Welcome Bay Lane was reopened to cars on Sunday 24 November. 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.
The improvements have been audited by an independent safety consultant in collaboration with 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 is now 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.
What are the safety issues?
Bottom of Welcome Bay Lane – vehicles entering Welcome Bay Lane at high speed and some drivers not indicating were the key contributors to safety concerns. This created a significant safety risk for cyclists.
Top of Welcome Bay Lane – drivers exiting the lane at speed and not being aware of other motorists attempting to access Greenwood Park Village.
Developing a solution for the Welcome Bay Lane
The mayor and councillors directed an independent review be undertaken to look specifically at what could be done in the short-term to re-open Welcome Bay Lane, as well as seeking recommendations to further ease congestion on Welcome Bay Road. The results of this review, undertaken by Aurecon, were presented to Council on Tuesday, 14 May during the Projects, Services and Operations Committee meeting. In short, the mayor and councillors agreed to pursue reopening of Welcome Bay Lane as long as the discussion with Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency about funding was progressed.
The agenda and reviews of the council meeting
Media release summarising recommendations and next steps
Summary - Tauranga City Council Transport Modelling (4mb pdf)
Full Report - Tauranga City Council Transport Modelling (5mb pdf)