‘We don’t want another a Phoenix carpark or Greerton mess,’ say Mount Maunganui ratepayers about Tauranga City Council’s ‘Innovating Streets at the Mount’ proposal.
The July meeting of the Mount Maunganui Residents, Ratepayers and Retailers Association had presentations by a number of people including local resident Trevor Clist.
Trevor addressed Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and Tauranga City Council’s recent announcement to jointly spend $1 million on a trial that focuses on The Mall in Pilot Bay and Marine Parade from Banks Ave to Tay St.
Key features of the trial are to test a separated cruiseway along Marine Parade and Pilot Bay and improve safety and amenity at the Tay Street/Marine Parade intersection.
The project has angered some locals, who not only think it is a waste of money, but also see it as being the same one-way system and two-way cycle cruiseway already proposed and turned down in 2018.
“The plan they’re proposing is a bloody stupid idea and doesn’t make sense,” says Trevor. “None of the local residents think it’s a good idea.”
One of the reasons given for the $1 million trial on the council website was that in ‘Mount north there is a high intensity of people in cars, on bikes, on foot and other modes of transport, but there is also limited space’.
“The key thing is it’s very limited space,” says Trevor, who is clear that he and others like cyclists but doesn’t want to see The Mall dominated by a permanent cycle lane 365 days of the year “when it’s really only a perceived issue by planners and cycle people for about two months of the year”.
Another reason given was that during the lockdown, when people were asked to stay home, instead cycling increased by 277 per cent, although it’s not clear whether that figure is just for Mount Maunganui or Tauranga-wide.
“This isn’t even a valid reason,” says Trevor.
“As soon as lockdown was over, everyone was back in their cars,” says Mount Mainstreet manager Mandy Gillgren.
Trevor’s proposal is to put all the angle parking down the Pilot Bay side of The Mall. He canvassed Mount residents for their input before presenting at the public meeting.
“To have a cycle lane against the grass with cars parked in the middle of the street – there’s just not enough room,” says Trevor.
“We have to accept that maybe there’s room for a change, but the street’s quite narrow. A lot of people asked why take out 125 car parks on Marine Parade just to make an easy freeway for cyclists.”
He did his own research, measuring the street, counting carparks and working out that each parallel park can take two diagonals.
“It isn't the right place for a cycle lane. The cycle people seem to want to ride as close to the water as they can.
“For the majority of the year the streets are not jam packed with cars. To put a temporary cycle lane on Pilot Bay is very expensive. It’s only been a few years since four pedestrian crossings were installed along the street.”
Each of the pedestrian crossings has kerbing extending out into the street.
“So those kerbings either have to be ripped up or have a ramp built so cyclists can cycle up over them,” says Trevor.
“Further along The Mall, there’s a toilet block opposite Pacific Ave with a large pump station that extends out into the road. So the cycle lane has to duck around that, out into the narrow street.
“And there’s a bus stop. It doesn’t make sense to have a bus stop across two lanes of cycle lane.”
Mobility parking and the parking bays will also be affected says Trevor.
“Their idea is not safe. There’s also issues at the other end of the street where the boat park is. Cycles will be going past while boats are going in and out.
“And there’s another issue with taking out 125 car parks over near Tay St.”
“They need to do it properly and do community consultation before anything,” says Mount Mainstreet’s Mandy Gillgren.
“A lot of people here don’t want a one-way system. We don’t want members feeling ambushed as they were with Phoenix.
“There seems to be a lot of spend before there’s community consultation, they seem to do it backwards.”
Tauranga Mayor Tenby Powell says there will be “widespread engagement” to create a plan that meets everybody’s needs.
“Our aim is to make this treasured, but busy area as people-friendly and safe as possible, with better facilities for moving about and for recreation.”