The Basin Reserve Flyover: thoughts, comments?

If I understood cricket, this would be a witty cricket joke relevant to the flyover.

Okay.  I’m jumping in.  I’ve been reluctant, but here goes.  Right.  You ready?

Here goes.  You’re probably aware that the NZTA is proposing some crazy extensive (and expensive, I’d imagine) modifications of State Highway 1 between Karo Drive and Cobham Drive.  Among the changes, NZTA is seeking to widen Buckle Street, build a flyover north of the Basin Reserve, widen Ruahine Road and Wellington Road, and ultimately, to build a second Mt. Victoria tunnel.  That’s a lot of change.  Nestled amidst those proposals are teasing, bite-size morsels of cycle and pedestrian infrastructure.  (You know, so we roll over for belly scratches.)

We’re presently at the point in the game when NZTA is seeking public comment.  We– members of the public– have until 26 August 2011 to report our thoughts.  I recommend reviewing the NZTA pamphlet on the changes and emailing the NZTA (info@witi.co.nz) in some sort of fast and furious (furiously friendly?) manner.  Goodness knows the bit of benefit we might see as cyclists is tenuously offered.  Despite trumpeting the project as a multi-modal transport solution, the literature available online tells a bit of a different story.  Even the Mayor wants us to share our views.  So, let’s heed our fellow cyclist’s encouragement and share our thoughts.

In the name of community education, what say we also familiarize ourselves right here?

Alright, first things first.  The Flyover.  I would say, “proposed,” but from what I’ve been reading on the NZTA site, we have a choice between Flyover A or Flyover B.  The No Flyover option seems to have been tossed, although the Mayor does seem to be working on a proposal of her own.  Go Celia go.  For our purposes here– as cyclists chatting amongst each other– it behooves us to get pretty familiar with the two options and especially the possible inclusion of a proposed $8 million dollar cycling/pedestrian path.  Strangely enough, this is the only piece of the project that comes with a price tag.  Nothing else in the NZTA material makes note of the cost of the new roads, tunnels, flyover.  The NZTA also failed to include the proposed cycling/pedestrian path on the graphics and instead asks for public comment as to whether “it’s worth the additional expense” to include a cycling path on the bridge.  Hey, thanks guys!

Without the path, cyclists and pedestrians exiting the tunnel will have to descend to street level, use the pedestrian crossing at Kent Terrace and cross over 8 lanes of traffic.  It has been brought to my attention that most cyclists use Brougham Street to avoid crossing all the lanes, but here is an opportunity to increase the ease and connectivity of cycle paths.  Would it be easier for you to come out of the tunnel and make it to Karo Drive in about a minute rather than playing frogger?  You decide and tell the NZTA (again, that email is info@witi.co.nz).

Next: check out that Ruahine Road widening.  NZTA is sugar-coating the road-widening by touting its plan to include a six meter wide service road to share with pedestrians and cyclists.  The service road seems to be a concession to property owners who will find themselves facing a four lane highway.  It’s also their only way to access their houses.  So, it’s not really  a cycle path but a road that bikes can ride on.  And, um, call me a dumb dumb, but I’m not entirely sure how this is different than every other road in Wellington.  Are you?  Tell the NZTA at info@witi.co.nz.

Finally, for now, the tunnel.  It’s probably a decade out but that doesn’t mean we should ignore the options.  The NZTA is considering a 4 meter wide path for cyclists and pedestrians to improve the safety and comfort of these users in the tunnel as well as to encourage their use of this shortcut between the Eastern suburbs and the CBD.  The NZTA is considering two paths: one that is fully separated from traffic by a wall with windows and another that is separated by a safety barrier.  Hmm.  Which sounds safer and more comfortable to you?

Take a moment to lodge your thoughts with the NZTA (remember: info@witi.co.nz).  Also, consider attending the NZTA Open Days at the Basin Reserve this weekend from 10am to 4pm.  You can ask questions and give your feedback to NZTA directly.  Membership from Cycle Aware Wellington will be there on Sunday at 2pm if you’re looking to make new friends.

Finally, but importantly, please take a moment to complete the CAW survey about NZTA’s plans.  Sometimes, it’s nice to stand united behind the flexed arm of an organization.   It’s also nice to admire the muscles.  Nice muscles, CAW.

 

 

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15 thoughts on “The Basin Reserve Flyover: thoughts, comments?

  1. Bullitt

    I don’t see the need for a flyover at all. By having two lanes in each direction through the tunnel and ruahine st it would remove most of the congestion from the whole city anyway.

    The biggest thing the council could do to encourage more cyclists and walkers to use the tunnel is try to discourage motorists from tooting in it

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  2. Malcolm

    I’ve already made my submission, pretty much echoing your thoughts in this article. Hopefully a lot of other people do the same.

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    1. atom

      IIUC… the current MUP will be taken out of service. i’m not sure if it will be maintained for service access or if it will be removed entirely to widen the two lanes of MV traffic (and by making the lanes wider, entice traffic to move faster, making crashes more likely to happen and uglier when they do), but consider that info nothing but a rumor until you check with someone from NZTA.

      i’m hoping to stop by sunday… i’ve checked journeyplanner.org.nz and i don’t see any designated bicycle parking nearby… does anyone where to lock up around there?

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      1. Simon Kennett

        Yep – the old shared path would be removed to allow for lane widening (i.e. improved safety).

