On Sunday, 24 November Welcome Bay Lane will be reopened to cars. The lane was closed in September 2018 after significant concerns about cyclists’ safety. Due to public pressure the previous mayor and councillors approved a solution to address the safety issues that would allow Welcome Bay Lane to reopen.
Welcome Bay Ward Councillor Bill Grainger is committed to this project:
“The majority of the community wanted this lane reopened, so I am very pleased to see it opening to cars again after it was closed for so long. It will not be the silver bullet, but it will hopefully contribute to improved safety and better traffic flow on this part of our network.”
Cr. Grainger had proposed a design where cyclists would be diverted off the road for the section that conflicted with the Welcome Bay Lane opening, but that option was discounted as it did not comply with the national guidelines for cyclists’ safety. Subsequently, the mayor and councillors unanimously decided to work with the safest solution presented by Aurecon, an independent consultancy firm.
The improvements have been audited by an independent safety consultant in collaboration with Tauranga City Council and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and have been specifically designed to improve safety at the entry and exit points of Welcome Bay Lane.
How to use the new road lay-out
While Welcome Bay Lane will now be open to cars, all heavy vehicles – including trucks, buses and other larger vehicles – will still need to use the signalised intersection on Welcome Bay Road.
People on bikes are advised to divert left off Welcome Bay Road and use a new shared path and safe crossing point located along Welcome Bay Lane. This will bring them back to Welcome Bay Road past the Welcome Bay Lane entry.
More confident cyclists will likely continue to use Welcome Bay Road. Motorists are reminded to indicate their intentions early and look out for cyclists when accessing Welcome Bay Lane as cyclists have right of way.
The kerb line at the entrance of Welcome Bay Lane has been built out to limit the size of vehicles that can access the lane and slow down vehicles turning into the lane. If you’re driving in a car and turning into Welcome Bay Lane please indicate, slow down and look over your left shoulder for people on bikes.
Other safety improvements include a traffic calming device known as a ‘speed cushion’ to slow vehicles prior to the cycle crossing near the entry to Welcome Bay Lane.
The Welcome Bay Lane exit to Welcome Bay Road has been upgraded to allow left-turning vehicles to more easily access Greenwood Park.