The Wellington Civic Trust is holding a Seminar this coming weekend on “Round About the Basin“, with a grand line-up of speakers and presentations so that everyone can have their say. The question still remains: “is anyone in power actually going to be listening?” – to which almost certainly the answer will be “lip service only.” It’s great that the Civic Trust takes it on itself to do these kind of things, although really it should be the job of the Council to talk to the people and gauge their views, and just occasionally take on their recommendations. The problem is here that its not really the Council in charge – it’s the newly pedestrian friendly Transit LTSA, NZTA in charge of the route of State Highway 1, that are so terrible at listening to the people and taking on their suggestions. Let’s hope that this time it will be different.
There will be discussions on the following things, many of which are inter-connected:
War Memorial
Adelaide Road

The main issue of course is the proposed aerial motorway onramp, euphemistically called the “flyover”. Looking something like the picture above, it was designed in the late 1950s, never built, and recently resurrected. The thinking behind should be as dead and buried as those that designed it in the first place. Sadly, it has the Mayor’s full backing, and therefore faces an uphill battle to get anything different on the table. Woe betide those who stand in the way of roller coaster of Kerry. But it seems to me, and more than a few others, to be designed on completely the wrong premise. For a start, there is a massive argument against building any more roads, as innumerable studies have shown that building more roads never solves anything. The only thing that brings a halt to traffic congestion is, well, more congestion. Building a flyover would merely move the bottleneck from point A to point B. The people at A will be ecstatic, the people at B much less so.

But let’s say, just for a moment, that the extra roading does indeed need to be built. Humour me here. Heck, humour the Mayor! The current clogging of the traffic drain is caused primarily by 2 lanes funneling into 1 lane, and each time it occurs, the traffic stops: and like turds down a blocked drain, causing unpleasant spillages over the nearby footpath or the neighbour’s driveway. So there is a great LTSA NZTA / WCC plan in action to make sure that 2 clear lanes exist all the way from the Airport to the motorway, in each direction: and tough luck if you (or your house) stands in the way. While I’m willing to bet that this full two-way will never happen, and that even if it does, it will still not unclog the traffic – but I’m on a losing streak with LTSA NZTA and so am prepared to say: Ok, what if we do have to have an extra tunnel or two? Let’s look at it graphically.
Here’s what we have at present:
Nice and simple: one tunnel right through the centre of the hill, dug out with primitive tools some 70 years ago. Trouble is, it doesn’t cope with the traffic, nor the pedestrians and cyclists: it needs to be at least twice as big. So what LTSA NZTA are proposing is this:
Aligned nicely with the existing tunnel, and scheduled to happen one day in the future – and of course, similarly half way up a slopey hill. Despite the current road being half way up a hill, apparently in future we won’t be allowed to do that – traffic must flow smoothly, like a snake. That leads the traffic engineers to think that there is only one way to get out of the tunnel, and that is via a flyover:
“There is no alternative”, they announce like a Dalek, with a similar aversion to logic (and to steps).
But we at the Fish say: “Oh, but there is!” What if you were to do this:
If you don’t start as high up, you won’t have so far to go down. That would / could look something like this:
It’s not very hard to come up with alternatives if you try. Or: it wouldn’t be hard for LTSA NZTA to come up with alternatives if they were to try. So: good luck to the Civic Trust. With a bit of luck and good management, we could seen some intransigence melting away, and a new method of resolving the Basin Reserve melt-down. Public invited as well: contact the Civic Trust for tickets.