The future of public transport in the Tauranga CBD under scrutiny
Regional Councilor Andrew von Dadelszen, Vice-Chair, and Commissioner Anne Tolley, Chair of the Commission.
The future of public transport in Tauranga’s CBD has been put under the microscope by city leaders.
Details of where and how the city’s bus routes will operate were the main issue on the table at a public transport committee meeting yesterday.
Tauranga City Council’s Town Center ‘milestone’ action plan was approved last week.
The action plan involves more than $2 billion in downtown improvements with combined council, government and private sector investments, including a new courthouse and expanded waterfront park and event space.
The plan’s “priority actions” for public transport include the creation of a bus route through the city center that “is easily identifiable and accessible by users” and a permanent bus installation.
The accepted route was called ‘Option B’, which runs down Cameron Rd, turns right at Elizabeth St to Durham St, right at Hamilton St onto The Strand. A permanent transport hub would be located at Dive Cres.
The committee received a report on the development of the public transport route under the city’s approved action plan.
The council’s transport strategy and planning team leader, Alistair Talbot, said the report showed how he had identified the preferred long-term bus route for the city centre.
Talbot said four route options were presented at the last committee meeting, but staff were asked to create an alternate option in conjunction with stakeholders. This alternative has been named Option E.
But option B remained the preferred option.
Oliver Haycock, head of Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s transport services planning and project delivery team, said getting people as close to their destination as possible was important to making transport effective audiences and the “mode of choice”.
Therefore, he said the regional council supported Option B on providing a lane connection between Durham St and Gray St ‘to enable the benefits’ of easy access.
According to the agenda, the long-range plan approved by city council included a budget and identified actions to provide a connection to the driveway, which was underway.
Regional Councilor Paula Thompson asked what the driveway would look like, but Talbot said it was still being developed, with the location and design still to be confirmed.
Thompson said she wanted to congratulate the commissioners and staff for the “truly inspiring” action plan.
“I have speed that falters with the number of plans you get signed.”
Regional Councilor Andrew von Dadelszen called the action plan a “significant achievement”.
City commission chairwoman Anne Tolley said creating a lane could involve a lot of talks with private landowners, but it would help connect the town centre.
Tolley also wanted more details on the bus installation.
“CBD land is scarce, expensive, and an interchange or hub can take up quite a bit of parking space that we lack.”
Talbot offered to hold a workshop for committee and council staff to discuss more details of the bus installation and was open to “more of a street type installation”.
Tolley said it would be good to discuss the matter after the next local elections, with potential new regional council members.
Public transport “priority actions” in the action plan of the city center
• A permanent bus installation, subject to a business case
• A bus line through the city center (option B)
• A “special vehicle zone” on Durham Street from Elizabeth Street to Hamilton Street (including the Civic Quarter)
• Signage at the intersection of Brown St and Cameron Rd
• Secure a location for a future ferry service
• A future-proof location for the return or regional passenger train (and possibly the metro)