Tauranga City Council, the Sustainable Business Network and the Bayfair Underpass Alliance have formally requested that the Board of the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) agrees to the establishment of a working party to urgently review and find cost-effective solutions to issues relating to the B2B link project.
That follows a public meeting on Monday, 23 September, where there was unanimous agreement that the Baylink project should be paused to allow meaningful collaboration with the community on a design that will work for Tauranga in the future. One of the key focuses of that process would be to review and resolve any issues preventing the retention of an underpass at Bayfair.
The proposed working party would comprise representatives of NZTA, Tauranga City Council, Bay of Plenty Regional Council, tangata whenua and key stakeholders, including the Sustainable Business Network and the Underpass Alliance.
Key issues identified by individuals and organisations attending Monday night’s meeting included:
- a concern that NZTA’s proposed crossing at the Maunganui Road/Girven Road roundabout would require pedestrians, cyclists and people on scooters and mobility scooters to negotiate four sets of light-controlled crossings
- that the light-controlled Bayfair roundabout would seriously impede traffic flows through an already congested intersection
- that the failure to provide a ‘grade-separated’ crossing, such as the existing Bayfair underpass NZTA has marked for demolition, will create safety issues for all users
- that NZTA’s proposed grade-separated solution (an underpass or overbridge north of Concord Ave) would require approximately a 4km detour for users wanting to cross from the Owens/Matapihi Road intersection to the Bayfair entrance and back.
The request also points out that the removal of the existing underpass at Bayfair will undermine the council’s efforts to encourage a shift away from private vehicles to other transport modes, and does not comply with the Government’s Policy Statement for Transport.
The organisations requesting the review are hopeful that NZTA will take-up the opportunity to “demonstrate its commitment to working with communities to find optimum solutions”.
A copy of their letter to NZTA Board Chair, Sir Brian Roche