Basin Checklist

Friday, July 8th, 2011

We’re keen to evaluate the Basin Reserve, and have produced a Check List of items that we believe it needs to be evaluated against – as should any other possible Basin scheme as well.

We’ll be posting a critique of the official NZTA proposals next week – but first, without further ado, here are the issues that we think are the key points that any proposal really needs to address (also available at the end as a downloadable PDF):

1) Does there need to be a scheme?
– Why is the scheme being proposed and what is the evidence to support this need?
– Are there “non-physical” ways to address any needs (e.g. congestion charging?)

2) Does the scheme improve transportation in its broadest sense, and in a way which is appropriate for the future?
– Does the scheme improve existing access and safety into and across the Basin for cyclists (commuter and recreational), pedestrians (commuter and recreational) and public transport?
– Does the scheme elegantly integrate state highway and local traffic flows?
– Does the scheme provide dedicated busways designed in such a way that they can accommodate light rail in the future?
– Is the scheme sensible in the context of global warming, climate change, peak oil and peak car?

3) Does the scheme provide a better environment for the neighbourhood (e.g. schools in the area/Government House)?
– Is it safer for school students to walk, ride and take public transport to school?
– Does the scheme provide a better environment for children’s learning in terms of pollution and noise?
– Does the scheme improve access to the recreational spaces of the Basin reserve?
– Does it provide better quality of open spaces?
– Does the scheme engage Government House as an important part of Wellington as a capital city?

4) Does the scheme support the aims of the Urban Design Protocol and city council initiatives for adjacent areas?
– Is the scheme an example of excellent urban design?
– Is the scheme a good fit for this part of the city (e.g. its relationship to the Victorian Kent/Cambridge Tce?; the deformed city grid (deformed by its geography)).
– Does the scheme sit well in relation to the Adelaide Road plan, the Wellington Transport Strategy and the Ngauranga to Airport Growth/Transport Spine?
– Does the scheme support the Basin as a destination, rather than one of the world’s largest roundabouts cut off from its local community?

5) Does the proposed scheme respect existing cultural environment and add to it?
– Does the scheme respect areas of significance to local iwi?
– Does the scheme respect the siting, or better site, historic buildings (e.g. Ettrick Cottage, Government House, John Swan’s Compassion Creche)?
– Does the scheme respect areas of significance to local community groups (e.g. residents, sportspeople)?
– Does the proposal have well designed structures?

6) Is the cost warranted? and are the benefits (e.g. social, environmental, economic) of the scheme appropriately recognised?
– What is the cost/benefit analysis and does it understand costs and benefits beyond a narrow view of traffic flow (e.g. quality urban design, health, providing better recreational spaces, encouraging pedestrian/cycling, presenting cultural/environmental aspects of the area)? How does the cost benefit compare with other scenarios?

7) Is Wellington a better place because of this scheme?


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Posted under: Basin Reserve issues | 2 Comments »

2 Responses to “Basin Checklist”

  1. Nick Says:

    I think this is a very good list of criteria any proposal should be marked against. The trouble is, and you mentioned this in your 6th point, I think the NZTA probably have a similar list, but with a much higher rating of achieving the ‘cars and roads’ criteria than the ‘better urban space’ criteria. The economic benefits are sadly only tied to the improved efficiency of moving traffic, which they say pedestrians and cyclists only contribute 3% (from “What are the Costs and Benefits” I think if they measured the wider benefits of the tunnel option in terms of increasing value of the surrounding space, like memorial park, for starters, I believe the BCR would become much higher.

  2. m-d Says:

    Good point Nick. I posted a little more about that, and the Wider Economic Benefits that are used to assess the RoNS works, as you suggest – only, NZTA don’t bother to use the same methodology when assessing other options, i.e. the added value is used as justification (given the rather poor BCR result), rather than a comparative evaluation of the various options. Go figure…
    Here’s the link if you’re interested:
    there’s a link to the Wider Economic Benefits report within the above post…

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