Views sought on busway’s design

An artist’s impression of the proposed Burswood station that would be constructed as part of the Eastern Busway. Image supplied

The preferred design option for the next stage of the Eastern Busway project would improve efficiency for bus passengers and increase safety for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists.

That’s among the information Auckland Transport (AT) has released to a group of Burswood residents working to stop a plan that would see the busway run through their community.

Planning and design work is under way on the next stage of the project, from Pakuranga to Botany.

The preferred route has the busway running down Ti Rakau Drive, moving left over a new bridge around the back of the Chinatown complex and onto Burswood Drive.

It then runs along the back of businesses in Torrens Road, in a straight line past Bunnings, onto Burswood Drive, and back out onto Ti Rakau Drive.

AT would need to purchase a number of homes in Burswood as part of the work and is talking to impacted home owners.

A group of locals calling themselves Burswood Resident Collective want to stop the busway from dissecting their suburb.

The group recently directed numerous questions on the issue to AT.

It received a response from AT’s integrated networks division group manager for property and planning Jane Small.

The response says the Burswood option was proposed because it would “significantly increase access to a rapid transport network and walking and cycling connections for nearby communities”.

“It would be safer for all transport modes including walking, cycling, buses and road users.

“Placing the cycleway and walkway around the back of the commercial area removes them from Ti Rakau Drive and reduces the risk of interaction between vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians and busy commercial driveways.”

Small told the group the preferred option would improve bus journey efficiency and reliability by removing the need for buses to go through five heavily congested intersections with traffic lights.

It would also reduce the impact on general traffic and a strategic freight route as well as loss of access to adjoining commercial properties.

“It would be approximately 12-18 months quicker to build,” she says.

“It would create opportunities in the area for future land use in line with policies on urban development.”

Dean Kimpton, chair of the Eastern Busway interim project alliance board, says safety, operational, and construction issues were found with the previous design, which required the widening of Ti Rakau Drive and would have seen the busway running along the middle of it.

On November 18 AT revealed the draft design of the project’s next stage and asked Aucklanders to share their views.

AT chief executive Shane Ellison says the design is being discussed with impacted property owners and consultation is sought with the wider community.

“We want to hear from east Auckland residents and businesses about how this project will support their changing transport needs given their diverse and growing community, home to an estimated 160,000 people by 2030.”

People can have their say on the draft design before December 10 online at www.easternbusway.nz.