Monday, March 05, 2007

the bypass

It's where I live--a four-lane strip of asphalt that swings around two sides of the apartment I live in, which is pretty much right on the edge of downtown Wellington, an increasingly popular neighbor called Te Aro. It's been in the works since approximately 4000 B.C. and it has finally been more-or-less completed. Homes that once stood where the highway now sits were moved to nearby sites on Willis and Cuba Streets, or now are planted next to the bypass. It was supposed to knock off approximately 9 seconds off the travel time for commuters. Due to bottlenecking and generally poor traffic patterns, the changes have actually created a 20 minute delay for some commuters. Complaints have come pouring in that buses have been running late or not showing up at all.

My theory? That when they planned the highway extension way back when, there weren't nearly as many cars on the road--after all, the wheel had yet to be invented. Te Aro, Aro Valley, and Brooklyn (that's Brooklyn, Wellington and not New York) were sparsely populated by cuddly native trees and hobbits. and then did they revise their plans after the trees were replaced with roads, houses, and automobiles and the hobbits with hipsters? No, they did not. While their plan for a bypass might've worked back in the stone age, when there were no people here, it does not work now.

The problem with the bypass is that it does not in fact bypass anything. It passes through everything. That's being generous. Many would tell you that it does not allow you to pass anything at all. Let's as Mervbert here:

"Hi, Mervbert. What do you think of the new bypass?"

"I've been waiting at this light since last Thursday. I've run out of food, my boss called to fire me for not showing up this week. I've been eating cigarettes and lint for the past three days. Please help me."

"Here's a shiny nickel. It will do you no good in this godforsaken roadwork."

"God bless you, sir."

"Now go build a bicycle."


Claire said...

Fuck the traffic engineers. You need yourself some urban planners. Or designers. Or possibly both. And you're in luck-- I need a job!

Flushy McBucketpants said...

I think the current situation is kind of fucked beyond repair. They've sunk too much money into a bad project.

Generally though, Wellington is kind of a messed up city. It was originally designed in Britain without any of the topography taken into account. Wellington is populated with a few large hills.

Also, there was an earthquake that changed the shoreline. Sections of town that used to be harbor, are now city blocks. Who knows what will happen in with the next big earthquake.