Tauranga is growing, and so too is the need to find new ways to keep our people connected.
The Fifteenth Avenue, Turret Road and Welcome Bay Road route links many communities and provides an alternative to the state highways across and around the harbour. As Tauranga continues to grow, this key route will become even more important.
Tauranga City Council and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency have embarked on a project to help plan for the future of this vital route. Council acknowledges there are challenges for people travelling in this area, and has received valuable feedback from the community over the years. This information will be used in the development of options and then seeking funding to deliver these improvements.
Tauranga City Council’s Director of Transport Brendan Bisley says “while we have extensive information already, we want to make sure we’ve heard all potential ideas. We will be asking the public to tell us what they think through an online survey and by meeting with a range of representative and stakeholder groups.”
“Council is keen to hear from the community about issues and opportunities within their neighbourhoods, and not just the road corridors and directly related transport issues,” says Brendan.
“Taking a neighbourhood approach to planning for the future of our roads is important. Whilst we might not be able to fix all of the issues within the constraints of this particular project, we can seek alternative ways or other funding sources. Ultimately, this provides better outcomes for our communities and creates linkages between this project and other projects and activities,” says Brendan.
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, Regional Manager System Design, Jess Andrew says for Tauranga to thrive, people need to be able to move around easily and have a range of choices about how they get to work, connect with family and friends and access services.
“We need to build a modern transport system with a mix of reliable transport options that help keep people and products moving safely,” says Jess.
This project is part of the Western Bay Transport System programme and an important next step to support growth in the Te Papa peninsula and improve public transport reliability for people travelling from Welcome Bay.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council Toi Moana, General Manager Strategy and Science, Namouta Poutasi says as a mode of travel that makes best use of available road space, public transport is critical for providing access to economic, educational and social opportunities.
“Therefore, public transport will contribute to a thriving region and Bay of Plenty Regional Council is committed to delivering this vision for our communities," says Namouta.
“These are challenges that have been decades in the making and they will take some time to fix – but we are committed to working together in order to achieve the environmentally sustainable solutions we need for our communities today, and in the future,” she says.
Brendan confirms that a priority is to reduce the need for people to use single occupancy vehicles and make it easier and safer to walk, cycle and travel by bus.
“The Urban Form and Transport Initiative gave the Western Bay partners a vision, the Western Bay of Plenty Transport System Plan has given us the 10 to 30-year programme, and it’s really pleasing to see these planning steps get underway so we can start to deliver improvements that people are wanting to see across our networks,” says Brendan.
Once the business case is completed at the end of 2022, it will be used to help seek funding from central Government, and, if successful, council can progress with detailed design, in close collaboration with mana whenua, partners, stakeholders and the community.
For more information about this project, or to take part in our survey, contact us at: Fifteenth Avenue to Welcome Bay – letstalk.tauranga.govt.nz/welcomebay.