Thanks for all the comments so far.  Here are a couple more images which might answer some questions and may create some more.  The first image is looking from the North-east side towards the Carillon, which shows conceptually how the levels work.  This corner will need more design (obviously) especially regarding the structures underneath, but the drawing shows how the levels work.


In particular this last  image engages with the discussion of the south-east corner school bus movements.  The intention is that this quadrant is park with a drive to access Government House and adjacent schools.  Space near Adelaide Rd (in the far left side of this image) is to provided for school buses.  This proposal identifies the car sales yard as a potential space to accommodate bus movements.

We’ve made a model to make it easier for everyone to understand how Option X works.  Below is a photo.  The model will be taken to all the public meetings about Option X.  So far the scheduled meetings are as follows:

Monday 15 August, 7.30pm, Newtown Hall,  Daniell Street (opposite Mediterranean Warehouse)

Tuesday 16 August, 8am at Newtown Network Centre, by the Branch Library in Constable St

Wednesday 17 August, 7.30pm at St Joseph’s Church, Ellice St

Monday 22 August, 7pm in the Mt Cook School Hall, Tory St

Keep the discussion coming.


28 responses to “Option X: plus”

  1. Peter789 Avatar

    Great! I get to post the first comment. Carrying on from my last post about whether there is an option Y or option Z etc, and whether option X might have some flaws, I have checked out the NZTA document that presents their option A to option F (with A and B being those in their so-called submission document). See options A to F here…
    Anyway, here is an idea for Option Y…
    Move the Grandstand Apartments south to where Repco is! Remember the Museum Hotel? Westbound traffic from tunnel goes via the north side of Basin, but much further north than option X, and then climbs to a cut and cover tunnel on the northern side of memorial park, not the south side like option X. Taranaki St intersection moved north. Eastbound traffic to tunnel takes nice sweeping curve where Grandstand Apartments now sit. North-south traffic goes under SH1 through a short tunnel in the area in front of St Joseph Church, and continues around east side of Basin. South-north traffic goes around west side of Basin, and then under SH1 through a short tunnel in the area of the Cambridge Tce car yard. Would all that work? We get a decent park without a freeway through it. The car lovers get their freeway. The basin lovers get the SH1 further away from the boundary (no cricket balls landing on SH1). The north-south / south-north travellers, Gov House and schools all get the same route but without competing with SH1. All good.

  2. Peter789 – I’m lost. Can you sketch it out and email it in?

  3. You may have answered this but how do Mt Victoria residents get to the basin? It appears that ellice and hania streets are completly cut off. Pedestrian tunnel maybe?

  4. Keith Flinders Avatar
    Keith Flinders

    What a creative and inspiring approach to solving the present and future traffic issues in the Basin Reserve area. Far less intrusive than the NZTA over pass options. I look forward to viewing further drawing enhancements in due time.

  5. Peter789 Avatar

    Option Y. I have a new variation. Will try and put a sketch together, but I’m no graphic artist. Basically my Option Y consists of moving the Grandstand apartments north to the Repco site. (Remember how fantastic the Museum Hotel move was for Wellington?) Then the SH1 westbound roadway goes on a causeway (not a flyover) and an architecturally designed bridge over the existing Kent and Cambridge in the vicinity of the existing apartments. The existing roadways around the basin remain the same, excepts for enhancements to allow to the reduction in traffic. The east west causeway and bridge continue into a tunnel under the new memorial park, and exits at a Taranaki St intersection that is north of it’s current location (tunnel goes under northern side of memorial park, and would slope slightly downwards). Also, SH1 eastbound traffic could climb onto this causeway once it has turned off Kent Tce. There could be an underpass under the causeway in the Ellice St area to allow for local vehicle and pedestrian traffic. How does all that sound? Is a causeway just as bad as a flyover?

  6. Peter789 – I’m not sure if moving the Grandstand apartments would be a good idea, or even possible. The Museum hotel was made of solid concrete, so it was an easy rigid box to move. But the Grandstand apartments are likely to be much more flexible… Plus, NZTA don’t own them, so are unlikely to want to do that. You may not have realised, but NZTA have been investigating a similar arrangement of tunnels at Taranaki St – we’ll do a post soon on their tunnel options they have discarded. Keep watching this space.

