Alleviating Tauranga traffic congestion

A coordinated and holistic approach is being taken to help improve Tauranga's congestion and make it easier to get around, according to the chair of the Bay of Plenty Regional Council public transport committee.

Collaboration, says Bay of Plenty Regional Councillor Lyall Thurston, is key.

He is pleased to see Tauranga City Council discussing the issue of parking in the Tauranga CBD at a recent council meeting.

“Parking in the CBD was one of the many issues discussed at a workshop we recently hosted, where representatives from Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Tauranga City Council, Western Bay of Plenty District Council, Rotorua Lakes Council, NZ Transport Agency and Smartgrowth got together and looked at the big transport issues for the region.”

Lyall says the workshop focused on the flexible and adaptive process required so that short term public transport decisions could be made and implemented within the long term goals.

“It was great to get all parties around the table to discuss ideas, short-term operational requirements and learnings from outside the sub-region.”

This included particular public transport-focused themes such as bus lanes, cycle friendly bus improvements such as bike racks and bike parking, and increased high frequency services. 

“We also discussed issues which contribute to the broader issue of easing congestion and making it easier to get around, such as increased parking charges and reduced parking areas in the CBD, expanding zone 1 and 2 parking areas, and removing or significantly reducing free parking on the Tauranga CBD fringe.

“The Regional Council will continue to facilitate this collaborative approach to enable effective planning for our communities on public transport options that transcend our operational boundaries.”

Over the next few months the Regional Council will also facilitate community information and feedback sessions to enable the public to provide input into the Western Bay public transport blueprint.