The Public needs a real choice: Option X

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

The NZTA have proposed options for redeveloping the roading of the Basin Reserve.  But these are not really options. They are two schemes for flyovers which have very little difference.  We believe that the scheme/s proposed by NZTA exclude the public from making a real choice.

Currently the Basin is a mess.  From a multi-modal perspective (pedestrian, cyclist, car) the Basin is not a safe place.  Aesthetically it is a dog.  The inward facing cricket ground alienates its surroundings.  Recent building has reneged on its public responsibilities, creating some of the worst public street faces of architecture in Wellington.

We have no doubt that something needs to be done, but the choices to be made are at least on two levels.

1) Should the remediation work to improve the urban design of the Basin assume traffic levels will increase or not? and how should it respond to consequent changes in local conditions?  Data from the NZTA website suggest traffic levels have been plateauing for quite some time.

2) Should the remediation work use a tunnel or a flyover?

We think grade separation is critical to ensure better safety to all road users, and to help achieve speed consistency of motor vehicles, which will reduce emissions and noise pollution.  Both tunnels and flyovers have their problems for designers.  The scale of such infrastructure must respect the scale of the urban or suburban fabric it sits within.  Both can cause issues of severance or undesirable residual spaces.  We recognise that the NZTA images of the flyovers presented to the public do not reflect the potential design quality of the flyover structures, as these are yet to be properly designed.

Both flyovers and tunnel entrances can be poetic, elegant, and inspiring design.  Both will cost money to get the design right, and to guarantee that Wellingtonians end up with a Basin Reserve that we are proud of.

Option X (diagram: updated 23 July)

Option X (perspective from the North East)

This means that debate about the possible urban environments which might result from a rethinking of the Basin must happen.  Option X introduces a new way of thinking about the Basin, and new ideas to enter into the debate.

Tunnel section

Tunnel section (detail)

Option X is a cut and cover tunnel from Sussex St to Taranaki St in combination with traffic design innovations previously used in the redesign of Trafaglar Square.  It minimises intersections, and potential traffic collisions.  Option X also emphasises meaningful green connections from Memorial Park, through to the Basin Reserve, and across to Government House, and neighbouring school precincts.

Aerial view from the North-West

Option X encourages the Basin to become open to a broader range of recreational uses.  The removal of fences (except for the Heritage Gates), for example, would better aid pedestrian movement across the precinct (Temporary fencing can be erected for the few days a year when test cricket is on).  Removing the south-east quadrant of roading secures a meaningful link between the Basin and Government House Reserve.  Such a connection also provides a more elegant forecourt to both the schools in the south-east corner, and to Government House, a reminder that Wellington is a capital city, and needs to celebrate this national significance in areas in addition to the Parliamentry precinct.  The grounds of Government House are on occasion open to the public. Redesigning the Basin could assist with extending public access through these grounds, and further increasing green linkages through this part of the city.

Memorial Park (Option X)

Memorial Park (NZTA)

The advantage of a tunnel is that it provides a respective space for Memorial Park, the Carillon and the Tomb to the Unknown Warrior.  The alternative of traffic noise and severed space is not a pretty one.

This proposal also advocates for Memorial Park to be extended beyond Tory St to the Basin as an active park – not simply passive green grass – but one where its edges are defined by small businesses and cafes, connecting the Basin to the commerce of Tory St.  This is important as an empty space is a dead space.  We want to respect our war dead, but we don’t want them to be completely removed from, and forgotten by, contemporary life.  For the Basin to work we need memorial space and additional reasons for people to come through this area.    Such a park extension would be designed to support a diverse range of activities, with structures such as wind and sun shades, and basketball courts.  Built structures (including small businesses and cafes on the edge of the park) could also support the scale and size of the John Swan-designed Compassion creche, which historically was part of a dense built environment on its western flanks, rather than being sadly isolated as it remains today on Buckle St – woefully stranded at the edge of the Basin.

The Basin is the gateway to Adelaide Rd, an area which has been identified as a growth node and appropriate for revitalisation and medium density mixed use development. The provision of appropriate transport infrastructure will be critical.

Tram stop

Option X designates an uninterrupted public transport corridor for buses or light rail.  Overseas examples demonstrate how roads can be designed to accommodate space for passengers to safely alight from whatever public transport option we choose in the future.

