Tauranga City Council is widening its scope of the future site of a central city bus interchange and has agreed to spend $50,000 on looking at more options.
The decision to place a new interchange at the Elizabeth Street end of Durham Street was made after considering only on-street options, says transport planning engineer Clare Cassidy's report.
That report considered an area of the City Centre from Cameron Road to The Strand between First Avenue and Harington Street, with a number of locations discounted because of inadequate space to accommodate the required number of buses.
Other locations failed because they didn't meet key environment, customer and operational criteria – mainly there wasn't enough room.
The available street wasn't long enough or wide enough for the number of buses the regional council is indicating it needs according to the new blueprint.
The review identifies two on-street locations for a longer term bus interchange; Durham Street - between Spring Street and Elizabeth Street, and the existing location in Willow Street.
After realising the interchange wouldn't be temporarily relocated for demolition works, staff were directed to consider specific off-street locations under the new Harington Street car park building, or under the proposed Civic Campus.
Internal work to identify potential off-street locations is underway. Abley Transportation Consultants will be engaged to do the strategic work and undertake an assessment of the sites identified to determine preferred options
The investigation is brought forward from the 2018/19 financial year because the future location of the City Centre bus interchange has an impact on a number of Heart of the City projects, including the streetscape projects that are currently in concept or design stages and the new civic administration building.
“Bringing forward additional investigation work on a preferred location and format for the City Centre bus interchange to the 2017/18 financial year ensures the opportunity to combine the interchange with other projects is properly considered before options are closed out,” says Clare.
“Earlier investigation will also ensure that Heart of the City projects can be developed with the routing of buses through the City Centre and the interchange location understood, reducing the risk that costly re-designs or changes to constructed projects will be required.”
The investigation includes sites outside the CBD, but there remains a need for the central city interchange because of the changes of service. It's the connection between the Mount/Papamoa services and Tauranga suburban/CBD buses.