        4 Megan – re the access lane alongside Ruahine St (“I’m not entirely sure how this is different than every other road in Wellington. Are you?”) – It would be different in that there would be less traffic (travelling at a slower speed) than the alternatives.

        4 Nigel – NZTA have numbers for people cycling/walking the tunnel. It’s small fry, but everyone accepts that the demand is very effectively suppressed by the low LOS at present.
        People would ride south of Goa on the new facility because it would be free of buses and most other traffic. And traffic speeds are likely to be lower. Also, I suspect the right turn from Goa onto Moxham would not be that much fun. Goa will be the main exit from Hataitai.

        On a bike, the clip-on would be about 4 times faster (from Brougham to Tory). This assumes the ped crossing phasing at Kent/Cambridge favours motoring as strongly as it does now. It needs to be included in the design and budget at this stage (even if it has to wait until the second tunnel). Having cyclists on a shared path zooming down to Kent Tce is surely an accident waiting to happen?

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  3. Nigel

    I have 3 thoughts on the cycling arrangements. But first realise I haven’t cycled this route since I flatted in Hataitai in 19xx. I ride out west these days.

    1. Megan I totally agree that the exit arrangements at the western portal should deliver cyclists unimpeded onto Cambridge Tce. Not through multiple sets of traffic lights we wait at while the cars glide by. And this goes for those wanting to head up Adelaide Rd who need to be delivered at the Basin gates. We have to get on that flyover bridge with our own exit ramps to Cambridge Tce, Basin Gates and through to the Buckle St cycleway.

    2. The exit arrangements at the eastern portal would have us trying to cross Taurima St to get to/from the “service lane”. Mr NZTA!, an underpass/overpass is required here. No one is going to ride down to those Hataitai shop lights, wait, wait, wait, then cross and cycle back. Ugh, dumb.

    3. Now I need some local advice. SOMEONE who cycles Ruahine St please comment here. In my opinion, who is going to want to cycle any further south than Goa St? Surely the path of least resistance is down Moxham Ave then Hamilton Rd etc. So that service lane is not for “through” cyclists. Does anyone use this route? How many bikes go this way? People, we need some numbers here or the $8m will be used on the NZTA opening party.

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    1. Malcolm

      I cycle commute from Kilbirnie into town most days. Whilst I’ve never cycled along Ruahine St, if this new tunnel is built, I would use the new “cycleway” thing to get to work instead of going through Newtown. I currently go through Newtown because I hate the tunnel so much. If they built all this though, I’d use the cycleway rather than Moxham because of the reduced traffic/no buses, even if it is more hilly than Moxham.

      I would think that people commuting by bike from Miramar et al into town would use the “cycleway” the whole way as its leads on from the shared path running along Cobham Drive. I think a lot of people in Kilbirnie/Lyall Bay would use it too. That would then follow on to the flyover clipon (if they build the flyover, which I hope they don’t) and if dreams are free, onto cycle lanes down Taranaki St.

      I also noted the need for an undepass on Taurima St and made the comment when I made my submission to the NZTA.

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      1. Simon Kennett

        Would that be an underpass for the motor vehicles exiting at Taurima St? Or an overpass for walkers and cyclists?

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  4. I have a 50 cent coin for you – but it will cost you a dollar. Who’s in?

    My personal opinion is that we should reject the whole proposal.
    It fails to meet the needs of Wellington people and visitors; it has a negative return on investment.
    It makes us more dependent on oil when prices are rising and scarcity looms.
    It has negative public health outcomes.
    Consultation is poor.
    Our grandchildren will be paying interest on the debt.
    As proposed, it would carve off a chunk of the town belt.
    It undermines the business case for public transport.

    But if you accept the Basin Flyover is a done deal then by all means insist on a decent level of service for walkers and bikers.

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    1. Simon Kennett

      We should know shortly after election day if it’s a done deal. In the mean time, I reckon you can insist on a decent level of service even if you think/hope it might not happen. By November the ink will be dry on the plans and battling for changes is likely to be like running after a horse which bolted four months previously.

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    2. atom

      @Patrick – very well put. to follow your analogy, my concern is that they are going to take a dollar whether we like it or not, and asking if we’d like 50c in return.

      strategically, this means we have to stay focused on two points:
      1- WE DO NOT WANT THESE “IMPROVEMENTS”
      2- if they go ahead despite our opposition, then we want the best damned bicycle infrastructure that money can buy.

      they’re asking for input, so make sure that’s part of it.

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  5. James

    Assuming the ‘we don’t want it, but if it’s going ahead this is how to cater for cyclists’ position, I found out two interesting things:

    – NZTA claim there will be an over or underpass for cyclists to cross Taurima St (apparently they sketched one out but haven’t got the design right yet)

    – The bike path on the flyover is actually more likely to be on the north side than the south side. This simplifies connections east-west and linking to Kent/Cambridge Tce. Stops people congregating on the path to watch the cricket too 🙂

    These two things hinge on actually being included of course.

    The other big thing for me is to cater specifically for commuter cyclists, to achieve the possible modal shift. This means trying to get some dedicated bike paths wherever possible, not just shared ones. It also means recognising that bad crossings (lights, waiting, deviations) tempt cyclists to behave dangerously in the name of saving a few seconds. They should be trying to make the safest behaviour also the most efficient…

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  6. Pingback: Are the Basin Reserve roading proposals really worthwhile? : Cycling in Wellington

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