Wellington needs the Basin Reserve to function better across a complex range of needs.  The discussion we have today will determine how well the Basin meets these demands well into the future.  Option X means that a real discussion can take place.


Print This Post

Posted under: Basin Reserve issues | 50 Comments »

50 Responses to “The Public needs a real choice: Option X”

  1. tomek Says:

    Great work, thanks for those fantastic diagrams. I think that they work really well to show at least one possible alternative to the NZTA proposal. People need to see and realise that we, the people of Wellington, have the choice in this matter and that we are ultimately responsible for the final outcome.

    In my opinion the tunnel option make so much more sense in the historical, social and recreational contexts. Here’s why:

    Historically, the Basin was a large patch of green land, frequented by the inhabitants of Wellington as a recreational ground. It was a sort of a social hub for people to take a stroll, watch parades, attend to national celebrations and of course play cricket.

    As the city grew, we the people enamoured with technology, allowed the basin to become increasingly cut off from the rest of Wellington. Until it became an island. Who goes there now to socialise, attend national celebrations, who goes there to take a sunday afternoon stroll and how often is cricket played at this iconic sports ground? Not often and not many, if any.

    Option X shows us that we don’t have to abandon out technological marvels. On the contrary, we can have both—a great recreational area, a social hub where the south of the city meets the north, a fantastic inner city park (right outside a university and a high school both with limited outdoor grounds), and we can drive our cars, fast.

    Let me think… oh, OK, a √ for X.

    cheers,
    -tomek

  2. Len Cheeseman Says:

    its good to see some creativity being exhibited to the basin issue.Flyovers are an ugly mid 20th century transport solution and all the indicators are that inner cities will change quite significantly over the coming decades.Apparently the generation coming through now have far less interest in cars as an urban option and will require a wider spread of alternatives for commuting,transportation and general inner city living.The better the urban environments we create,the more creativity we exhibit on all aspects of the city, the more will will be able to attract new businesses and individuals who are globally savvy and wish to live here
    The attached films are interesting,Sam Kebbell sent your link to me and I was unaware of this proposal but had been remarking to Sam what an absurdity the flyover is.

    http://bmwactivatethefuture.com/index.php/documentary/newcity

  3. Maximus Says:

    Congratulations to the folk at Arch Centre who have worked this up. We’ve been watching and waiting for an alternative scheme to raise it’s head – and I do believe we now have one with your Option X. Great work! I’ll peruse it with interest and give it some promotion on Eye of the Fish as well.

  4. Guy Says:

    Thanks Len. You’re right that a flyover is an ugly, outdated transport solution. We believe we’ve got a viable option to the problem of requiring grade separation – and a much simpler option it is, than to have the aerial flyovers that NZTA are talking about.

  5. On behalf of Insider Says:

    Insider
    18 – 07 – 11 I think it is quite elegant in its simplicity. Not sure it will work though. The bus lanes are in the middle lane. How will they be accessed?Where is the school drop point for all the buses from the eastern suburbs? And why are there buses in the green space to the south?How do vehicles from newtown access the tunnel? Do you seriously think you can get away with one general lane in and out of newtown?How does the governor general get home? How is St marks serviced?Where is the tunnels western exit and how does that work?What’s happened to the creche?
    insider.
    Just looking at this more, how do people from the eastern suburbs access Cambridge terrace or Tory St?You seem to be treating that traffic as solely focussed on moving to taranaki St and beyond? Is courtenay pl of no interest to the eastern folk?

  6. the Ant Says:

    I think Option X is a very thoughtful and positive urban design solution.. it ticks all the boxes.
    Creating networks is about creating more opportunities for communal unity and commercial and non-commercial activities. Cities need to be living urban spaces not freeways for motor vehicles.

  7. richard Says:

    Hi Insider
    the last picture shows how public transport running down the centre of the road works, and the buses on the green bit must be the drop-off for schools referred to in the text. Buses from the east can easily access this by driving around the basin (along with the Governor General). If you look closely at the aerial shot (image after the sections) you can see the tunnel exit just before Taranaki St. I guess there’s the possibility of an exit from the tunnel to Tory St, and some of the Eastern suburb traffic would no doubt use Constable St.

