Wellington City Councillor Iona Pannett has rubbished all of the proposed traffic solutions for the Basin Reserve as unworkable, expensive and environmentally unsustainable.
Pannett made the claim during a live chat on dompost.co.nz about the New Zealand Transport Agency's proposal to build a $90m flyover 20 metres north of the Basin Reserve as a solution to traffic congestion.
City councillors Andy Foster and John Morrison as well as Greater Wellington regional councillor Peter Glensor also joined the live chat. See the live chat replay below.
Pannett said none of the four options considered by the agency were a suitable solution and they needed to go back to the drawing board.
''Costs around this area are blowing out; the flyover started at $27m, it is now up to $90m and counting. Higher use of public transport and basic travel demand techniques are better than more road building.''
Morrison said yelling ''no, no, no'' every time a solution was proposed was not constructive.
''We have been very concerned with this process but have negotiated a solution rather than tying ourselves to trees and yelling.''
Foster said the majority of the city council favoured sending traffic underground, and a proposal to do so via a ''cut and cover'' tunnel, known as Option X, should be considered further.
''With government's welcome commitment to underground the State Highway at Memorial Park, the Architecture Centre's 'Option X' is now if anything cheaper than NZTA's proposal.''
He also questioned whether building an $11m stand at the Basin to block spectators' views of the flyover was financially viable, given only 35,000 people attended events at the ground last year.
''Of course another stand would increase the costs ratepayers have to pay for the upkeep of the Basin beyond the current level, unless NZTA is offering to pay for ongoing maintenance as well.''
Morrison replied by saying he had been contacted by a ''well known cricket fan'' who had offered to fund maintenance of the new stand for its first ten years.
Councillors also debated whether the flyover would compliment or hinder other forms of transport.
Glensor said he was pleased to see the flyover design included a $5m pedestrian and cycleway.
''There will also be provision underneath the flyover for public transport, walkers, cyclists and maybe even hover [boarders].''
Pannett said building a flyover was not necessary to facilitate public transport. ''Spreading the peak, i.e. trying to encourage people to travel at different times, would be more effective.''
Councillors were asked whether the city was missing a valuable opportunity to develop Kent and Cambridge Terrace into boulevard by creating a visual barrier between that area and the Basin.
Foster said that was one of the reasons many people did not like the flyover as a transport solution.
''NZTA were interested in whether people supported an 'iconic' bridge or a 'slimline' bridge, which is what the proposal is. I guess everyone can judge for themselves whether they think the design is spectacular.''
- The Dominion Post
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