agreed and put forward a plan
showing how an underpass
Costings are yet to be
released, but surely Option X
should be investigated.
Trenching Buckle St would
mean a safe overpass over for
pedestrians and cyclists, and a
memorial park we could be
It would also mean Mt Cook
School children would not have
to breath in car fumes or risk
being hit when they are walk-
Surely this is a better long-
The agency is calling for
submissions and Welling-
tonians should take this oppor-
tunity to make their feelings
clear about what they would
Decisions on road plans are
not to be taken lightly.
If Wellington goes for the
easiest or cheapest options, we
could end up with spaghetti
junctions, similar to the not-so-
efficient ones in Auckland.
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