Auckland Transport (AT) has confirmed it will go ahead with the planned westbound T2/Bus lane, which will be launched on June 30.
The T2/Bus lane will operate during the peak-travel period in the morning between Dunrobin Place and Gossamer Drive.
It’s part of a wider traffic management plan for the construction of the AMETI Eastern Busway.
A park and ride service from Lloyd Elsmore Leisure Centre and express bus services to Panmure Station are also part of the plan.
Additional measures to minimise traffic disruption include maintaining all traffic lanes during peak travel times, live monitoring and adjustments of traffic signals and carrying out more disruptive work during off-peak travel times, holiday periods and weekends where possible, AT says.
Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown, who has made clear his opposition to the proposal from the beginning, says the T2 lane is more likely to impede traffic further than ease it during the construction period.
Brown said in a public meeting he held in February that AT should at least extend the space for motorists to enter the T2/Bus lane when turning into Gossamer Drive from 50m to a minimum of 100m in length to provide safe lane changes.
He says AT refused to make these changes.
Brown is also concerned with buses and T2 vehicles having to merge into the right hand lanes in order to continue along Pakuranga Road when the T2/Bus lane stops at the intersection.
“This will create an increased risk of vehicle accidents with two streams of traffic trying to cross each other in such a short amount of space,” he says.
An AT spokesperson said the T2 lane is a temporary measure and has undergone a number of safety reviews along with consideration of feedback from community stakeholders and public meetings.
“The 50m merging distance is set at a national level, is consistent for every T2 lane in Auckland and has worked successfully on similar sections of road across the region,” he says.
“One reason for this distance is to ensure that buses and multi-occupancy vehicles are not constantly impeded and the benefits of the transit lane can be achieved. By widening the space that vehicles can merge, we are reducing the benefit of the transit lane without any additional benefits to safety.”
However some safety-related changes have been made to the original proposal including some safety posts in the middle of a short section of Pakuranga Road, the spokesperson said.
The park and ride service at Lloyd Elsmore Park will launch in late June.
Free parking with security monitoring will be available for 300 vehicles at Lloyd Elsmore Park with easy access to bus services on Pakuranga Road, including the new express shuttle service.
“We appreciate that these new travel options may not work for everyone but we need to provide options that help maximise traffic flow during this disruptive period and provide more travel choice,” says AMETI Eastern Busway programme director Duncan Humphrey.
Brown said he will continue to put pressure on AT to revise the 50m merging distance.
“Furthermore, they have said this lane is only intended as a temporary measure and will be removed once the Eastern Busway between Panmure and Pakuranga is completed. I plan to hold them to that.”
Humphrey says this temporary measure will be communicated widely to residents and has been actively consulted with local community stakeholders.