  7. Peter789 Avatar

    Thanks for the feedback. If the apartments can’t be moved, then they may need to be demolished. NZTA are obviously happy to bowl apartments on the corner of Kilbirnie Cres and Wellington Rd, so another block shouldn’t faze them (notwithstanding the social impact of displacing existing residents). Essentially the Option Y puts the westbound SH1 road somewhere between where the NZTA options A and B are located. I was concerned about option X completely blocking the northern side of the basin, and the differences in levels where SH1 crossed the north south route. Option Y allows an opportunity to enhance the northern entrance, and the causeway would be only 5 ir 6 metres above Kent Canbridge, and doesn’t cause new issues with access to the southeast school zone. The north south routes around the basin essentially remain the same, for now, and can be enhanced when (if) light rail goes ahead.
    Really I would like to know what people think about a causeway and bridge. Is that something that urban design professionals like you could go with?

  8. Me personally: No.

    Sorry, but part of what we are trying to do is to get away with the need for aerial structures, and to enhance Wellington with a new park linking the various bits of the city together. The two things work hand in hand.

  9. Stephen Avatar

    I can see the logic why you no longer need the basin as a roundabout in this design.

    However I cannot see how vehicles travelling from eastern suburbs turn off to go to hospital. Is there a exit ramp behind the grandstand just before the tunnel entrance?

    I am also still sceptial of the ability of one lane to link newtown – island bay and berhampore to the CBD. At best, I dont see it has future growth capability.

  10. Stephen – is there an exit? Yes, just where you point out: behind the existing grandstand.
    Capacity of present road Island Bay to Newtown is currently one bus-lane plus one lane for cars (at peak times). That caters for about 10,000 cars. That is exactly what Wellington has at present. It is also what is proposed by the WCC in the future. We thought we’d stay with that.

  11. Stephen Avatar

    Thx for prompt response.

    Is interesting the WCC is not expecting increased traffic volumes generated by the big retail developments planned on the old Boys Institute site in Tasman St or Tip Top Bread site in John St or proposed higher density residential in lower Adelaide Rd and other vehicle centred developments that will occur in the future.

  12. I recall that the Traffic Report for the new Supermarket on the Basin noted that the area was already congested, and that the new development would not add significantly to that congestion. Sounds unlikely to me. I would have thought that a new supermarket would add significantly to traffic movements, if not overall traffic volumes.

  13. David Stevens Avatar
    David Stevens

    The two additional sketches above do help.
    1. I still think there could be issues with the car and bus drop-off areas for the schools – for example, how do the buses and more particularly cars leave the area and head back into the CBD or join SH1 in either direction?

    2. Is there enough road space for light rail plus road traffic from Kent Terrace via Sussex Street to Adelaide Road (and in the other direction)? Also could the gradient and ‘S’ bend be a bit of an issue for light rail?

  14. Stephen Avatar

    FYI – have a look at the Nottingham Light Rail in the UK which is sometimes used as a reference.
    – Runs for 14km similar to Railway St to Miramar with
    – Fewer stops than No 2 bus route
    – 10km of track is separated from roads beside a rail line

    yet only averages 23kph over journey which implies that city street design has a big impact on its operation

  15. David – 1 There would be a set of traffic lights and pedestrian crossings at Alfred St, directly opposite McDonalds. Cars and buses can rejoin traffic in either direction form there.
    2 – Enough road space for light rail and cars? Yes, we believe so. Gradients ok? Yes, carefully managed so as to work with accepted international standards

  16. Stephen Avatar

    Pardon for being picky Guy but

    when you say “Enough road space for light rail and cars? Yes, we believe so”, I wouldn’t have though “believe so” is adequate for such a major construct – it is or it isnt.

    also – when you say “Gradients ok? Yes, carefully managed so as to work with accepted international standards” this only means the light rail can navigate through the road – it doesnt comment on whether it impacts the journey speed through this section creating a choak point.

  17. NZTA advise that their State Highway standards are 3.5m width for lanes. We have achieved that on the SH1 route East to West. We have asked NZTA to check our assumptions, and they are doing that.

    WCC roading standards however permit / expect only 3.2m lane width, and we have used that for the route North to South ie through Sussex St. Cars can drive on gradients significantly steeper than light rail, so as long as the route is suitable for light rail, it will be more than capable of taking cars.

    The width on Sussex St is tight, but doable. 4 lanes of 3.2m wide each is achievable. NZTA are running the scheme through their traffic model to see how the timings stack up. At this stage, we do not see there being a choke point.

  18. insider Avatar

    You don’t seem to have accounted for footpaths on Sussex St. Yes there is a dotted blue line but when you look at that line superimposed over the rugby St footpath it is clearly not a realistic representation of a proper path width. Is this due to the image not accurately mapping the widths?