  8. Guy Says:

    Insider – some excellent questions. There is a strong design principle running through this scheme – that the State Highway traffic, flowing east-west, is not used for local things like school buses stopping. That’s one of the major causes of traffic jams in the area: if you have ever been past at 3pm, then you’ll know why the traffic all grinds to a halt.
    Therefore any local usage (Newtown, Schools, Gov House etc) would all use the more locally based North-South route, where stopping off is more or less expected.
    The existing route both in and out of Newtown is one lane of traffic, and one bus lane, each way. So: no change there.

  9. m-d Says:

    Great stuff – nice to see a real alternative out there, rather than the Clayton’s choice delivered by NZTA.

    For new visitors, background work and previous posts on Basin-related issues can be found on this page: http://architecture.org.nz/basin/

  10. John Davidson Says:

    Much better. Thankyou.

  11. insider Says:

    Thanks whoever posted my questions

    @Richard -thanks. Didn’t click that green space was a road. I can see issues with the buses merging onto Paterson St -need a lane like on the north side

    @guy – I don’t agree with your analysis of sh1. One of my concerns is that you are achieving a much greater level of separation than the bridge – a concept many here seem concerned about, making it all the stranger. Do you guys all live in newtown or something? 🙂

    You are effectively forcing

  12. insider Says:

    Oops postus interruptus

    I was saying you are effectively telling the eastern suburbs folk that their visits are not welcome to the entertainment centre and can they please take the long way around. You are in effect creating an expressway out of essentially a local road. Thats not that clever IMO.

    And newtown is served by two lanes each way. Making two of them dedicated bus lanes might make people feel good but will cut capacity for the 70 -80%? or so of the time buses aren’t present; and remember as richard said this design might divert eastn subs traffic over constable St….

  13. James Says:

    Nice. Needs more direct east-west connections for commuter cyclists/pedestrians though. Perhaps a small underpass to cross into the NE quadrant of the Basin?

  14. Den Says:

    A good design in an urban setting should consider that urban setting as a priority. Having visited the NZTA roadshow over the weekend I was disappointed to see their brief was entirely about solving a (perhaps perceived) traffic issue. I say put good urban design first and work the traffic out around it: not the other way around.

  15. Geoff Says:

    I can’t for the life of me understand why they don’t just put in a cut and cover tunnel straight through the middle. All this effort to avoid a flat grass patch, when a flat grass patch in itself just makes cut and cover so easy. The road would be perfectly straight, and the reserve would be fully restored above it. Wellingtonians are over-complicating what should be a simple and straight forward project.

  16. christine Says:

    Insider – the green space isn’t a road – there’s a low-traffic drive on the south side – just for school and Government House traffic – not through to Paterson St (otherwise you are right another lane to catch those cars would be needed on SH1). The lines indicate drive becoming cycle/pedestrian pathways to remember the historic street plan.

  17. Rhonda Says:

    Nice work here – I would like to see further detailed development of the interesting looking area at the eastern end of the tunnel though. Something cool there has the potential to be inspirational in an urban sculpture kind of way – like some of the earlier posts on this site show.

    Re insider comments about getting from Newtown into the tunnel – do you mean the memorial tunnel – if so, doesn’t that little branch to the west go underground too?

    I also think that the grid on the Te Aro flat is permeable enough for eastern suburbanites to access Courtenay Place and environs from Taranaki Street. It would be a pain if you were heading for Oriental Bay, but then if you were coming from the East you’d just take the bays route anyway.

  18. Stephen Says:

    This is getting closer to original 1960’s plans(i.e. keep vehicles separate from the city where they dont want to go)but the tunnel is still only one way, i.e. west bound meaning Vivian Street is still our only West-East link road.

    Biggest issues with this design I see is one lane from Kent terrace to Newtown/Island Bay is inadequate for traffic volumes.

    If you are planning for light rail or trams in future, this should be in straight line from Kent Terrace to Adelaide Road by going under the Basin. As this tunnel(made via cut and cover) would be north/south, the underground water flow could easily be diverted around it.

    My other suggestions for proposed tunnel under memorial park are:
    – add bridge at end to span taranaki st
    – add west-east lane to tunnel to allow vehicles from webb st, upper taranaki to travel to camvbridge tce therefore removing traffic pressure on Vivian street.

