Responding to recent comments from people concerned about the perceived impacts of proposed roading improvements around Wellington's Basin Reserve, representatives from Greater Wellington Regional Council, Wellington City Council and NZ Transport Agency say proposals for change are not finalised and the community will get its chance to comment when planned consultation is held in 2009.
Greater Wellington Regional Council Transport Policy and Strategy Manager Jane Davis says she appreciates these people are passionate about retaining the Basin Reserve, but they are two-steps ahead of where plans are at.
“We are only just starting to consider what we could do to the road around the Basin Reserve, specifically looking at how we improve public transport connectivity across the city and revitalise the district. Our plans include the potential to create a “grand entrance” to the sports ground pulling together our core aim of strengthening public transport, walking and cycling options around the city.”
Ms Davis says in order to achieve this vision for Wellington the Basin Reserve road needs to be reconfigured. This means improving the layout around the Basin to separate east-west and north-south traffic flows and provide better flow for buses along Kent/Cambridge Terraces and Adelaide Road.
This concept for the Basin was included in full consultation on the draft Ngauranga to Airport Plan, a concept which received 67% support in a public survey carried out by independent researchers.
Greg Campbell, Wellington City Council’s acting Urban Development and Transport Director, says a proposed flyover outside the Basin would “massively cut” traffic congestion around the ground and improve the flow of public transport to and from the southern and eastern suburbs, which is at the heart of the corridor plan.
Mr Campbell rejects suggestions that traffic improvements around the Basin would put the ground at risk.
“The City Council and the Basin Reserve Trust are guardians of this internationally-renowned ground. We’re collectively working to ensure the solution for the Basin retains the look and feel of this fantastic venue. We're involving our best urban designers to help develop creative solutions that will integrate into the fabric of the city."
NZTA Wellington Regional Director Deborah Hume says that in order to provide better passenger transport facilities in the city, more space needs to be made available, which would have flow on effects for improving walking and cycling opportunities as well.
“We appreciate that this group are keen to have their say on this issue, but we are yet to have public consultation on options for the Basin Reserve. By all means, give us your point of view, but let us have a two-way conversation about this when we have finalised options to consider in the New Year.”
Ms Hume says she is aware some artists’ impressions have been prepared depicting one view of what a flyover could look like at the northern end of the Basin Reserve. She was quick to point out that these sketches would not meet the standards of the three organisations looking at these changes.
“The graphics are an interesting interpretation but not reflective of what we would consider. This type of structure would certainly not meet our design expectations and we will make it clear to whomever we do employ to design the chosen options for the road that they must be sympathetic with the surrounding area, the Basin sports ground in particular.”