Your transport advice wanted

I’ve got permission to make an oral presentation on my submission to the Wellington Regional Council’s long term regional plan next week.  So, have any of you got any suggestions on smart, erudite things I can say at my presentation? My written submission (below the jump) focused on the Basin Reserve flyover and the concept of shared space. I’ll let you know how it all went next week. has previously covered the flyover and related tunnel through Mt Victoria.

Dear Regional Councillors,

I would like to submit in opposition to the proposal in the Regional Land Transport Programme 2009-2012 to build a flyover at the Basin Reserve, and I am opposed to the flyover being listed as the number two transport priority for the region.

I live in south Wellington and work in the central city so I commute to work every day along Adelaide Road through the Basin Reserve and along Cambridge Terrace. The Basin Reserve is a picturesque public space that serves not just as an occasional national and international cricket ground but also, the rest of the time, as a walking, relaxing and meeting space for many people.

Putting a big flyover on top of the Basin Reserve will be to the detriment of all these people. But, worse, it would seem to serve no obvious purpose. It appears to be an expense way of shifting traffic congestion slightly closer to Mount Victoria, and thus necessitating a costly second tunnel that nearly no-one wants, rather than doing anything to address that congestion.

My main forms of transport to and from the city are running and cycling. I would like to see a transport plan that places greater focus on reducing the number and speed of cars on the road and making the roads around the Basin Reserve more suitable for a variety of commuters – walkers, cyclists, buses and cars to share space rather than compete for it. I’m strongly attracted to the Hans Monderman model of shared transport space where the guiding philosophy is that people behave better and safer in traffic when their traffic environment is a shared public space than they do in conventional traffic where travellers are isolated from each other by fences, regulations, signals, signs, road markings – and flyovers.

The bypass and flyover claim to be designed to move everyone from one side of the city to the other as quickly as possible. Each form of transport (walking, cycling, driving, public transport) is carefully segregated from the other so people feel justified about ignoring all other forms of commuters because, after all, the system is set up so that other people on other forms of transport shouldn’t ever be in their way. There is no wider expectation that people will be sharing their space with others.

Roads, especially hubs like the roads around the Basin Reserve, need to return to being shared public spaces. The roads feeding the Basin Reserve have become dangerous barriers that sever buildings and people from each other. Promoting public transport as well as active transport, like walking, skateboarding and cycling, is a more economically sensible, as well as healthier, safer and fairer way to resolve our transport problems than simply widening, lengthening and in this instance raising our roads.

As an alternative to the flyover I would like to see more systematic, less broken bus, cycle and walking lanes around the Basin and giving buses priority around the Basin. I would also like to see the roads around the Basin become shared spaces that integrate walkers, cyclists and drivers rather than segregate them.

I note that 79% of submitters opposed the flyover through the Ngauranga to Airport Corridor Study submission process, and would like to see the concerns of those submitters (including myself) be given greater weight in this consultation process.

I request that the committee drop this project from the Regional Land Transport Programme and that alternatives to the proposed flyover be presented by the council for public consideration.

I would like to present an oral submission in support of my written submission.

Your sincerely,

1 thought on “Your transport advice wanted

  1. I am a planning consulant so I have a reasonable amount of experience in attending hearings.

    I think one of the issues that will pop up here is how to separate high-volumes of “through traffic” from the areas that would be suitable for low-speed shared space action. I’m not quite sure how you would address that issue.

    Regarding general ways in which to get good results from a hearing, be clear in WHAT YOU WANT. Don’t go off on a long off-topic rant. Make it seem like you’re quite willing to look at compromises and that you’re a reasonable person. Look at ways in which your concerns could possible be addressed if it did go ahead (mitigation measures) and so forth.

    It is often good to say something along the lines of: “well I really do not support this, but if you guys are going to go ahead with it anyway, then you HAVE to do these things to make up for it”. Another good approach is to say “here’s another way you could fulfil your objectives here but end up with a superior result.”

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