Residents anger at Links Ave cul-de-sac trial

Links Ave resident Teri Logie is just one of hundreds of people to oppose the idea. Photo. John Borren.

A group of Mount Maunganui residents are frustrated at a lack of consultation regarding controversial plans to trial a cul-de-sac on Links Avenue.

The trial period, which begins Monday, is set to last five weeks with a review in December.

Tauranga City Council says it’s necessary to improve safety for pedestrians along the route, especially schoolchildren.

Links Ave will be closed as a thoroughfare for general traffic throughout the duration of the trial, with traffic cameras in operation to enforce compliance. Buses, emergency services and rubbish trucks will still have access.

“We can’t afford to delay action any further,” says Tauranga City Council commission chair Anne Tolley. 

“While nothing changes, schoolchildren are at risk every single day. What we’re doing now will test the effect of the cul-de-sac option, both on Links Avenue and on the surrounding road network, so that further discussion on a long-term solution for Links Ave is well-informed.”

In June, council stated that consultation with local residents and wider community would take place “before any changes to the road layout are made”.

However, with the trial commencement just days away, the suggestion is that did not happen.

Teri Logie, who created a Facebook group opposing the proposed changes, lives less than 100 metres away from where the cul-de-sac will be installed at the Ascot Road turn-off.

“We just want to be consulted,” she says.

“There was a mailbox drop about a week ago and that was it. That was the first time we knew what we were fighting. You can’t petition against something if they haven’t said what it actually is.”

That viewpoint is supported by the Arataki Community Liaison Group, a working group established with Council to help provide feedback from the community.

A group spokesperson says several options for improving safety on Links Ave were presented by Council staff at a meeting on February 2.

The cul-de-sac was discussed but, according to ACLG, dismissed.

They were then informed by Council staff and commissioners in a meeting on Monday, November 1, that the cul-de-sac trial would be starting just over a fortnight later.

“This was the first time we heard that a cul-de-sac trial would be going ahead,” says an ACLG spokesperson.

“In no way could this meeting be considered consultation on whether the cul-de-sac proposal should proceed, as that decision had already been made.”

The road is set to be trialled as a cul-de-sac from Monday. Photo. John Borren.

Tauranga City Council director of transport Brendan Bisley says original plans on engaging with the community were disrupted by Covid-19 restrictions.

He says the trial period needed to be implemented before the end of this school year in order for long-term safety improvement decisions to be made for early-2022.

“The trial period is part of the initial consultation so that we can get real time feedback from residents and the transport network,” says Brendan.

“This initial trial and consultation will test the safety impacts of the cul-de-sac on alternative transport users, residents and pedestrians, importantly school students. It will also test the impact on the wider transport network.”

Brendan says this trial, alongside consultation, will inform future decision making.

“We look forward to consulting with the community on options before making decisions on permanent solutions for Links Avenue.”

Papamoa Residents and Ratepayers Association chairman Philip Brown believes there is currently a “happy balance” to the traffic situation and the trial will cause “chaos” along other routes, namely Oceanbeach Road and Maunganui Road. He has received hundreds of complaints about the upcoming trial.

“When this idea was first floated around Council said before they do anything they would consult with the residents,” says Philip.

“They have not consulted one bit. It is just breaking promises.”

But Ivan, another Links Ave resident, was keen to point out this is a bigger issue than just inconvenience. He believes the cul-de-sac does not sufficiently address safety. He echoes a larger sentiment that the removal of the bus lane on Links Ave would be a preferred option whilst not piling extra traffic pressure on other arterial roads.

“The issue is about the safety of the kids,” says Ivan, who has school-aged children who use the road daily.

“The problem is the buses, so council is actually doing nothing about the safety. Nothing is going to change with this cul-de-sac.”

Brendan says the bus lane can’t be removed due to the high number of school students that rely on the bus service and due to Links Ave being identified by Tauranga City Council key, Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Waka Kotahi as a key route for public transport, cyclists and pedestrians.

“Removing the bus lane may seem like an obvious way to improve safety,” says Brendan.

“However, that would still leave 5500 cars a day travelling along what was designed to be a residential street and leave buses unable to transport school children and community members on a consistent schedule.”




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6 Comments

Hmmm

Posted on 15-11-2021 12:47 | By Let's get real

Drove along Links Avenue this morning, along with a number of other cars. Just a few plastic bollards on the road to navigate around.

dont let them.

Posted on 13-11-2021 09:45 | By hexsayer

who are they to tell us anything like they rule over us? just remember we pay them not the other way around. more of us than there are beurocrats like these fools in council and they arent serving us as they should.

Tom Ranger

Posted on 12-11-2021 21:06 | By Tom Ranger

When I hear the word "Trial" come from this lot...I picture a dodgy door to door salesman who has just shoved his foot in the door to stop me from slamming it in their face! If they weren’t paid so much to screw us over like they do.. I’d wonder how they slept at night.

Doesn't make sense

Posted on 12-11-2021 18:35 | By Let's get real

We’re going to have a part-time bus lane in Cameron Rd for peak time traffic but we’re being told that a perfectly safe road needs to be blocked off permanently, even when the major hazard is safe in the classroom. The kids are the problem, not the traffic. Just how many collisions involving children have there been...? I don’t believe that a school of 800 kids, many of whom are picked up or travel by designated bus services, really warrants a road closure for more than an hour at each end of a school day.

Trial

Posted on 12-11-2021 13:04 | By waiknot

There’s no denying that the new bus lane on Links Ave has compounded problems on Links Ave. Get the trial completed then community needs to happen. My question is the timing of the trial, a lot of the school traffic is almost over for the year

Consultation

Posted on 12-11-2021 12:39 | By Kancho

Is a word often used by government and councils and all sorts . understanding consultation definitely doesn’t mean agreement. We have consulted is the phrase used before they continue to do whatever they want as if it meant consensus but it only means we told you so

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