  19. richard Says:

    Stephen – I think you’ll find a tunnel under the basin is quite tricky – apparently it’s not just water diversion but also the fact the tunnel will want to float because the land is a swamp adding to the complications. If it wasn;t for this – yes that could provide a very elegant option.
    re: west-east land to Memorial tunnel – this could connect to Cambridge Tce, but would probably cause more problems if linking to the Mt Vic tunnel – could end up with an overpass or two …

  20. steve Says:

    stop SH1 at ferry terminal, remove one-way system, embrace congestion and start calling this place a city.

  21. Peter789 Says:

    Hi, is there an option Y or option Z? Seems to me that option X might have flaws, road hard up against northern side of basin, access to Gov house, schools and apartments in southeast zone, access off and onto SH1 etc etc. Are there other tunnel / green space ideas? The more the better. Eg. North south road pass under ear west road, not over? Is an uphill sloped tunnel a good idea? I agree with a tunnel and a Memorial Park with no freeway through it. But you can never escape the cold hard fact that traffic will be congested by any traffic lights (eg Taranaki St) and back up from there, no matter how fantastic the Cobham to Basin roadway is! Does that mean the NZTA has a hidden agenda to put a motorway from the airport right through to Willis St? Why does the Airport have such delusions of grandeur? What about the 2nd Mt Vic tunnel and Hataitai freeway? What better ideas for that? Sorry rambling a bit much. So… The end.

  22. insider Says:

    @ Catherine

    I can’t see your bus access working. How do they get out again? A 10 point turn? Reversing into oncoming traffic? It has to loop back onto Paterson St but there’s no room for another lane. Exactly how will buses from there get to hataitai,miramar or courtney place? How will they get there from newtown? I think buses will also congest the single lane into newtown at peak time because they can’t use the bus lane given where they enter and exit the road.

    @ Rhonda

    I mean the mt vic tunnel. Look carefully, there is no route from south to east unless you do a u turn on Cambridge tce (out of shot). That is ridiculous. This a major cross roads and a key movement is gone. The tunnel also removes another – access to tory St.

    So we have a plan that looks pretty but keeps coming up short, when you look at it in detail, in it’s key purpose – a road that moves people efficiently. And this is why Den is wrong – urban design should not trump usability in this context.

  23. Guy Says:

    Insider – I may be wrong, as I don’t frequent schools, but apparently there is an existing turning area for buses within one of the schools nearby? In any case – it’s important not to get hung up on the little things – and to concentrate on the overall bigger picture – does what is shown here work better than an overpass. I happen to think that it does, although I can see that you’re not convinced.

    Similarly, with the right turn from South to East. If you look at the traffic data, the number of users from Adelaide Rd wanting to turn right and go through the tunnel is… actually very small. While it is definitely a major cross-roads / intersection, if almost nobody wants to take that route – is it actually worth putting it in? Remember – the more intersections you have, the slower the traffic gets. Sometimes it may be worth cutting out some options, to simplify things and to stop congestion.

  24. Guy Says:

    Peter789: so many questions! I’ll try to answer some…
    “Hi, is there an option Y or option Z?”
    >> we investigated many many options. We thought this scheme had many merits…

    “Seems to me that option X might have flaws, road hard up against northern side of basin, access to Gov house, schools and apartments in southeast zone, access off and onto SH1 etc etc.”
    >> All of those points are resolved / resolvable. Access to Gov House, St Marks, Schools etc is easy to do off Adelaide Road. We’ll post some more sketches on that.

    “Are there other tunnel / green space ideas? The more the better. Eg. North south road pass under ear west road, not over?”
    >> NZTA have produced a scheme with a N-S road that goes under the E-W road – that’s their scheme with an overpass / E-W flyover above the Basin traffic.

    “Is an uphill sloped tunnel a good idea?”
    >> The Mt Vic tunnel already slopes in one direction. No issues with traffic in there that we know of.

    “I agree with a tunnel and a Memorial Park with no freeway through it. But you can never escape the cold hard fact that traffic will be congested by any traffic lights (eg Taranaki St) and back up from there, no matter how fantastic the Cobham to Basin roadway is!”
    >> True. But unless you tunnel all the way from the Terrace Tunnel to the Basin, you’re going to hit a road somewhere. Actually, the Inner City Bypass was specifically designed to interact with the local community, by having lots of traffic lights and low speed traffic. You may agree or disagree with that philosophy.

