Links Ave trial could see changes to other streets

The trial has reduced traffic volumes on Links Avenue by two thirds. Photo: John Borren/SunLive.

Data shows the controversial Links Avenue cul-de-sac is achieving the desired safety outcomes and council is looking at ways to improve traffic on the surrounding streets.

Tauranga City Council has been running the trial, that closed off the end of the Mount Maunganui street between Concord Avenue and Solway Place since March.

The cul-de-sac is formed by two bus lanes, only allowing access for buses and authorised vehicles and anyone using the lanes illegally receives a $150 fine.

Council staff presented an update on the trial at a meeting today and suggested changes to the arterial route Oceanbeach Road to improve traffic flow and safety for other road users.

Director of transport Brendan Bisley said the trial had achieved the outcomes of reducing traffic volumes close to their target of 2500 vehicle movements per day and a 'behaviour shift”.

In November 2021 the traffic count on Links Ave was 6944 vehicle movements per day in August 2022 it was 2811. Acceptable volumes of traffic for a residential street is 2500 vehicle movements per day.

'We have shown that the wider network can take that extra traffic,” said Bisley.

'But one of the things that is popping up is Oceanbeach Road, with the increase [in traffic], does have some issues.”

He said council was getting 'a lot of complaints particularly from cyclists” about the danger.

He went on to explain that Oceanbeach Road has car parking intermittently along both sides so there was a 'decent space for a cyclist”, but when they got to a parked car there was only a metre between them and the traffic.

'Cyclists are feeling really uncomfortable because you've got a large volume of traffic coming beside you.”

Cyclists are having to navigate around parked cars alongside heavy traffic on Oceanbeach Road. File photo/SunLive.

Bisley proposed morning and afternoon clearways along Oceanbeach Road between Girven Road and Golf Road during the 'weekday peaks”.

Between 7am and 9am the clearway would be on the Mount Maunganui-bound side of the road and between 4pm to 6pm it would be on the Pāpāmoa-bound side, he said.

'What that does is it allows those cyclists to have a space and there's not that squeezing every time you have a parked car.”

Bisley also suggested changes to the intersection of Oceanbeach Road and Girven Road where northbound traffic on Oceanbeach Road would give way to traffic turning into Girven Road from Oceanbeach Road.

This was to keep traffic flowing because the stop, start movement at the current T intersection 'creates tailbacks” during the evening peak, he said.

'The best way to get maximum traffic through is to keep it flowing, even if it's flowing slowly, it moves.”

A roundabout at the intersection of Girven Road and Maranui Street was also proposed.

Bisley said the proposed 'low cost changes” would 'actually help address some of the concerns that we've got with traffic flow along Oceanbeach Road”.

The proposed changes to the intersection of Oceanbeach Road and Girven Road. Photo: TCC.

He said there would be consultation with the community and directly affected residents before any of the proposed changes were presented to the commission for a decision.

Commission chair Anne Tolley said she had deliberately gone down Oceanbeach Road on her way to and from work and had seen how the cyclists use the road.

'If you're nose to tail in a long line of traffic I wouldn't like my children to be cycling,” said Tolley.

'I would be worried because they've literally got to come out around a parked car and there isn't much gap, and there's no gaps between the cars.”

She wanted staff to investigate whether public parking areas could be added to existing reserves along that stretch of road to get cars off the road, whilst preserving access to the beach.

'It might not be possible, but it would be worth having a look to see whether we could create those,” said Tolley.

Bisley said they 'can definitely look at it” and the beach was a 'very significant recreational asset” so a balance was needed to maintain access and increase safety for road users.

'If we've got better facilities that would be a good outcome.”

Commissioner Stephen Selwood said if they could create a 'no net loss or close to it” of car parking in that area that would be a 'good outcome”.

He said the 'story” explained by Bisley in the meeting needed to be 'clearly understood” by the residents.

'Because they will feel the loss of amenity by the loss of those car parks with the creation of clearways,” said Selwood.

He said the 'bi-directional” plan, so you can park on one side in the morning and the other in the evening would 'help”.

