Our city is growing fast. 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. We need to reduce the need for people to use single occupancy vehicles and make it more attractive to travel by bus, walk or cycle.
We know there are lots of challenges for people travelling in this area. Over the years, there have been many studies carried out on this route, with valuable feedback provided by the community.
Council now has an opportunity to seek funding from Government to improve transport in this area. We will be using these past studies and feedback to help guide us to look at different options. We’re working with our regional and central Government partners, local residential and business communities and mana whenua on a business case to identify what changes need to be made to the route. The future starts now, but it’s going to take time.
Enabling growth in Tauranga Building our future. Cameron Road, Te Papa
What area are we looking at?
Our study area for the business case is the corridor including Fifteenth Avenue and Turret Road through to Welcome Bay Road.
Why we need this investment
There is a need to invest in transport improvements in the Welcome Bay area because there is:
- High reliance on private vehicles for journeys to work and education
- Unappealing walking, cycling and public transport choices
- Limited routes across the harbour, and a growing population that is creating more peak time congestion
- Need to address the wider housing supply issue for the Bay of Plenty
- A need to comply with NZ Government’s Emissions Reduction Plan and targets
The purpose of this Business Case is to develop a long-term investment plan to address these issues, improve access and enhance the place, amenity, and cultural values of the route.
Issues identified along the route
People have identified a wide range of issues that they experience with transport in the area.
Summary of Engagement - July 2022 (57kb pdf)
To be able to identify improvements for this area, we first need to confirm the problems we are trying to fix. These are:
- Moving people and goods – Limited routes across the Tauranga harbour, a growing population and lack of local employment, education, goods, and services has resulted in congestion at peak times. This is causing travel delays and increased carbon emissions
- Transport choice – A lack of priority and poor-quality infrastructure for active and public transport modes has resulted in car-dependent communities. This makes it difficult to achieve carbon emission and mode shift targets
- Severed communities – High traffic volumes and reduced access to and across the corridor has severed communities. This impedes access to key destinations (schools, marae, parks, and shops) and reduces social wellbeing and connectivity
What we’re trying to achieve
By investing in improvements, we are aiming for:
- Efficient access and movement - Increase the number of people in the area who are within 30 minutes of key social and economic opportunities in the morning peak hours.
- Improved choices – More people travel to school and work by walking, cycling or public transport
- Improvements in our local environment – Improved quality and amenity of our local environment and reduction in carbon emissions
- Ability to reflect Te Ao Māori and restore and build partnerships with local Hapū - Changes would allow the development of Māori land, improve access to the harbour, improve sense of community and recognise cultural links to wāhi tapu
Learn more about the transport challenges our city faces.
What are some the possible improvements?
When we start a Business Case, we consider all possible changes we could make to improve transport in the area. We know some of these might not be possible, or too expensve, but it’s important to consider a wide range of potential solutions. Some of the possible changes could include:
- Cycling and walking improvements
- Bus improvements
- Hairini Bridge and causeway improvements
- Demand management
- Intersection improvements including installing traffic lights, roundabouts
- Small scale safety improvements (such as pedestrian crossings) and speed limit changes
- Land use changes such as identifying location for a new high school and supermarket in Welcome Bay.
We have completed an initial assessment of the short-listed options, looking at benefits, costs and timeframes. Some options were ruled out because they don’t meet the project objectives or address the key transport problems for the Welcome Bay community - or would have potentially damaging environmental or community impacts. Some options are also being planned or delivered by our partner organisations, such as improvements to the bus network.
The technical team is doing some further investigations and modelling to better understand the viability of the options and when they could realistically happen, along with understanding how the different scenarios would impact the wider transport system (including SH29A).
We expect to come back to the community in the second half of 2023 for you to have your say. Once we have heard what the community think about the potential solutions, we will be in a position to seek funding from central government to make it happen.