The Eye of the Fish

Maximus
July 22, 2014

Surprise, surprise, SURPRISE: the answer is NOT a flyover!

Well, my abilities at prediction are evidently way off the mark – as noted in the previous post, the Board of Inquiry have returned their verdict, and the result is an (almost) resounding defeat for the proponents of the Flyover – the Resource Consent is declined.

I’m delighted to have been shown to be so stupidly wrong in that the Board would rubber-stamp the Flyover application – instead, in a 572 page document issued today, the decision has been to say NO to the flyover. Not unanimously however – while three of the Board agreed, one member disagreed, and the comments that McMahon makes on this shows how close the decision is / was / may still be. It is not necessarily over yet…

Already, of course, the idiots who post on Stuff without thinking are getting their ill-informed comments in:

KaingaGoodnight Wellington. Might as well scrub the plans for the runway extension too before you turn off the lights-

Louis 57what a load of rubbish! A few busybodies in Wellington decide to snarl traffic for decades to come. Wellington would not be a great city without the support of the entire country. It is NOT up to just the people who live in the city. Stupid decision!

sue62Poor decision by are farcical Board – I will be surprised if those responsible for running this 4 month long and expensive circus will get another commission. This is up there, along with declining the Hilton on the wharf, as bad decisions for Wellington.

and a reply to that from: Tough Kiwiof course they will mate, it’s just what wade brown wants just another bunch of pathetic yes men while she builds the city of her dreams, all bikes and no cars, industry, jobs. Funny how a greenie has put in so many traffic lights and controls to slow traffic down and allow cyclist (who pay nothing for the road they ride on), now it takes ten minutes longer to travel from the terrace to Courtney place, lets see 10 min * 85000 cars a day that’s about how many extra litres of fumes pumping into the atmosphere, the mind boggles.

Luckily, not all the comments are as stupid and ill-informed as those. Perhaps, in the words of David Lange, its time for a sit-down and a cup of tea. Perhaps NZTA can take a few deep breaths, ignore that itch to go back to court over this, and sit down and do some decent planning, and decent thinking, about what they do next.

minimus
22 - 07 - 14

nice for some…

Wish we could get a little bit of common sense down here.
http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/north-west/10285409/10m-rail-option-rejected-as-too-costly

$10 million!

TEN MILLION!

that’s like what? half a roundabout and a traffic light?

m-d
22 - 07 - 14

Andy Foster is not impressed – sets back public transport by at least a decade according to the quote from RNZ

Maximus
22 - 07 - 14

m-d : yes, a very noticeably pissed-off Andy Foster on the news today “There is no Plan B”
I hate to say it Andy, there is a plan X….. and a plan RR….

But seriously folks, this is a wonderful opportunity to start again. Andy, if you’re listening / watching / reading, then please don’t be despondent. The WCC was backed into a corner to accept a proposal that they did not really want, on the grounds that “there was no other option”. The one thing that the Board of Inquiry did seem to prove, fairly conclusively I thought, was that the NZTA did not actually really look at all the options. If I may be so bold as to say this, NZTA operated from the position of: the best way of getting from here to there is a straight line, a level crossing 9m high, and then trying to see if there are alternative options to compare to that. “Maybe we could try a tunnel?” That’s a very engineering way to design – and yes, an architect has a different way of thinking about a solution to that problem.

Start with looking at everything from a different point of view, that’s the only way you will get a different answer.

Maximus
22 - 07 - 14

minimus – you’re absolutely right – that decision is extraordinary. Christchurch is a big city – certainly spread out enough, and since the quakes, it is even bigger than before, spreading especially to the north. I’m sort of staggered at the lack of proper public transport down there – the proposal to try car-pooling seems ludicrous as a serious response.

Luke
22 - 07 - 14

Hi, (great blog btw), do you think this will stop the flyover ‘dead in the water’ like the dompost said or just be a rather inconvenient spanner in the works to gerry brownlee and his road building paymasters?

Maximus
23 - 07 - 14

Luke – I rarely agree with anything in the DomPost, so I’m going to keep up the tradition and disagree that this leaves the Flyover dead in the water. For a start, it is a Draft report, secondly it was a 3-1 decision, thirdly and most importantly, it was decided on a matter of law. That means it can be overturned on appeal to a higher court. No doubt, seeing as NZTA will be able to already observe the 3-1 chink in the armour, they will try to insert a sword in that chink, and then twist it open….

m-d
23 - 07 - 14

You could be right – Gerry Brownlee was on RNZ this morning – and he clearly aint singing yet… quite the opposite – he warns that there is still 20 days in the process to go (time enough for political pressure to be exerted?). He made no mention of further challenges though.

John Clarke
23 - 07 - 14

I think the flyover is dead. NZTA can only appeal on matters of law and the decision can’t be overruled by the Minister, so there’s nowhere to go, really. Which is the process working exactly as the Nats designed it.

Brownlee won’t be saying anything until the 20 days is up, because he won’t want to be seen to be insulting the Board or somehow prejudicing what may happen next in legal process. He will have been told to say nothing until NZTA figure out if they are going to appeal … and my money is on them not doing so, as there really aren’t any procedural grounds.

