Welcome Bay Lane to open this weekend

The lane was closed for safety concerns.

Welcome Bay Lane will be reopened to cars this Sunday.

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.
Welcome Bay Ward Councillor Bill Grainger is committed to this project.

“The majority of the community wanted this lane reopened, so I am very pleased to see it opening to cars again after it was closed for so long. It will not be the silver bullet, but it will hopefully contribute to improved safety and better traffic flow on this part of our network.”

Bill proposed a design where cyclists would be diverted off the road for the section that conflicted with the Welcome Bay Lane opening, but that option was discounted as it did not comply with the national guidelines for cyclists’ safety.

Subsequently, the mayor and councillors unanimously decided to work with the safest solution presented by Aurecon, an independent consultancy firm.

The improvements have been audited by an independent safety consultant in collaboration with Tauranga City 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 will now be 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, says a statement from Tauranga City Council.

“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.”

Safety measures

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.




9 Comments

Corwen

Posted on 21-11-2019 16:07 | By Tom Ranger

That would be a good solution. The Hairini slip lane currently restricited to stupid busses only should be open for general use. Some people are floating the law and using it anyway. We should all organise a protest event and pack it full of vehicles. The Hairini bridge should be made two lanes. The bus lane should be extended so we have 3 lanes approaching the bridge. The answer to trafiic congestion to our council is to give us less lanes to use and put up a sign...Expect heavy traffic at peak times...give me a break.

Eric Bantona

Posted on 21-11-2019 10:40 | By Tom Ranger

Safety railing directing cyclists to use the off-road path or swerve in front of cars should do it. Corwens on the right track i believe.

Corwen

Posted on 20-11-2019 10:23 | By Corwen

So left turning traffic that are not on a give way or stop sign have to give way to cyclists that are proceeding straight ahead?????? If they use the tunnel, they still have to cross a traffic lane with cars, trucks etc on the other side of the underpass to get into the cycle lane???? Why not just ban cyclists from using the underpass and make them go up to Welcome Bay roundabout (all controlled intersections) and down Hairini Road to Turret Road????

Potentially more dangerous

Posted on 20-11-2019 08:41 | By Scoop

Now that the new layout has been finished a new danger has emerged. Traffic not taking the slip lane and taking the inside lane, past the new slip lane entrance, during peak times when the outside lane is stacked actually have to drive over the bike lane due to the narrowing of the road and the installation of the small island on the outside of the right hand lane. Previously there was room for both the bikes and for cars to operate without having to cross into each others space. An accident waiting to happen? We shall wait and see.

Tom Ranger Caveman

Posted on 19-11-2019 23:47 | By Eric Bantona

I don’t know this area very well myself so can’t comment on the design but how would you force a cyclist to use the off road bit? It’s impossible. I presume they’ve just highlighted to drivers that you cannot assume that cyclists will have taken that option and therefore be vigilant still. The only way you’ll avoid the issue of cars and bicycles is by grade separation. The risk of an accident is still the same or possibly slightly lower if cyclists use this off road option.

blind Freddy could've done better

Posted on 19-11-2019 10:49 | By Nick220

What an absolute disaster. This is going to cause more accidents than the original design. Cars will virtually have to stop to get through that tight space and now there is no way to swerve around a turning car due to the dangerous island ion the middle of the road. My bet is a nose to tail in the first week. Buses will simply not be able to make the turn because its too tight. Cyclists will be in as much danger as they always have been and motorists will continue to be choked up along WB road. These "experts" need to hang their heads in shame and so does the council.

Have to Agree with Tom R

Posted on 18-11-2019 21:06 | By The Caveman

ALL cyclists should be FORCED to use the cycle lane, to cross the Welcome Bay Lane. And all four wheel+ vehicles should be using the WBL.

Tom Ranger

Posted on 18-11-2019 14:56 | By Tom Ranger

Oh and btw. Open up the Hairini Slip lane! Idiots and their stupid costly Decisions. Over it. Now motorcyclists are forced to either wait in traffic or weave in between vehicles all the way from the Welcome bay round about just to get to the incorrectly marked Bus lane(Only says Bus Lane which means motorbikes are allowed to use it-refer to the road code) to get a clear run. However then you must be very aware that Busses come whizzing down the let side. Extremely dangerous decisions being made by the TCC since forever.

Tom Ranger

Posted on 18-11-2019 14:50 | By Tom Ranger

How ridiculous. So cyclists will still be going straight through. in other words no solution was provided at all. Way to go TCC. *Slow sarcastic clapping*. All cyclists should have had to use the off-road cycle lane. End of story (I wish). Someone is going to be hurt seriously because of this decision.

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