Basin flyover will create 'crime, graffiti'

KATIE CHAPMAN
Last updated 05:00 03/05/2012
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Graffiti, crime and anti-social behaviour are likely by-products of the proposed Basin Reserve flyover, concerned residents have warned.

"A flyover anywhere in a central city can only degrade the surrounding areas ... If it conforms to the norm it will become a taggers' delight, a rubbish collection area and a refuge for the homeless," one person said in a submission to the New Zealand Transport Agency.

The concerns are revealed in a summary of community engagement on the proposed changes for the stretch of State Highway 1 from Cobham Dr to Buckle St, released by the agency last month.

The project includes two options for a proposed flyover around the Basin Reserve.

Option A is a $75 million bridge about 20 metres to the north of the Basin Reserve, while Option B would cost $90m and be 65m north of the Basin.

There were 2137 submissions on the proposals, and within those 13,000 comments were made about the flyover options.

Despite the feedback, no figures were available on how many people supported each option, Wellington State Highways manager Rod James said. The aim was to get "detailed feedback", not a vote on the options.

"Rather than running a simple poll, we asked submitters to describe to us what they liked and didn't like about the proposals. This information has proved valuable because of the strong level of detail and reasoning it provided us."

Among the concerns raised were about 300 comments on what would happen underneath a flyover, with worries it would become a "dead space" that would be "unsafe to the public".

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said those were legitimate concerns, and NZTA now had to try and come up with an option that was both "attractive and affordable".

"We have all seen some most unattractive underneaths of motorways and flyovers. It's not hard to find ugly, bad examples."

The feedback highlighted the importance of the area to Wellington, and showed that NZTA needed to be sensitive to that when making its final decisions about which option to pursue, she said.

Within the feedback, there was a clear division over why people supported Option A or B. Those that supported Option A liked it because it was cheaper.

However, the visual impact on the Basin Reserve was a main motivator for those that supported B, because they liked its greater separation from the stadium.

"Submitters who commented on the visual effects on the Basin Reserve rarely supported Option A," the report said.

Basin Reserve Trust member John Morrison, a city councillor and former test cricketer, has previously said that, if a flyover went ahead, Option B was preferred because it would have less impact on the reserve. "We have maintained throughout that [the trust's] job in life is to maintain the integrity of the Basin Reserve as an international cricket ground."

The trust was now waiting to hear how NZTA would take those concerns on board.

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The consultation also covered the realignment of Buckle St about 10 metres to the north, a second Mt Victoria Tunnel, and widening of Ruahine St.

WHAT'S NEXT?

  • Finalise preferred options, including some design work, by midyear.
  • Lodge resource consent applications for the Basin Reserve area early 2013 and the Mt Victoria Tunnel later that year.
  • These are expected to be considered by a board of inquiry.
  • Construction begins 2014-15 on the Basin Reserve area.

THE PUBLIC SAYS

  • The Option A flyover's lower price tag is the main appeal for supporters. Those living nearby were more likely to support this option because it would require less land and be further from houses.
  • Visual impact, noise and pollution for the Basin Reserve were the main issues for those who supported Option B, because it was further away from the reserve.
  • There was "widespread" support for pedestrian and cyclist facilities on both bridge options, with some submitters describing the idea as "a no-brainer".
  • Most submitters support an alternative to shifting Buckle St 10 metres north, with most suggesting a tunnel.
  • Any pedestrian and cyclist facilities through a second Mt Victoria tunnel should be separate from the traffic.
  • People generally supported widening Ruahine St for better traffic flow – but people are concerned about intersection changes.
  • There were also 1500 comments on Option X, an estimated $165m project put forward by the Architectural Centre during the consultation period, involving a "cut and cover tunnel" from Sussex St to Taranaki St.
  • NZTA has rejected this option due to the feasibility, cost and engineering issues, the report says.

Related content:

Community engagement report

- The Dominion Post

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