The Save the Basin Campaign has said that aspects of the new Wellington transport plans unveiled today “feel like a slap in the face of the new Government”.
Several of the new “scenarios” for Wellington transport unveiled today by Let’s Get Wellington Moving (LGWM) – made up of the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA), Greater Wellington (GW) and Wellington City Council (WCC) – show that a version of the failed Basin Reserve flyover project (known as the Basin Bridge) remains on the table.
“NZTA’s Basin Reserve flyover project was an utter failure, and was rightly rejected by the courts,” said Save the Basin spokesperson Tim Jones. “LGWM and especially NZTA know people don’t want this failed flyover plan, yet here they go again!”
“It seems LGWM has learned nothing from NZTA’s track record of defeat,” said Mr Jones. “Have the last two years of ‘engagement exercises’ been a sham? What’s the point of putting us through all that malarkey only to come up with the same old, tired, motorway-dominated proposals?”
“These plans will not get Wellington moving. The induced demand of a road-first approach will just make traffic chaos throughout the city worse. We need to create viable transport alternatives to reduce dependence on private cars, and make travel easier and safer for the people who really need to use the roads.”
Mr Jones said that many other aspects of the new scenarios felt like a deliberate slap in the face of the new Government.
“The attempts to factor in the new Government’s aims of reducing carbon emissions and become a carbon neutral economy by 2050 are pathetic. There appears to be no attempt to take into account the new Government’s transport priorities. These scenarios look like they were drawn up by the National Party and rushed out at the end of the year to try to sneak them under the radar.”
In the 2014 Basin Bridge Board of Inquiry decision rejecting the previous flyover proposal, NZTA was taken to task for the many deficiencies in its consultation process. Mr Jones said the timing of the current round of consultation showed LGWM hasn’t learned from NZTA’s failures.
“LGWM has chosen to run a crucial consultation phase from now till mid-December, when people are caught up in the pre-Xmas rush,” said Mr Jones. “That looks a lot like a cynical attempt to minimise public input.”
“When and if LGWM provides a meaningful level of detail about their plans,” Mr Jones concluded, “Save the Basin will be able to decide if any of these scenarios are worth further consideration. Right now, it looks like LGWM needs to go back to the drawing board.”