Taking the region from A to B
Local authorities in the Western Bay of Plenty have released a sweeping plan for the future of transport in the region.
The plan for transport investment and changing the way people move around the Western Bay of Plenty, was revealed at SmartGrowth last week.
SmartGrowth is a collaboration between the Tauranga City Council, Western Bay of Plenty District Council, Bay of Plenty Regional Council and key Government agencies.
Over the next 30 years there will be improvements to bus services and routes, new cycling and walking routes, a shift from road to rail for freight and upgrades of key road corridors to cater for a growing population.
The united approach to improving the Western Bay’s transport system is being led by an independent team on behalf of local partner councils and transport organisations.
Independent chair Dean Kimpton says the new Western Bay of Plenty Transport System Plan identifies transport investments to support urban and rural development and provide people with better travel choices.
“The transport system in Tauranga is under pressure from increased demand for travel. This has arisen from under-investment, a steadily increasing population and lack of feasible transport choices.
He says the plan is focussed on generating a noticeable shift from cars onto public transport, improving safety, providing reliable travel times including freight journeys, and creating better walking and cycling connections.
Huge growth projections and the scale of investment required means it will take a “considerable amount of time” to address the transport system.
“There are no quick fixes and the next few years will focus on delivery of already committed significant transport investments, including major public transport and mode shift initiatives. Planning, business cases and design for the next generation of major investments and larger projects is also expected to commence.”
Funding has yet to be determined and the recommended programme of investment will be considered by elected members of the various councils for inclusion in a joint submission to the Regional Land Transport Plan later this month.
Final decisions will require community consultation and funding through local councils’ long term plans, and the Regional and National Land Transport Plans.
Some of the proposed investments include short term enhancements of the bus service and infrastructure that gives priority to public transport, continuing the development of safe and accessible walking and cycling routes and implementing works to unlock growth in Papamoa East and the Western Corridor.
At the same time, planning for future, larger investments is proposed to look at the best ways to tackle current and future constraints on the transport system including Hewletts Road and access to the Port of Tauranga. It will also look at improvements on 15th Avenue and Turret Road, and longer-term improvements on SH29 to support growth in Tauriko West.
A public transport business case would look at how more frequent and reliable bus services can get more people using buses in the medium and long term and take pressure off the already strained transport system. This would include park and ride facilities, transport hubs as well as network improvements and potentially new infrastructure with public transport priority.
These new activities are in addition to the $1.2 billion of committed transport investment in the Western Bay over the next eight years which includes Takitimu North Link, Cameron Road Multi Modal Upgrade, Omokoroa Road Urban Upgrade, and Rangiuru Business Park.