Green light for Links Ave cul-de-sac consultation

The road is particularly busy in morning rush hour. Photo. John Borren.

Tauranga City Council plan to run consultation regarding the trial of a cul-de-sac traffic system on Links Avenue in Mount Maunganui.

Commissioners approved the recommendation at a council meeting earlier this week.

This is despite an admission from commissioners and TCC that the implementation would potentially have a knock-on impact to other roads in the area.

Commissioners unanimously approved the recommendation and tasked council staff to undertake consultation with the wider community on the recommendations of the report.

They also approved the allocation of $400,000 in the Long Term Plan budget to undertake an “innovative streets style” consultation.

Links Avenue has become an increasingly popular traffic route for morning and evening rush hour, but is considered a residential area and is also home to Mount Maunganui Intermediate School.

The decision comes after a safety review into transport along the road identified it as the only viable option to measurably improve safety with a “tangible risk” currently present.

The safety review, commissioned by council, found reducing the traffic volume was the best means toward removing that risk. A cul-de-sac was found to be the only viable option to achieve this target.

Despite the report to commissioners suggesting any trial period could start almost immediately, Tauranga City Council have ruled that out, with consultation considered necessary before any changes take effect.

“Consultation will be undertaken with the community prior to implementation of any changes,” says Tauranga City Council director of transport Brendan Bisley.

He also confirms the preferred location of the cul-de-sac.

“If the cul-de-sac was installed on Links Avenue, the preferred location would be just before Ascot Road.”

He says this location is preferred as it would still provide access to and from the school off Golf Road, whilst preventing through traffic.

Mount Maunganui Intermediate School were not available for comment at this time.

In the council meeting earlier this week, commission chair Anne Tolley admits regularly witnessing the “rat-run” along Links Avenue. She even concedes the implementation of a cul-de-sac may add time to her own commute.

However, if it means a safer road, especially for school children, she believes the sacrifice is minimal.

“The safety of those kids is paramount and it gives us the opportunity to trial some things,” she says.

“I am a motorist who uses those roads every day and, quite frankly, if it costs me another four minutes or five minutes to get to work as against the serious injury or the life of a schoolkid, I’ll take the extra time.”

Brendan admits a cul-de-sac would increase the strain on surrounding arterial roads.

However, he says modelling has shown the increased travel time for motorists is likely to be 10 minutes or less.

“A cul-de-sac improves safety, but does impact on the surrounding network as the traffic that currently use Links Avenue as through traffic will need to use either Oceanbeach Road or the State Highway (Maunganui Road).

“Modelling shows this may add five-to-10 minutes in the peak periods and we feel this is a realistic estimate of the impact it may have.”

Any trial period would be likely to last at least six months.

 

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