    “Does that mean the NZTA has a hidden agenda to put a motorway from the airport right through to Willis St?”
    >> Yes, and its not so hidden. Check out their publications. It’s in there, somewhere…

    “Why does the Airport have such delusions of grandeur?”
    >> From what we understand, it is the roading lobby that is pushing this. That’s the AA, the Trucking Association, the Men in White Vans Association etc.

    “What about the 2nd Mt Vic tunnel and Hataitai freeway? What better ideas for that? Sorry rambling a bit much. So… The end.”
    >> We’re looking at that. But time is limited, and we wanted to concentrate on the Basin. We’d like your support to get this scheme out to the wider public. Tell your friends!

  25. insider Says:

    @ guy

    I don’t think that that corner of the basin not working could be called a minor thing. Of the overall plan I liked the look (although i am suspicious that the tunnel might not work and the crossing from the basin is a mess) but I just think there are too many issues that show it to be hopelessly optimistic and fatally flawed.

  26. tom Says:

    i would prefer to be sitting in my car looking at memorial park than be stuck in a tunnel waiting for the lights to change.

  27. Guy Says:

    Tom – yes, that may be best for you – but what is best for the city? That’s what we’re exploring here.
    At present, there is no Memorial Park. The scheme, as proposed by NZTA, is for a “Memorial Park” by name, but not by nature. A “Park” with a highway going straight through the middle of it, is not a Park that anyone is going to use, except to take their dogs for a walk late at night so they can crap on the grass. Karo Drive has a “Park” either side of it, on which, as yet, not a single person has ever been spotted in having a sandwich, a picnic, a game of frisbee – any of those things that go on in successful parks – such as Waitangi Park.
    For the good of the City, as well as for the good of the Park, Memorial Park needs to be undergrounded.

  28. Monday Says:

    I’m a bit concerned with how the levels work at the north western corner. Assuming approx 2m for grassed area structure, 5m clearance for the n/s road, another 2m structure and then 5m for e/w tunnel = 14m deep, which seems rather a lot of digging… I know all three levels don’t go over the top of each other at once, but ramping limitations suggest to me that this proposal would need near that kind of depth. God I hate sounding like a traffic engineer. I’m thoroughly supportive of an alternative based on a people focused philosophy of the city and I’d like it to be robust enough to withstand critique from flyover proponents.

    I tend to agree with insider that the south-east corner not working is a pretty important factor – there is enormous pressure on that area at peak times – not just school pick up but also events at Govt House.

    Re: the park – did Karo drive even have a landscape designer involved? Agree it’s a waste of space. However, those that designed Waitangi Park are designing Memorial Park and I’m a bit more confident that the ONLY good thing about the flyover proposal will be a decent green space despite having a road right beside it (which waitangi park has also, as well as a rather large car park space).

  29. m-d Says:

    I actually agree with you there Monday – I’m not necessarily against a road at surface level, and yes, we have some very good designers working on that aspect. However, there is not enough detail yet to judge how successful this will be – how can we approve something so critical in the absence of these details?

    Does it just come down to a matter of In NZTA/Wraight/Athfields we trust?

    Same goes with respect to the actual flyover – something special might actually be a positive addition to the urbanscape, yet there is nothing in the proposal docs that sell it to me on this basis.

    If we are talking about choosing what’s best in terms of broader urban design issues, these things are very very important to understand before any decision can be made one way or the other…

    (of course, the same argument could well be levelled at the above scheme too, but it is a bit easier to understand why AC have not gone to that level of resolution given the ‘volunteer’ nature of the work – also, the absence of the road/park interface means that level of detail becomes less critical for that part of the scheme…)

  30. christine Says:

    Hi Monday
    the height of the W-E road/cut and cover tunnel at the N-W cnr is about 6m above sea level, the current ground level is 12m increasing to 15m. We’ve worked out the vertical road levels using the contours information from the WCC website. Apparently you need abut 1 m of structure. There is enough room because the land slopes downward towards Cambridge Tce.
    and Stephen re: light rail – the bus/lightrail corridor has been worked out ensuring a maxiumu gradient of 12%, and a turning radious of 38m – so that it will accommodate light rail fine.

  31. m-d Says:

    Yes – I should point out that my agreeing was in terms of the surface road not necessarily being the harbinger of all doom, rather than the viability of the Memorial Tunnel itself. Numbers have been crunched etc…

  32. Stephen Says:

    Hi Christine,
    My key point here is do you really believe that a single lane servicing Newtown and Island Bay for vehicles is realistic around the basin?