Commissioner Bill Wasley wanted to know the timing of community engagement and when a proposal would be presented to council.

Bisley said they would try to present at the same time as the Links Ave Community Panel so the commissioners could consider both things at once, which would likely be in November or December.

'Ideally it would be quite nice to understand where the community panel are going to land on Links Avenue, because I think the two are a linked outcome.”

Panel spokespeople Sophie Merwe and Dan McLean. Photo: Alisha Evans/SunLive.

The community panel has been tasked with finding a permanent solution to Links Ave's traffic and safety woes.

It is made up of 12 members of different ages and situations that live on Links Avenue or the surrounding streets, with one member from Pāpāmoa.

They have been provided with an independent facilitator and have access to any specialists or information they require.

The panel's proposal must reduce traffic, provide for the bus service and will be subject to a safety audit before the commissioners make the final decision.

The commission resolved to continue the trial until the panel presented their recommendations.

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air.

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18 comments

Gosh

Posted on 05-09-2022 18:49 | By Yadick

I'd hate to think a cyclist would have to stop on the road for heavy traffic. So inconvenient for them. If the traffic is nose to tail it likely won't be moving at 50kmh. The consultation with locals and others is just talking. Look at Links Ave 'consultation'. As for the 'low cost' option, the cost of the temporary roundabout for Omokoroa intersection springs to mind. Still, more meetings for the Commissioners means more Lattes. Enjoy your coffee's on us.


Work round

Posted on 05-09-2022 18:52 | By Kancho

So the community panel of twelve haven't come back yet but manoeuvring has started so will they listen to the community or are they lining up for doing what they want again?


take note ppl

Posted on 05-09-2022 19:02 | By hexsayer

so the trial no one wanted that only inconveniences everyday people trying to go about their lives has "achieved the desired safety outcomes" and if "council is looking at ways to improve traffic on the surrounding streets"... It only sounds like theyre saying 'we're improving traffic safety by eliminating or impeding every and any possible travel route so you cant drive anywhere at all'. the only safety that will be compromised is whoever is planning this nonsense because they need to be tried by the citizens for being self-serving traitors. Just remember we are the ones paying for it all.


Seriously!!!

Posted on 05-09-2022 19:52 | By The Professor

Why the hell is TCC and NZ as a whole bowing to pressure from minority groups!? Links Av is a ridiculous situation and the proposal for other roads is plain stupidity and an attack on the majority of road users. Instead of trying to fix things on the cheap, come up with proper solutions. Create dedicated cycle lanes and make cyclists pay for them through a bike tax. Tax a bike at sale and tax a bike annually. I'm surprised TCC aren't banning vehicles from our city.


Wait wait wait.

Posted on 05-09-2022 20:26 | By Evandor

Can't the council wait until the flyovers are completed and then measure traffic flow. It's quite simple....even the councilors should be able to work that out.


This makes my blood boil

Posted on 06-09-2022 08:17 | By waiknot

Mr Bisley has clearly not bothered to actually go to Maunganui Rd or Oceanbeach Rds on a Saturday or Sunday morning. 20 minutes to get from Golf Rd to Bayfair. As for cyclists how about banning them from Oceanbeach Rd, after all Links Ave has no traffic on it.


We consulted, sure

Posted on 06-09-2022 10:41 | By an_alias

We asked what you wanted out of the choices we think you should have and then just did what we wanted regardless of what you thought. But we got a paid panel to also look at it so it must be the right choice.


lower volume = safer outcome?

Posted on 06-09-2022 12:53 | By morepork

I thought it meant more frustration and anger at being stuck in traffic... The only true comparison of whether Links Ave is "safer" now would be analysis of the previous accidents and injuries against the current situation over an equal period. This seems to me to be a live experiment in traffic control planning that you might expect to be a student project. However, unlike such projects, it can't be stopped and you are required to be part of it.


Hmmm

Posted on 06-09-2022 13:27 | By Let's get real

Tinkering only moves a problem from one place to another. What did council believe would happen when resource consents were opened up for thousands of houses at the end of a single route area and construction of a new roading system that has taken years to become nearly finished...? Everyone that uses the roads regularly knows where the money should be spent to ease congestion, but strangely enough our "go-gettum, throw money around, out of town appointees" would rather build an empire of regularly empty spaces.


