Concerns slip lane a waste of money
‘I consider it a waste of money.’
That’s Vicki Coes’ reaction to the Welcome Bay slip lane and the recent redesign work done by the Tauranga City Council and the NZTA.
It cost the NZTA $300,000 for the actual improvements and the council spent $26,322.93 for the redesign work.
“I consider it a waste of money because the majority of motorists in Welcome Bay wanted the lane re-opened to reduce congestion on Welcome Bay Road. In the mornings if it had been re-opened without their ‘safety measures’ it would have reduced congestion and traffic towards Greerton would have used it,” she says.
Tauranga City Council’s network safety and sustainability manager Martin Parkes says the road was initially closed due to significant safety concerns.
“The safety of our travelling public by whatever means they choose is our highest priority. The site was independently assessed and it was determined that Welcome Bay Lane should not reopen without safety measures being introduced.”
Martin says it is too early to say if there has been a reduction in traffic congestion since the lane reopened because it has only been open for a few months and most of that time was during the school holidays. He says data can be provided towards the end of April which will reflect normal network performance in this area.
Vicki says she, along with virtually all of the other traffic, continues towards the traffic lights when headed towards Greerton, as she says it is faster and easier to access.
“The lane also has a bike lane and an area for cyclists to cross as well as the bike lane remaining on Welcome Bay road for cyclists to use. Cyclists are certainly well provided for!
“Is it ironic there is a cycle lane on the highway below the underpass heading into Welcome Bay, which cannot be accessed by cyclists other than them crossing the highway lanes?”
Martin says the improvements were specifically designed for the safety of cyclists travelling through the area.
“The measures installed include the narrowing of Welcome Bay Lane and the introduction of a speed cushion, a traffic island on Welcome Bay Road, new signage and road markings. The design recognises that confident cyclists will probably choose to stay on the road however cyclists do have two options to get across the Welcome Bay Lane intersection, including diverting left along Welcome Bay Lane to a new off-road crossing location or staying on the marked cycle lane.”
Martin says the council sees these changes as a positive thing as a result of concerns from the community.
“We have lodged two pieces of feedback via our contact centre. They were related to traffic concerns: one person shared concerns about heavy vehicles turning left and the other was regarding cyclists’ safety.
“Additionally, we received one email from a member of the public who was involved in an incident involving a car and cyclist; the motorist cut across the front of a cyclist and clipped their front wheel.
“Fortunately, no injuries were sustained, but the incident left the cyclist shocked.
“We have installed a CCTV camera to monitor the situation. This is the only incident that we are aware of since the Welcome Bay Lane was reopened.