    In regards to accomodating light rail in future – yes of course it will fit around the turning radius but the key here is to maintain a speedy service (same as for current buses). FYI – even the oft mentioned Nottingham light rail which is proposed as a model for wellington (where 10km of 14km is beside the main rail line) only has a average speed of 23kph. hence sharp kinks will reduce the speed and desirability of public transport.

    Hi Richard – re construction of tunnel under basin, that conflicts with the contruction advice I have received. Hence I guess we have to just agree to disagree in the absence of expert advice/plans.

  33. Stephen Says:

    Pardon if out of scope of this forum but in regard to local subject matter expertise, it would be interesting to know how many of the WCC transport planning people and Transit people involved in the roading plan
    a. actually live in the eastern suburbs and /or
    b. commute through the city daily.

    Personally same should apply to objectors. Are they submitting input as a affected party, do they use the route or are they objecting on principle?

    FYI – I drive from eastern suburbs to Upper Hutt and back every day and my wife catches public transport to city so I think I have a good idea as to how traffic flows and the current issues (even though we may disagree on the solution).

  34. christine Says:

    Hi Stephen – the traffic volumes (ex WCC) are about 20,000 cars (average daily traffic volume) on the State Highway network, and about 10,000 cars for the local roads. If NZTA think 2 lanes is fine for 20,000 cars then one should be fine for 10,000. The other issue is the number of intersections – reducing these will also mean increasd capacity, though this of course needs to be thought of in the context of the wider network.

  35. Monday Says:

    You’ve all probably seen NZTA’s option ‘f’? Available in the report below if anyone is interested. (apologies, have no idea how to html link)

    http://www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/basin-reserve/docs/basin-reserve-options-report.pdf

    The biggest difference would indeed be price tag – $100M for option A and $160-220M for option F.

    m-d – I’m willing to give wraights a little credit, based on previous performance. Admittedly there is NZTA involved this time, so who knows. I’m sure I’ve seen more detailed plans of what is planned, but can’t find them on the internet at the minute.

  36. Guy Says:

    For those of you saying that Adelaide Road has, or needs to have 2 lanes of traffic, I’d just like to point out that it already has only 1 lane of traffic, and one bus lane each way. Yes, it fans out into more lanes as it nears an intersection – but basically it is just one lane of cars each way. That’s what we are proposing to keep around the Basin.
    The recent WCC study on the Adelaide Road area, looks at intensifying the residential component of buildings along the Newtown part of Adelaide Road, but does not propose to widen the road – if anything, the opposite. Check out the picture here:
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/575727/Boulevard-plan-for-Adelaide-Rd

  37. m-d Says:

    Stephen – yes, I have lived in Lyall Bay for a number of years, and only recently moved across town. I still maintain many reasons fro travelling to and from the Eastern burbs, however, although not as part of my daily commute any more.

    When living in LBay I commuted by both bus and car (not at the same time of course), and preferred the Mt Vic route over the Newtown option when travelling by car. Sure, traffic is slow on Wellington and Ruahine, but like the majority of Wellington residents (see Neilsen report linked to in a previous post), I was fairly comfortable with the progress – certainly the total duration of the commute is nothing by international capital city standards.

  38. m-d Says:

    …furthermore, in terms of affected parties (rather than ‘local expertise’), the city isn’t just designed for motorists who travel across it. Urban design should be cognisant of all users, and at a significant site such as the Basin, well, most Wellingtonians have some kind of stake as to its outcome. It may be that, if asked*, we would prefer to keep the integrity of the urban design rather than shave a few minutes of the commute of Eastern suburbanites. Just because you use the road, doesn’t mean that your wishes should override everyone else’s in terms of wider urban issues. Basing the design of a city around the transportation needs of the private motor car has proven time and time again to lead to disgusting outcomes…

    * which when we were, an overpass was rejected by more than 2:1…

  39. Guy Says:

    It’s interesting – I normally travel the Adelaide Road at around peak hour, when there is a bus lane in operation, travelling north. One lane bus, one lane car. The car lane is clogged – people can venture into the bus lane only near the intersection, although it seems some people regularly pretend they didn’t know that. After peak-hours of course, the bus lane is non-operational, and traffic can pass down there – or park there. Natuarally, as soon as one person parks there, it ceases to have value as an extra lane of traffic, instead becoming an extra lane of aggravation. Late at night, both lanes are free, and traffic hoons up and down.
    Seems to me there is certainly a simple rationale to keeping to what the Arch Centre has shown – one lane dedicated passenger transport in the centre, and one lane of cars. Less interruptions all round.

