No buses here, thanks

A photo taken by Union Road resident, Anthony Brobbel showing a car crossing the solid yellow centre line to overtake a bus parked in the proposed bus stop location. Photo: Supplied.

The new bus network in east Auckland isn’t being celebrated by everyone.

Some Union Road residents are facing two bus stops being established directly outside their properties come December 10, and they’re not happy about it.

The new bus stops are proposed outside 30 and 41 Union Road in Howick as part of the new bus network being rolled out across Auckland.

“The biggest issue with these bus stops is that they aren’t safe,” says Anthony Brobbel, whose house will directly be impacted by the proposed bus stops.

Brobbel says if the bus stops go ahead, they will be situated where there is currently ‘no parking’ lines and will force motorists to cross the road’s yellow centre line to overtake buses which have pulled over.

He says adding bus stops to a road that already has issues with people speeding, and experiences significant traffic back-log during peak times is a dangerous move.

“Using Google maps to measure the distance from kerb to kerb, this appears to be the narrowest point of the road,” he says.

“And with several buses stopped along this stretch of road, vehicles are crossing the solid yellow centre line to pass; it’s an inevitable accident waiting to happen.”

Brobbel also worries that when buses are stopped, motorists will have no visibility when pulling out of the Union Road shops and neighbouring driveways.

Despite his prompt and detailed objection letter, Brobbel says he waited weeks for a response before receiving a response that “danced around the safety concerns”.

He says the letter also mistakenly referred to Dannemora Drive instead of Union Road.

Brobbel says he was also shocked to see a bus using the proposed location as a bus stop before the consultation period had ended.

“They are asking for these submissions under the illusion that we have a fair say and we have fair opportunity to object,” he says.

Auckland Transport (AT) spokesperson James Ireland says bus drivers are not allowed to stop in the proposed bus stop location before a bus stop infrastructure is established and this matter will be taken up with the bus company.

“We are definitely taking the consultation process seriously. We don’t want people to be unhappy with the new bus network,” he says.

Ireland says all decision relating to the location of new bus stops is reviewed by qualified and experienced road safety experts before ratification.

“A statutory committee established in every local government jurisdiction responsible for making sure that only safe and legally compliant modifications are made in the road corridor.”

“We admit that a driver could be hemmed in by the yellow centre line and would have to wait until bus moved again, this could result in a minor delay for the driver. As a transport agency we need to balance this minor inconvenience versus the wider benefits of the project,” he says.

Ireland says bus stops also have different considerations to the considerations for ‘no stopping’ lines.

“Buses only stop for a short time a couple times in an hour.  Buses do not sit in place like a parked car and all access is on the footpath side unlike in a car.”

Brobbel says he is disappointed with AT’s response and feels they are dismissing the safety concerns.

“You only have to listen to road safety campaigns to know that anything can happen in a few seconds. If AT and the police are actively advertising that, then telling me the buses will only be stopped for 20-30 seconds is not justification to proceed,”

The new east Auckland Bus network will be rolled out on December 10, 2017.