Saturday, May 25, 2024

AT explains decision to have Eastern Busway run through Burswood

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Auckland Transport says there are numerous benefits to having the Eastern Busway run through Burswood rather than straight along Ti Rakau Drive. File image supplied

Auckland Transport (AT) is pushing back against reporting by the Times that it says doesn’t explain why it decided to have the Eastern Busway run through Burswood.

A recent story stated the Howick Local Board had provided feedback that it opposes what’s known as the Burswood diversion “on the basis of the impact on the community, significant property acquisitions, and the functional and perceptual impact of routing public transport off the main arterial route”.

The board also pointed out the potential negative ecological and environment impact the diversion will have on the coastal marine area due to reclamation for planned bridge structures.

“[We] question the utilisation of the raised crossings giving priority to the buses over general traffic.

“[We’re] concerned the impact on the flow on general traffic on Burswood drive will be unnecessarily negatively affected and could impact Ti Rakau [Drive] traffic as well.

“That negative impact on the general traffic flow may outweigh the benefit to the buses.”

The board noted feedback from the local community and businesses regarding noise, vibration and other construction impacts.

The Times’ story quoted previous statements in opposition to the Burswood diversion made by board chairperson Damian Light, when he was a candidate in the 2020 Auckland Council elections, and member David Collings.

The story also detailed a public meeting held in Burswood in 2020 at which about 100 locals voiced their opposition to the plan to have the busway run through their community.

After the story was published, AT contacted the Times to say it included no rationale behind the chosen route.

An AT document on the busway states why it will run through Burswood when earlier designs showed the project running along the centre of Ti Rakau Drive through the commercial section.

“The project team considered several alignment options and the Burswood option was selected for four key reasons:

“It significantly increases access to a rapid transit network and walking and cycling connections for nearby communities; it is safer for all modes including walking, cycling, buses and road users; it improves bus journey efficiency and reliability; and it opens up the area for future land use in line with the Government’s policies on urban development.”

The document states disruption the commercial section and of the Burswood community was evaluated as part of the decision-making process.

“The impacts on Burswood property owners and the community were evaluated as part of the decision-making process to propose the Burswood route option.

“Further impacts will be considered as part of the landowner engagement, community consultation and consenting process.

“Continuing the busway along the middle of Ti Rakau Drive through the commercial section will result in a lower quality of service for all road users.

“Efficiency and reliability of bus services will be impacted by busy intersections on Ti Rakau Drive resulting in longer journey times for everyone.

“It will require widening the road, acquisition of properties and create ongoing access issues for many businesses.

“The construction period will be longer and more disruptive including upgrades to several intersections, and the many commercial vehicle entrances and exits will become a safety concern for pedestrians and cyclists.”

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