The Save the Basin Campaign has welcomed elements of the “Let’s Get Wellington Moving” Wellington transport plans revealed last night, especially the news that light rail is to be included as a priority element of those plans.

But Save the Basin, which was one of the groups that helped defeat the 2011 Basin Reserve flyover proposal, has criticised the continued uncertainty over the future of the Basin Reserve area, and the mixed messages contained in the leaked plans.

Save the Basin Campaign spokesperson Tim Jones said “If the Dominion Post report is accurate, there are some good things in these plans. Save the Basin supports the development of a high quality, sustainable Wellington transport network, and getting on with implementing a light rail spine using an appropriate route would be a major contribution to this. So that’s great news.”

“Yet many other things in these plans aren’t so great,” Mr Jones continued. “First of all, Save the Basin has consistently supported at-grade roading changes at the Basin – that is, changes at the current street levels. But these latest plans appear to include grade separation, which means some roads going over or under others. The Dominion Post article talks in very vague terms about tunnels near the Basin, but detail is completely lacking. Save the Basin is absolutely opposed to a Basin Reserve bridge or flyover, and we cannot support any grade separation plan for the Basin that doesn’t explicitly rule out such bridges or flyovers.”

“It’s great to see that cycling would get a boost in these plans,” Mr Jones said. “But, as a group that supports walkability, we are disappointed that walking appears to have been treated, yet again, as the unwanted guest at the party.”

“But the worst thing about these proposals,” Mr Jones commented, “is that they continue to entrench the dominance of roading, by proposing to spend billions more dollars on State Highway 1. Despite the Government’s stated commitment to evidence-based decision making, this proposal appears to ignore the immense body of evidence that says that building more road capacity merely ends up putting more cars on the roads.”

“One of Let’s Get Wellington Moving’s stated objectives was to reduce Wellingtonians’ dependence on private vehicle travel,” said Mr Jones. “Where is the evidence that these proposals pay any more than lip-service to this objective? Where is any attempt to make the sharp reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that the city and the nation have already committed themselves to make?”


Tim Jones
Save the Basin Campaign Inc.