  40. John Says:

    what a great idea, but it would be interesting to build this… as there will be times where significant road closures/ detours would be requried – and could the remainding network/ Wellington cope?

  41. Sydney Shep Says:

    As a musician, and carillonist at that, I applaud this solution which picks up from discussions twenty years ago about how to maintain the National War Memorial’s acoustical environment. At the moment in addition to the aboveground traffic noise and construction, there are approximately 70-80 ambulance sirens piercing the sonic landscape each day. Try listening to the carillon on a quiet day – those days are long gone. Sound rises so imagine the players not being able to hear themselves think let alone make music. Option X recognizes the sanctity of the war memorial and memorial park. Let’s extend that to the sonic environment!

  42. Guy Says:

    Sydney,
    I work near Vivian St, and have a direct eyeline view/glimpse of your Carillon – as well as a full audio of your tunes each time you play. Rest assured that the sound of the bells rings out high above the city and makes it over to this building, as long as the wind is blowing from the south (or not at all). Its a lovely sound – well done. Yes, we believe that sanctity of the Memorial Park must be preserved, as you say. All power to you!

  43. Guy Says:

    John – I think you have hit upon a good point – and one that works in favour of Option X rather than the NZTA option(s). If the NZTA scheme goes ahead, with the one aerial route blocked off on by ANZAC ceremonies or inevitable traffic accidents, I’d say that there will be considerable traffic congestion caused.
    With the undergrounding of the road beneath the Park in our Option X, ceremonies such as the ANZAC service will never cause road stoppages – and hence there will be arguably less traffic congestion – thereby speeeding up traffic. Indeed, that is one criticism that some of our members have levied against us – that it is likely to have less congestion, and therefore indirectly cause MORE traffic. We apologise if our scheme is altogether just too good.

  44. Mike Says:

    Two things that aren’t clear to me: what happens about pedestrians & cyclists going between Mt Vic/Kent Tce and the schools at the south-east corner, and about those using the Basin as a through route between Kent/Cambridge & Adelaide Rd?

  45. Guy Says:

    If you look closely at the plan – there are little blue dotted lines which are the cycleways – and we’re working on resolving any remaining issues. One of our key aims is to produce a plan that is significantly better for pedestrians, cyclists, and public transport, and making those links work independent of road crossings is a key goal.

  46. Mike Says:

    Good to see those cycleways – but what about walkways, too? And the four lanes of traffic at grade between Mt Vic and the schools look like a pretty impenetrable barrier – what’s the solution there? It’s currently a very well used pedestrian route, with no obvious convenient alternative.

  47. Brent Efford Says:

    A revulsion against flyovers and overhead roadways is pretty much universal around the world, so the AC is on to the right path in keeping SH1 at grade and burying it in front of the NWM. However, Mike is right – there are big problems with the 4 lanes at the NE corner. I would like to see SH1 taken out of Kent Tce by putting that flow down Hania St. By using the land at the Regional Wine & Spirits and St Josephs it would be possible to separate the 2 2-lane roads with a green strip. It would also mean that Kent/Cambridge could be redeveloped into a wide boulevard with only 1 traffic lane in each direction and plenty of green, with grass-covered tram tracks, as is common in Europe.

  48. Guy Says:

    Brent,
    I’m not really sure about that – Hania St is a tiny little street – yes, it is pretty much a wasteland at present, but I have doubts about its suitability as a route for the volume of SH1 traffic that it would attract.

  49. Michele Says:

    We do not need to retain the Basin Reserve,
    we should not be sentimental in our decision making. It has served it’s purpose, we need not be fearful to face loosing it.
    It is not easy to be visionary and progressive but essential.

  50. m-d Says:

    Michele – that might well be the case, and I’m not necessarily aginst that thought, but it doesn’t mean that part of our City’s urban fabric should be compromised by poor infrastructure design, That is really what’s at stake, Basin or no Basin.

    Besides, if we did get rid of the sportsground, it would create a wonderful opportunity for a more multi-purpose reserve – something that Wellington could do with more of…

Leave a comment

RSS feed for comments on this post