Halted projects means greater risk for cyclists
Hundreds of cyclists are putting their lives on the line to get from Mount Maunganui to Tauranga each week.
These cyclists will now have to wait longer for a safe access route after the Tauranga City Council postponed a key project to consider how to manage wider transport plans on Totara St.
Cyclist Nick Roozenburg describes Totara St as an ‘absolute deathtrap for the inexperienced.’
“That road is just too dangerous for people to try cycling. If you are one of those people who would like to give commuter cycling a go, Totara St would just put you off forever.”
Tauranga City Council strategy and growth manager Christine Jones says it’s important to pause the project, while Urban Form and Transport Initiative considers Totara St as part of the wider transport network.
She says UFTI will develop a plan based around the way Tauranga will grow. It will cover short-term urgent fixes as well as multi-decade planning.
“Totara St requires a solution that considers the wider transport network in managing freight and heavy vehicle operations, car travel, bike travel and railway operations.”
Totara Street is a nationally strategic corridor that plays a key role in serving port traffic, Christine says.
“Growth will continue to add additional pressure on this corridor with the Port of Tauranga expanding its capacity and maximising productivity.”
Bike Tauranga chairman Kevin Kerr says the cycleway has been put aside because Port of Tauranga and Kiwi Rail think that more consultation needs to happen on how Totara St is going to look for the next 20 to 30 years. He understands that and agrees that more consultation is required.
“Bike Tauranga and Greater Tauranga need to be around the table with Council, Port of Tauranga and Kiwi Rail understanding what their needs are, but they also need to understand what the needs of the community are,” he says.
Totara St is identified as a primary cycling route connecting Mt Maunganui and the CBD. The route is used by an average of 1427 commuting and recreational cyclists per week.
About 64 per cent of cyclists accessing Tauranga Harbour Bridge to and from Tauranga City Centre use Totara Street.
Bike Tauranga affiliate Shane Plummer is concerned about the size of the existing cycleway on Totara St.
“There’s no way for bicycle commuters to get to Mt Maunganui without having to use a dodgy bike lane that’s seriously dangerous. Vehicles are passing cyclists on very limited space,”
“The cycleway desperately needs to be improved for cycling because it's a key route for cycling between Tauranga and Mount Maunganui.”
Mount Maunganui resident Marion Vialle cycles on Totara St every weekday.
“On the bridge, it is quite safe because there is separation, but on Totara St, I do not feel safe at all.”
Sustainable Business Network BOP regional manager Glen Crowther says they support the council’s approach and will push for a safe cycleway option to be implemented as soon as possible.