This had to happen eventually, in fact I’m surprised it took this long:
After a long night of discussions, the Wellington City Council has voted in favour of exploring alternative options to the proposed Basin Reserve flyover.
The decision came the same day Auckland architect Richard Reid announced he has drafted a solution to the traffic congestion, without needing the $90 million dollar flyover proposed by the New Zealand Transport Agency.
Councillor Justin Lester said the council will apply $50,000 toward looking at different options including Mr Reid’s idea of a second tunnel.
The vote was won eight to seven.
The flyover proposal is straight out of the 1950s transport engineering handbook – the kind of thing that most cities around the world are tearing down. Let’s check what it might look like:
There has also be a bit of a row break out about this process as the NZTA sent a letter to the council effectively saying that if the council changed its mind then it would re assess a whole host of other transport projects in the region, this has led to accusations that the agency is trying to bully the council into accepting the deal. This part in particular is probably what is causing the most offence and I had to particularly laugh at the line saying that the NZTA won’t invest in sub-optimal transport developments.
My understanding of part of what has caused both the regional and local council to start reconsidering their support of the flyover has been the governments decision to underground Buckle St to remove traffic from between the National War Memorial and Memorial park, a project I believe the NZTA weren’t previously keen on.
I think out of all the Roads of National Significance projects, the Wellington Northern Corridor is probably the worst – for a variety of reasons:
- Wellington’s population is hardly growing so there unlikely to be massive future demand for transport improvements, unlike Auckland which may grow by up to a million extra people over the next 30 years.
- The cost-benefit ratios for sections of the Wellington RoNS are simply terrible: 0.6 for Transmission Gully and 0.2 for the Kapiti Expressway.
- The urban impact of many sections of the Wellington RoNS are horrific, with the Basin Reserve flyover being the worst example of this.
I don’t know Wellington’s transport situation that well, but it seems that there must surely be better and more sensible options available than the $3 billion proposed to be ploughed into an unnecessary and destructive motorway?