A group advocating for a more cycle-friendly city is planning a mass rally in Mount Maunganui this weekend after councillors voted against a one-way trial for Pilot Bay.
Bike Mount spokesperson Heidi Hughes says elected members ignored the advice of their staff and the results of the council’s community consultation on the issue.
“After a community-led proposal to establish a route around the top end of the Mount township two years ago, $175,000 was set aside in the annual plan to investigate the viability of a one-way system, which would enable cyclists, scooter riders, mobility scooters and skaters of all ages access to an increasingly congested area around the end of Mount Maunganui,” she says.
“After a lengthy process to analyse traffic flows and impacts on stakeholders and amenities, the TCC transport team presented a plan to the council to run a six-month trial to make Pilot Bay and part of Adams Ave a one-way street, and provide a two-way, ‘All-Wheels Cruiseway’.”
She says councillors initially expressed reservations, but agreed to go ahead with the trial if a consultation process showed that the community was in favour.
“A public consultation was launched and showed clearly that 70 per cent of the community wanted the trial to go ahead,” says Heidi.
But at Monday’s transport committee meeting, councillors voted 6-2 to scrap the proposal.
Transport committee chair Rick Curach, who voted against the one-way trial, says there are a ‘lot of complexities’ that were raised by those who submitted against the proposal, despite these submissions being in the minority.
“The dual-lane cycleway was of a concern to many members of the committee. When you have opposing cyclists on a fairly narrow cycleway that can create some accidents. The cycleway was also planned to run between the parallel carparks and the kerb. So when mums and dads were getting their kids out of their cars, it could create risk when the cycleway is busy.”
He says here were also issues around access for boaties, and waste collection.
“The road would have had to be closed for around half an hour on a Monday morning for the rubbish trucks to go up the opposite way, because their lifting devices are on the other side of the truck.
“Fundamentally the issue was with the two-way cycleway, and I think if the cycleway had been one-way, like the road, it would have gone through.”
He says staff recommended the trial be approved, but after a couple of people spoke to it in the public forum, Rick put it to the committee to get a mover and a seconder to proceed with the trial.
“But no one was willing to either move or second the motion. Councillor Catherine Stewart then moved that it not proceed, and that was seconded and voted on.”
“So none of the committee members were brave enough to move that it proceed.”
The rally will be held this Saturday, June 16, at 1.30pm, with cyclists and people with other wheeled, non-automotive modes of transport gathering at Coronation Park, before departing for a leisurely ride around Pilot Bay.