More nonsense

Posted on 06-09-2022 19:42 | By What the…?

Definitely a behaviour shift. The behaviour has shifted elsewhere.


Terrible planning!

Posted on 07-09-2022 09:02 | By jed

Tauranga council is like the little old lady who swallowed a fly. They close Links Ave, traffic gets worse on the other roads. So, now they have to 'fix' the next road, then the next, and so on. Until all the roads are closed! There was no need to close Links Ave. The entire closure is based on one single incident!


How many Failed Projects

Posted on 07-09-2022 12:11 | By Fernhill22

The list of TCC's failed projects seems to get longer by the day- 1) Links Ave-safety improvements 2) Greerton safety improvements 3) Phoenix Car Park/ Skate Park 4) Welcome Bay Underpass 5) CBD Multi- Storey Car Park 6) Cameron Road Upgrades 7) Totara Street-safety improvements I honestly can't think of a single project that TCC have delivered a successful outcome on for the taxpayer. This isn't even factoring in the project being finished on time, on budget & with a desired outcome. These so-called experts & commissioners need to be held accountable for wasting millions upon millions of taxpayers' funds.


Falling on deaf ears

Posted on 07-09-2022 20:09 | By Neiliies

Well said all of you, especially Fernhill22, Most Tauranga/Mount residents would fully agree. This has been happening well prior to the installation of these import commissioners, so perhaps we should be targeting the puppet pencil pushers making these decisions in the back offices - It would appear they are hell bent on making our commuting lives as miserable and convoluted as possible, in the effort to get us out of cars by playing the 'safety' card, but guess what, we don't all live close to where we work, where our sports events are, where our appointments are - woke idealism doesn't work in the real world, all we are left with is their messy frustrating experiments!


Agreed, Neiliies

Posted on 08-09-2022 08:09 | By Wundrin

All part of the Council's ABC campaign - Anything But Cars. I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but who is driving this stuff? (no pun intended).


If

Posted on 08-09-2022 10:58 | By Accountable

If a bus hits a child on Links Ave will Brendan Bisley and the Commissioners ban buses? That's the path logics would take us one would think!


It worked by failing

Posted on 08-09-2022 14:01 | By Jules L

Bisley said that the trial proves that it worked, but it also failed spectacularly at the same time. So which one is it? If it worked so well, why do they need to now fix it? The council's view is clear, because not one single person in Tauranga Council has any traffic engineering knowledge, and they simply can't fathom how traffic works, the only thing they can ever do is ban all traffic, to bring things down to nothing at all, which is all they can possibly understand, nothing. Once upon a time people in charge of such things were required to be qualified. If you don't beleive me, try asking Council for the credentials of their transport team, I have, they illegally refuse to reply even under the local government official information act.


@Jules L.

Posted on 09-09-2022 16:30 | By morepork

You raised a very valid point; are they unimaginative or are they just incompetent? (I hate to think they are both, but the track record is what it is...) For the Rates we pay, we have a right to competent administrators, whether they are appointed or elected. If they don't have expertise, they have to buy it and the people they buy it from must be held accountable. This current government smacks of a "student project" approach to many things, so I guess we shouldn't be surprised that Tauranga is no exception. Your point about just resetting everything to zero is very indicative of an attitude.


Living on Links Ave

Posted on 21-09-2022 18:08 | By KPM

There are residents of 500+ homes who live on or off Links Ave. The closure at Conchord for 24/7, 365 days a year for what would appear to be spurious reasons has had a major effect on the wellbeing of local ratepayers and makes no snese if this is tied to 11 years and older school children commuting. The nearly 3000 car movements per day will never be able to get any lower as Links Ave is now a 2km cul de sac for locals who have no choice if we are to leave our homes (along with School and Sports field users as well as visitors, trades and deliveries). The community consultation has been poor and objectives unknown. Please do not give Mr Bisley and Ms Tolley any more coverage talking their personal commutes and opinions - it's upsetting for Links Ave locals with no choice.


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