As a slight aside from the investigation into Transmission Gully and it’s dubiously planned Link roads, I thought I would go back in time. Back, indeed, to the time of Bill Sutch, back in time to even before the current Wellington Foothills motorway was built. Long time ago, I know.
Sutch, a clever man, an economist, was once labelled as a communist by the powers-that-be, and was famously followed and wire-tapped and was, I guess, the Kim DotCom of his time, albeit immensely slimmer and not nearly as much fun at a foam party. Sutch did such un-American things as question the need for mo wrote a book(let) called Wellington: A Sick City (1962?) which is quite fascinating to read now. Obviously I can’t publish all of it, but there are some snippets of interest throughout, so I might return to it from time to time. It all seems quite relevant in regard to the Basin Bridge Board of Inquiry on at the moment, and the fact that today we have info about Electric buses plastered all over the front page and the inside pages. First up, here is the map of the motorway proposed at the time. It’s interesting to see what was proposed, and what we have now. Most of it much the same – the Basin Reserve was to have been obliterated back then with a giant cloverleaf type ramp/off-ramp, connected to the flyover. Thank goodness that we have moved so far from this now… oh, wait…

The booklet starts off with a look at the situation in the USA, which builds on information Sutch found out about the situation in the USA. I’ll leave that for now, and instead go on to a series of statements, of which I’ve highlighted some interesting bits:

That sort of sums up his general philosophy. Then comes a discussion of Wellington’s issues: Things to consider in a Town Plan. Some of the population numbers are about the right amount, some others are way off. Ohariu Valley 30,000 ? Where did that come from? But tied in with that, is a proposed rail link between Paremata and the Hutt – the PT version of the proposed link road being discussed today.

I’m intrigued with that other highlighted bit – Porirua via Ohariu through a tunnel to Aro St. Was this ever a serious proposal I wonder? Sutch was, of course, famous for meeting a Russian agent – in the Aro Valley was it?

Note in this next one, the reference to a logical conclusion of electric trains underground… the only logical conclusion really…

What I find intriguing is the writing of this booklet just before the motorway came to town. As described, most of it is correct.
Below, I think the point about Lack of Consideration is still just as valid now as then. Why do we need a motorway right to the end of the island? Where do all these people come from?

Putting the motorway through the cemetery… he describes as “…one of the craziest proposals ever made…” – and yet it happened alright, whether warranted or not.

and finally, after all this discussion, he points out the bleeding obvious: a decent Town Plan and an underground train line. Still valid…