Accessible Streets for Ōtūmoetai Peninsula aims to support a shift from private vehicles to more energy efficient, low cost and active modes of transport such as walking, cycling and public transport.
Safer and easier travel options for people living on the Ōtūmoetai Peninsula are a step closer, with Tauranga City Council this week endorsing the emerging preferred option for a cycleway and improvements to public transport infrastructure.
The decision is the first stage in the Accessible Streets for Ōtūmoetai Peninsula project, which aims to support a shift from private vehicles to more energy efficient, low cost and active modes of transport such as walking, cycling and public transport in the suburbs of Ōtūmoetai, Matua, Brookfield, Bellevue and Judea.
A concept design for the cycle and bus routes will be developed over the next few months, with the community able to provide further feedback before the design is considered by Council in April 2023.
Tauranga City Council Director of Transport, Brendan Bisley, says Tauranga’s ongoing growth means it is important to build infrastructure to provide safe travel for walking and cycling, and public transport facilities that support better journeys and more reliable travel times.
“In August and September, we asked the community to tell us what they thought about the options available along each section of the identified routes and we’re pleased with the feedback we received.
“To establish the best option for each section, we considered feedback from affected residents, businesses, the community and interest groups, as well as people who cycle or catch the bus on a regular basis. This helped us to identify a preferred option, which we believe balances the needs of different users.
“The preferred option offers a balanced solution across all modes of transport – safer travel for cyclists and pedestrians, and a more efficient public transport service. However, there are compromises as well and across the peninsula, people who drive could experience an increase in travel time.”
Another key challenge for the project is the narrow road corridors to work with on the peninsula.
“For example, to physically make room for a cycleway and additional safety features, we would need to remove car parking in some streets, such as one side of Ngatai Road between Maxwells Road and the Ōtūmoetai roundabout,” says Brendan.
“In cases like this, we will continue to work with affected residents and businesses to address potential concerns.”
At this week’s Council meeting, Commissioner Stephen Selwood said ongoing, comprehensive consultation was critical to developing a design that is acceptable to the community.
“The issue with these projects is always that they require everyone to give a little, because we are trying to fit multi-modal transport systems into what has largely been a car-dominated environment.
“Inevitably there are conflicts, and we have to reconcile all of those conflicts as best we can.”
The project currently has an estimated cost of close to $64.9 million.
To see the preferred option for the project visit www.tauranga.govt.nz/accessiblestreets-otumoetai.