Suggestion to de-roundabout the Basin

MICHAEL FORBES
Last updated 12:54 16/05/2014
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BIG ROUNDABOUT: An aerial view of the Basin Reserve.

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Basin Reserve Inquiry

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Wellington's world-famous Basin Reserve roundabout should be a roundabout no more, in order to accommodate the Basin flyover, the Automobile Association says.

The association has asked for a section of the roundabout to be removed if the New Zealand Transport Agency gets resource consent to build a two-lane elevated highway, 20 metres north of the historic cricket ground.

It is concerned that pedestrians and cyclists will be hit by cars as they exit the Basin to the north if the portion of roundabout is allowed to remain.

Removing it would prevent motorists from being able to do a complete loop of the ground.

The Basin roundabout was last year named as one of the world's greatest by the United Kingdom Roundabout Appreciation Society - the global authority on such matters - and featured in its "Roundabouts of the World" calendar.

That put the Basin Reserve in the same company as the treacherous 'Magic Roundabout' in Swindon, England, which is an elaborate system of six roundabouts, and the world's smelliest roundabout, in Australia, which doubles as a horse-manure stand.

In addition to building the Basin flyover, the transport agency plans to build a new pavilion at the ground's northern entrance and a new entry plaza right outside, with a single-lane raised road running through it.

Resource consent for the entire project is currently being considered at a board of inquiry hearing.

Alex Gray, who sits on the AA's Wellington council, told the hearing this morning that motorists using the raised road would be more concerned with traffic approaching the roundabout from Kent Tce rather than people on foot and bike.

"Its a safety risk for pedestrians and cyclists existing the Basin Reserve."

A safer alternative would be to remove the road and make motorists head down Cambridge Tce to perform a u-turn if they wanted to get around the Basin, he said.

The association was also concerned about a proposed pedestrian crossing on Ellice St where cars would be entering the roundabout.

The likely increase in local traffic using the roundabout meant pedestrians on the crossing would be in greater danger of being hit, Gray said.

"Every so often motorists run run lights, either intentionally or accidentally."

The association had floated the idea of replacing the street-level crossing with an underground one, but the transport agency was worried a subway could encourage crime, he said.

"We think the risk of being seriously injured or killed by a car running a red light is more serious than the risk of you getting mugged down there."

Gray said the association was very supportive of the flyover going ahead, but wanted to see its speed limit raised from 50kmh to 60kmh.

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- The Dominion Post

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