    I used a ruler on my computer screen (best i could do sorry) and got about 15m road width from basin fence to west outer footpath edge. That leaves well under 1.5m at 3.5m lanes -i just cant believe you are seriously considering scrimping on lane widths on such an arterial, I’d have thought you’d have gone for a bit more than the minimum wcc standard. That’s less than a foot clearance between vehicles if you have a 2.7m wide light rail carriage in the pt lane and not much more for a bus. Most major council roads appear a bit wider. Is ‘doable’ really good enough?

    And are you really proposing >10k vehicles a day have the basin fence as their eastern road edge with no buffer as a safe design? Looks to me that you might have to take the front off a few buildings in Sussex St…how much will that cost?

    Also in losing the eastern footpath that is another loss of utility, especially for people wanting to go around the ground, say from gate to gate on match days or wanting to access the Vance stand from newtown.

  19. Insider – no, don’t go scaling off a drawing on a computer screen! Measurements will be wrong.

  20. David Stevens Avatar
    David Stevens

    Guy – your comment #17 above – are NZTA taking Option X proposal seriously? The formal feedback to NZTA on the whole Cobham Drive to Buckle Street improvements is due on 26th August. Is the Architectural Centre making a formal submission for Option X?

  21. Yes, we most certainly will be making a submission – advocating Option X. We would also like it if many other people feel the same way. It is only by public pressure that they will be able to seriously consider it.

    Are they taking it seriously? We believe they are – I think they know that the public are far keener on a tunnel / trench than a overpass – and so they have been offering assistance to test its feasibility.

  22. insider Avatar


    I used the wcc gis mapping tool and their scale with the cadastral overlaid on a sat image. I used a more accurate ruler today and am upping my estimate to 16m, but I realized the western footpath is about 3m wide so the numbers look worse, given it was already a tight squeeze. Are you planning to reduce the path width? you’ve not provided any measurements that contradict. Have you actually done any?

  23. David Stevens Avatar
    David Stevens

    Hi Guy – a couple more questions – apologies if I’ve missed the answers in earlier discussions :-

    1. Is the tunnel under the Memorial Park three lanes? I note that there are two lanes on SH1 from the Mt Vic tunnel, plus just prior to the Memorial Park tunnel there is traffic feeding onto SH1 Westbound from both Kent Terace and Adelaide Road/Sussex Street.

    2. Is it proposed that traffic from Adelaide Road to Tory St would be via Rugby and Tasman Streets?

    Also regarding comments above, the Sussex St stretch does look very tight for two lanes of cars, two of public transport plus foot and cycle paths. Although the Basin Reserve can be a throughway for much of the time, it is closed for events and indeed I think WCC has started closing it at night recently (?), so a viable route around the outside is required.


  24. Insider – yes, and I’ll get back to you on those. It is tight – but we believe workable.

  25. David – 1. probably only 2 all the way through, but a 3rd lane leading in from Sussex could be either merged or continued thru…
    2. Yes, that would make sense. The WCC (and us) are keen that Tasman/Tory become a primary route for pedestrians and cyclists (rather than the Basin) so there may not be much encouraging of traffic through there though.
    3. If this was adopted, problems like a closed gate (able to be reopened) would be minimal. We’re concentrating on the bigger things…

  26. Peter789 Avatar

    While we are throwing ideas around… I too was wondering about the width of Sussex St and being able to carry 4 lanes effectively. How about separating the public transport and have it going on Hania St, then underneath SH1 on Patterson St (would have to be raised to accommodate an underpass), and bus stops by/near the schools. So PT both directions would go on the eastern side, Dufferin St, of the basin, and other N-S traffic both directions would go on the western side, Sussex St, which could stay as 3 lanes (2 northbound). Perhaps that would be a better route for future light rail. Maybe a bit tricky separating and combining traffic on Kent and Adelaide. So the SE zone would only having PT and local access.

  27. Eric Wolff Avatar
    Eric Wolff

    When Option X was first mentioned in the news I thought it would go nowhere as the roading agency had already had its mind made up. It gave its options in a straw poll. They had only one real plan, and were going to ignore the other supposed plan they showed in their poll. There was no way they were going to listen to any other ides, especially if not their own. I never actually looked at Option X for that reason. About a year or so ago I came up with what I thought was a logical alternative to flyover idea. It would solve a lot of problems and seemed pretty logical to me. I’ve just read that Option X is now going to be looked at as an option, and have just looked at it in detail. Guess what, it’s almost what I drew up. I sincerely hope that Option X is given the light of day and will seen as the logical plan to proceed with. The flyover is a monument to short sighted and typically 1950’s road planning that is now considered well out of date.

  28. Thanks for the comment Eric – glad you like Option X. Sorry you didn’t come across it earlier. Not sure where you read that Option X is going to be relooked at – I haven’t read that yet.

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