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NZ Transport Agency slammed for "bizarre" flyover plans

MEDIA RELEASE - 2 June 2011

NZ Transport Agency slammed for "bizarre" flyover plans

The NZ Transport Agency has been condemned for its choice to only consult on flyover options for the Basin Reserve. According to Kent Duston, Convener of the Save The Basin Reserve Campaign, the decision is "bizarre" and flies in the face of rational transport planning.

According to Mr Duston, the consultation process - due to begin in a few weeks time - will descend into a farcical debate about how far away the flyover should be from the Basin Reserve, instead of being an opportunity to explore the best possible options for the heritage precinct.

"The decision to consult only on the flyover options is an insult to the intelligence of Wellingtonians", said Mr Duston. "It's clear that there are choices to be made between cut-and-cover, tunnels, at-grade and flyover designs, and for the NZ Transport Agency to take alternative approaches off the table before consultation even starts smacks of paternalistic arrogance."

Mr Duston said that the choice presented by NZTA - either a flyover, or alternatively a flyover - was no choice at all. "From a commonsense point of view, we should be looking at the costs and benefits of all the available solutions. For instance, the cut-and-cover design from the Architecture Centre has much better urban design outcomes, while the at-grade solution proposed by Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown would appear to deliver 90% of the benefits of a flyover at 10% of the cost."

"There are very clear issues with a flyover, not least how it will perform in an earthquake, the ever-increasing costs of building it, and the impact of noise and vehicle pollution on the Basin Reserve", said Mr Duston. "There is also the open question about why a hugely-expensive flyover is needed when congestion has not risen as predicted, and traffic levels on the highway network fell 2% last year."

"The Basin Reserve is a heritage-listed precinct with immense cultural and sporting value", said Mr Duston. "The NZ Transport Agency should be condemned for its high-handed and arrogant assumption that a flyover is the only possible solution. It should be having a constructive conversation with Wellington rather than trying to shove this appalling project down our throats."


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