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Totara Street safety upgrade

People on bikes need to be separated from heavy vehicles as much as possible when riding along Totara Street.

Totara Street is the most direct route for commuters and tourists to travel between the city and the Mount town centres. In 2019 more than 100,000 people biked along Totara Street.

Around 19,000 vehicles use Totara Street each day (daily average), with up to 4,000 of those being heavy vehicles.

We've been looking at how to make Totara Street safer for people who walk and ride while keeping the wider area functioning for freight and commuter traffic. 

While we work on a longer-term option, the council has made it legal for people to ride on the footpath. Whether you are driving, biking or walking, please look out for each other at entranceways.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts

We asked you to tell us how you currently use Totara Street and your thoughts on the proposed safety upgrades. The survey closed on Friday, 7 August 2020. We'll now take your feedback on board and make a final decision on a way forward. All going to plan, we hope to start construction in October, 2020.

Proposed safety upgrades

The council is proposing to create a walking and biking route along Totara Street that is separated as much as possible from heavy vehicles. This isn't a replacement for long-term transport planning in the Totara Street area. The future of Totara Street is fundamentally important to the Port and commercial operators. The council is looking carefully at the challenges facing the Port and heavy transport operators. These will continue to be considered in other planning studies.

The immediate safety upgrade being proposed aims to address urgent safety issues for people who ride bikes along Totara Street.

  • A 3m wide shared path will be built on the eastern side of the road (Blake Park side) between Hewletts Road and Kawaka Street.
  • There will be a new signalised crossing at each end.
  • A new two-way cycleway will be built between Kawaka Street and Rata Street on the Port side of the road.
  • The signalised crossing near Kawaka Street will connect to the cycleway.
  • The cycleway will link to a shared path that connects to Coronation Park and The Mall.
  • The crossing towards the Hewletts Road end will connect to the existing shared path that leads over the harbour bridge.

The plan will require significant upgrades to every intersection to limit potential conflicts between people and heavy vehicles. The council is working with businesses along Totara Street towards a final design. The budget is estimated at around $7 million, to be co-funded with Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency subject to agreement. We are hoping to start construction in October, 2020.

Detailed plans

These plans are subject to change as we refine the details.

Hewletts to Dominion Salt (11mb pdf) Kawaka to Coronation Park (3mb pdf)

Q&A about Totara Street safety upgrade

Conflict between people biking and heavy vehicles is one of the most significant issues. The cycle lanes on Totara Street are right next to the vehicle lanes and are below recommended standards (ranging between 1m and 1.2m). Truck drivers have blind spots to their left, and immediately in front of their vehicle which makes it very difficult to see cyclists close to the truck when they are turning.

(Graphic source: Cycling Action Network of New Zealand)

Cycle detector loops along Totara Street show that more than 100,000 bike trips were made in 2019. While many people bike to get to work in the morning and afternoon peaks, a large number of people use the route during off peak periods and weekends. Port operations and trucks frequent the area 24 hours, 7 days per week.

The council is proposing to build a 3m wide shared path between Hewletts Road and Kawaka Street to create a walking and biking route that is separated from heavy vehicles on the road.

  • The path will be on the eastern side of the road (Blake Park side) between Hewletts Road and Kawaka Street.
  • There will be a new signalised crossing at each end.
  • A new two-way cycleway will be built between Kawaka Street and Rata Street on the Port side of the road.
  • The siganlised crossing near Kawaka Street will connect to the cycleway.
  • The cycleway will link to a shared path that connects to Coronation Park and The Mall.
  • The crossing towards the Hewletts Road end will connect to the existing path that leads over the harbour bridge.

The completed project will offer a safer biking connection between Mount Maunganui to the Harbour Bridge, which provides people with cycling access to the city centre and Otumoetai.

The goal is to reduce conflict between large heavy vehicles and people who are biking or walking. On the Port side of the road there are 26 heavy commercial driveways, whereas there are six on the eastern side. This means we have fewer truck entranceways that we need to manage.

We are working closely with those individual businesses between Hewletts Road and Kawaka Street where large trucks regularly drive in and out of entranceways.

We will be putting in additional measures to ensure that everyone riding, walking and driving are aware of each other at entranceways. This includes creating a low speed environment with judder bars at the entranceways and setting the crossing of the driveway as far back as possible (3-4m) to enable trucks to see people approaching. This is particularly important given the blind zone of large trucks.

We're also working on a trial of some warning lights that would alert truck drivers whenever people approach one of the entrances that is most frequently used by heavy vehicles.

People on the shared path will have right-of-way but everyone should look out for each other at entranceways whether driving, biking or walking.

There will be some changes to the available space when the shared path is built. We are working with locals to minimise the impact on their businesses.

Yes, we will need to remove at least one tree at the corner of Triton and Totara to make space for the shared path. New planting will enhance this area as part of the project.

We’re proposing to build a two-way cycleway along the Port side of the road. There’s more space on the Port side, there are no driveways for the cycleway to come into conflict with, and there will be no impact on parking that is important for retailers between Matai and Rata Street. A new signalised crossing will get people safely over to the Port side of the road.

We will need to make some changes where the shared path arrives at the Rata Street intersection because some high voltage power poles limit the available space. It’s likely that the left-turn lane will need to be removed.

No parking is lost under the current proposal. We have carefully considered the need for parking for local businesses. We will be moving the parking backwards and provide a shared path behind the parking.  A refuge island will be provided for people to pause before going into Nikau Crescent at the Port entrance.

Council intends to do a city-wide speed limit review. Totara Street will be considered as part of that process. Timing has not been confirmed.

The only other route connecting the Mount to the city centre is via Maunganui Road and Hewletts/SH2. It is twice the distance for someone to ride compared to the Totara Street route. Hewletts Road also has safety challenges for people on bikes, notably two roundabouts (Golf Road and Newton Street), high traffic volumes on the state highway and many busy driveways.

The council is working with Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency to maximise safety benefits while minimising the impact on state highway traffic. There are several ways to provide a safe crossing at the Hewletts Road end of the shared pathway. The preferred option is to provide a new signalised crossing on Totara Street, north of Hewletts Road. Two other options are being considered for assessment and comparison only.

The council had plans for a comprehensive safety upgrade that was originally scheduled to be built in 2019. As well as a separated cycleway, the plan included signalising a number of intersections to better support heavy vehicle movements, and widening the road to accommodate an increased flush median so that heavy vehicles could stop and turn without blocking through-traffic.

In November 2018, the council’s Transport Committee directed staff not to proceed with the upgrade. They asked staff to report back with safety options for the short term while the longer-term changes were considered in more depth. The current shared path proposal aims to urgently address immediate safety issues for people who ride bikes along Totara Street. It is not a replacement for long-term plans to address growth and traffic management in the wider area.

  • Totara Street footpath is now approved for  people to cycle on. People who ride along Totara Street are advised to share the footpath instead of riding on the road.
  • The Totara Street cycle lanes will have their official status revoked. Painted bicycle symbols will be removed but edge lines and intersection markings will remain for people who choose to ride with general traffic.

These are temporary changes to provide an immediate, safer option so people can travel by bike along Totara Street without riding alongside general traffic and heavy vehicles.

The changes apply between Hewletts Road and Kawaka Street (just north of Dominion Salt). Tauranga City Council has classified the footpath in that section as a shared path. The on-road cycle lanes between Kawaka Street and Rata Street will remain.

Signs will direct people to ride on the footpath. The footpath is 1.5m wide and needs to be shared with care and consideration for other people.

Whether you are driving, biking or walking, please be vigilant and look out for each other at entranceways.

 

 
 

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