It was a full house at the Bucklands Beach Yacht Club last week.
Around 200 people turned up to a public meeting held by Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown to discuss Auckland Transport’s recent traffic management proposals during the AMETI/Eastern Busway construction period.
Brown says the meeting was a chance for the community to give their feedback on the proposed T2/Bus Lane and Park and Ride service from Lloyd Elsmore Park.
Representatives from Auckland Transport (AT) were in attendance to explain how the proposals would be implemented.
“Pakuranga is one of the most congested areas in New Zealand, with statistics indicating that Pakuranga Road is currently the sixth most trafficked stretch of road in the entire country,” says Brown.
Brown, who is concerned with AT’s lack of public consultation on the proposals, conducted a survey prior to the meeting which showed that 56 per cent of residents had concerns over the effectiveness of the T2/Bus Lane.
He says the most common feedback was that the T2/Bus Lane would only be beneficial when in addition to existing lanes, and not when it removes a lane from general traffic.
AT said it would be monitoring the T2/Bus Lane closely and would make changes when and if they are necessary.
The T2/Bus lane would only be implemented between Dunrobin Place in Highland Park and Gossamer Drive, AT representatives explained.
The second part will run from Johns Lane and Ti Rakau Drive if deemed necessary.
They revealed that turning bays in the T2/Bus Lane, allowing single occupant vehicles to turn left will be 50 metres long and enforced by surveillance cameras.
Brown says 50 metres is not enough space and is only going to create further issues with drivers trying to force their way into the lane at the last minutes.
Residents joined him in expressing concern that this would result in more traffic accidents.
The Park and Ride service however received more enthusiasm, Brown says.
Brown’s survey showed 76 per cent of residents were supportive of introducing a park and ride system based in Lloyd Elsmore Park, with express buses to Panmure Train Station.
“Many locals believe this would alleviate pressure on parking in Panmure and Glen Innes and give them an easier option when travelling into the city by train for work or study,” he says.
But Brown says the majority of residents are likely to continue to drive.
“We know that around 85% of Pakuranga residents drive in a single occupant vehicle to work and do so because it is more convenient for them, and a T2/Bus lane won’t change that.”
He said the meeting showed that AT was committed to these proposals and was unlikely to make change.
“AT have clearly made up their mind on these proposals and are refusing to listen to the people who know these roads best.
“I will continue to advocate on behalf of our community to ensure their concerns are heard in the hope we can keep traffic moving while we wait for the Eastern Busway and Reeves Road Flyover to be completed.”