Regional councillors have penned a submission in support of the Basin Reserve flyover, albeit with some reluctance.
The council yesterday signed off its submission, which will go to an independent board of inquiry charged with deciding resource consent for the $90 million flyover.
The submission was generally supportive of the project, saying it will improve congestion, road safety and public transport journey times.
Council officers consider the potentially adverse environmental effects associated with construction to be relatively minor.
Eight councillors voted to approve the submission and two - Paul Bruce and Daran Ponter - voted against it.
But even among those who were in favour, there was reluctance to fully support the flyover.
Councillor Chris Laidlaw said he was lending his vote of support only because the flyover achieved a basic aim of the council's Ngauranga to Airport Corridor Plan, which was to separate state highway and local traffic at the Basin.
The council's submission should state that it was unhappy with the design, he said.
Councillor Judith Aitken said she was yet to be completely convinced of the flyover's benefits.
Mr Ponter said he was not against developing more highways in the region, but he was also not convinced a flyover was the best solution to Basin traffic congestion.
Mr Bruce said he was concerned the council's submission did not mention the ongoing environmental impact the flyover would have by encouraging more cars through central Wellington. "When you increase the traffic flow, that will increase congestion around the entire city."
In its submission, Greater Wellington was asking to remain closely involved in the final design of public transport stops, as well as pedestrian and cycle facilities, on the flyover to ensure the best outcomes for all modes of transport, councillor Peter Glensor said.
Wellington would be taking a "backward step" with its transport planning if it built the Basin Reserve flyover, according to a visiting environmental scientist.
Peter Newman, a professor of sustainability at Curtin University in Perth, made the comment at a Greater Wellington Regional Council meeting yesterday.
He told councillors that building the flyover 20 metres north of the Basin Reserve would simply bring more cars into central Wellington, which would be detrimental to the council's aim of encouraging more people on to public transport.
"Your studies may show that [public transport] patronage is going up, but in relation to the entire [transport] network it's actually going down."
Around the world, people were investing in cities that had encouraged cars away from their CBDs and made them more "walkable".
- © Fairfax NZ News
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