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Links Avenue cul-de-sac trial

Links Avenue sees high volumes of traffic on a daily basis.

In the past year, parents of school children using Mount Maunganui’s Links Avenue have repeatedly raised safety concerns regarding the narrow shared path and its close proximity to the traffic lane. This issue was highlighted when a student’s bike was dragged under a bus after it clipped the bike’s handlebar.

A safety review commissioned by council deemed the road layout of Links Avenue unsafe for young people with the current volume of traffic. The review identified creating a cul-de-sac as the most viable option to significantly reduce traffic, resulting in improved safety for children, by lowering speed and reducing the traffic volume by 75%.

The report’s findings were presented to the Tauranga City Council Commissioners, who instructed staff to consult with stakeholders on options including the cul-de-sac solution. Limited engagement was possible due to covid restrictions, however feedback presented a wide range of opinions, leaving council to decide on a way forward.

To this end, the Commissioners have decided to proceed with testing the effect of the cul-de-sac. This will temporarily lower any risks and allows further deliberation and discussion on options for Links Avenue to be better informed.

What does the trial mean? 

From 15 November to 17 December 2021, a temporary cul-de-sac will be in place on Links Avenue. This means no thoroughfare for general traffic for the duration, access is limited to buses, emergency services and rubbish trucks only. This cul-de-sac will be monitored by cameras to enforce these restrictions.

We understand this is a big change that will add some time to people’s journey. This time is keeping our kids safe.

Safety first: Links Avenue cul-de-sac trial

More information

More detailed communication to community groups, schools and other stakeholders will take place in the coming weeks. We will also share more details on how the trial will be assessed and next steps. 

Answers to common questions

Below you’ll find some answers to common questions. Should you not find the answer you are looking for, use the contact details below to send us your question.

Original plans on how we would engage with the community on solutions for Links Avenue were disrupted by Covid-19 restrictions earlier this year.

Due to the ongoing safety risk for children, pedestrians and cyclists using Links Avenue, council’s transport team and the Commissioners decided a trial was needed before the end of this school year - so decisions can be made for long-term safety improvements early in 2022.

The trial period is part of the initial consultation, which allows us to:

  • get real time feedback from residents and the transport network on the cul-de-sac option
  • test the safety impacts on alternative transport users, residents and pedestrians, importantly school students
  • test the impact on the wider transport network

Together, this will inform future decision making about how we can keep school children and pedestrians safe, while minimizing the impact to surrounding roading infrastructure.

We look forward to consulting with the community on options before making decisions on permanent solutions for Links Avenue.

The bus lane can’t be removed due to the high number of school students that rely on the bus service to get to and from school. The majority of the 6000 passengers on buses each week are commuting schoolkids.

Links Ave has been identified by Tauranga City Council and our key transport partners, Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Waka Kotahi as a key route for public transport, cyclists and pedestrians. This decision was made as part of the overall Transport Systems Plan developed in 2020.

Removing the bus lane may seem like an obvious way to improve safety, however that would still leave 5500 cars a day travelling along what was designed to be a residential street and leave buses unable to transport school children and community members on a consistent schedule.

There are two possible locations to put the cul-de-sac – near Ascot Road and Concord Avenue.

The Ascot location separates the school and residential functions of Links Avenue best, and is expected to provide the greatest reduction in traffic volume alongside the shared path. Should the trial prove the cul-de-sac has merit, relocation of the cul-de-sac to the Concord Avenue end of the road could be considered.

Once the cul-de-sac trial is effective, bus lane rules apply through the cul-de-sac – this means buses, emergency services, motor bikes, bicycles, and rubbish trucks can pass.

Enforcement to the cul-de-sac restrictions will be via traffic cameras and the addition of temporary barriers down the centre line. Any breaches of the restrictions will be met with a $150 traffic fine for bus lane violation.

The cul-de-sac rules of operation include:

  • Buses, waste collection trucks, emergency vehicles, motorbikes, and bicycle are allowed to enter/use the cul-de-sac. All other general traffic is restricted.
  •  For the homes within the cul-de-sac area, the following rules apply:
    • Residents will be allowed to use either end of the cul-de-sac when entering or exiting their properties.
    • Visitors are not allowed within the cul-de-sac with the exception of those with a disabled parking permit/mobility card. (please remember on-road parking within the cul-de-sac is restriction 24/7)
    • Deliveries will be allowed, however drivers/companies may receive an infringement which can be appealed.
  • The only other consideration for exemptions to use the cul-de-sac are for those who receive essential home health care support.

As this is a trial and not a permanent change, street markings will not change during the 5-week trial period.

With much reduced through-traffic and less vehicles competing for space, we anticipate vehicles are likely to naturally move further to the centre of the street.

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Timeline

  • Start of trial

    Week of 8 November
  • Trial period

    Starting 15 November
  • Mid-trial pulse check

    Week of 29 November
  • Post-trial analysis

    December to March 2022 

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Talk with a staff member

Email us at linksavenue@tauranga.govt.nz or
please phone Tauranga City Council on 07 577 7000

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