However that won’t stop lots of the dumber politicians (read: Andy Foster, Fran Wilde, John Key, everyone else on the National side of the House) rushing out and recycling the “Wellington is a dying city and there won’t be any investment and you’re all doomed OMG!!!!” meme until the end of time. Really looking forward to that …

Pauline
23 - 07 - 14

Thanks John and direct you to Page 458 (1630) of the report and I quote “Open space is an important natural resource particularly in a compact and vibrant city like Wellington. It is an important aspect of the Basin Reserve area and is unique. To destroy the special spatial connection as this project will would be an enduring loss”

This should stop the comment “Wellington is dying” from Key, Wilde, Foster and co!!!!!

60 MPa
23 - 07 - 14

Actually John I would say that Wilde and Foster are both fairly intelligent people – just because someone does not agree with you, they are not automatically stupid

And Max, I have given up reading any Stuff comments ever, I can feel my brain rotting anytime I try.
These are my fellow voters and I feel dirty now.

Tom
23 - 07 - 14

Yes a lot of “toy-throwing” from pro-bypass people this morning on the radio and in the Dompost “you won’t get all those bus improvements, cycle ways and anything else now because we didn’t get our way with the flyover” “It’s putting everything back 10 years” “The island-bay to city cycleway is doomed” “Nice one greenies, you’ve shot yourself in the foot” etc..

Will be interesting to see if NZTA can suck it up and make these minor improvements to the basin. “A bit of paint and tarseal” was how it was described this morning. Seeing as they just spent millions slipping another freaking lane onto the entire inner-city bypass surely they can make some minor improvements?

Anyway finally maybe NZTA will move on from the 1950s, and think a little outside the square on this… OR maybe Brownlee will slip the fly-over into the Memorial park project special-enabling-act-of-parliament thingee and hope no-one notices? Like the mysterious crèche move?

(And I may have imagined it but wasn’t the Memorial park originally planned wau back by the previous Labour government and cancelled by the incoming 2008 National government? In fit of ‘cancel-all-those-wasteful-Labour-projects-because-they-weren’t-our-ideas’ petty-ness?. Then they realised as few years back that they needed it by 2015 had to fast-track it?)

m-d
23 - 07 - 14

60MPa: “Actually John I would say that Wilde and Foster are both fairly intelligent people…”

I see you’re not including Key and Co in that evaluation?

Tom: Yes: “Plans for a memorial park were first unveiled by former prime minister Helen Clark in 2004.

About $11m was allocated to the project in 2007 and $5m was spent buying the land, previously home to a petrol station and vehicle testing centre. But funding for the project was axed in the 2009 Budget during a line-by-line review of government spending.” source: http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/7426396/80m-trench-for-central-Wellington

deepred
23 - 07 - 14

I put in my 2c worth for the live chat with Fran Wilde and Jo Newman:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/10299985/Live-Chat-Basin-Flyover

Comment From DeepRed6502

For both Fran & Jo: Isn’t the flyover controversy a symptom of over-centralised transport policy, where urban centres effectively get dictated to on transport priorities? It seems to have been the case in Auckland for years.

Jo Newman:
The Auckland example is interesting because it seems even Auckland has realised that building more roads simply increases traffic and doesn’t solve traffic congestion issues.
12:24

Fran Wilde:
No, I don’t the majority of Wellingtonians were opposed to this. As for Auckland it’s great that Aucklanders have opened up to the idea of good public transport. They seem to have been demanding roads for a long time.
12:22

Jo Newman:
I would agree with that wholeheartedly. I think there are more creative visionary options for solving such transport issues in this area and if full account had been taken of the heritage, landscape and amenity values to Wellington, a different approach might have been taken by NZTA.
12:21

k2
23 - 07 - 14

A great solution for the long term future of Wellington. The NZTA have only themselves to blame though as after undergrounding of Buckle St was greenlighted by government, the NZTA promised to properly reassess tunneling options such as Option F which had been discounted earlier as too expensive. This never happened, instead they decided to stick with Option A. All this is laid out as a reason for Board of Inquiry’s decision in the report.

As for the future, if we’re ruling out a flyover, we’re left with two options: either an at grade solution or a tunnel. My hope is that we don’t opt for another Karo Drive like fiasco and settle for the cheaper at grade option. The NZTA needs to swallow its pride, tweak Option F and other tunneling options to make them work with the WMP tunnel, and get on with building a proper solution for Wellington.

Maximus
23 - 07 - 14

k2 you are absolutely right that NZTA brought this on themselves, and that they need to swallow their pride and think of alternatives. I would say, however, that thinking does not need to be limited to: you must chose between a tunnel, at grade, or a flyover. Thats the limited thinking that NZTA got tangled up in. There are other ways to solve the problem. What is needed first, is to rip up the page with all the scribbles on, and start again with a fresh, clean, white sheet of paper, and a pencil. Oh – and an open mind.

m-d
25 - 07 - 14

I see you’ve altered the post with a breaking image of NZTA’s next proposal?!

Maximus
25 - 07 - 14

Yes… Thing is, about those flyovers, is that they breed like rabbits. You have just one little one to start, and then along comes another, and before you know it, there’s hundreds of the buggers. I’m still trying to figure out if this image is reality, or just photoshop. Do you think the roading engineers ever get to a stage with this intersection (pictured above) where they say “right lads, that’s enough now…” or do you think that it’s more likely that every time they reach a congestion point, they just add another flyover? Cos it sort of looks like the second option from where I’m sitting….