We live in a beautiful place with meandering harbour and estuaries, but it makes for an ugly transport network.
Traffic bottlenecks are inevitable at Tauranga’s key pinch points, especially during the peak travel periods.
The three local councils have been modelling and planning the city’s traffic for nearly a decade. Together with Government, the local councils last year signed off on the Tauranga System Plan to make it easy for people and goods to move around the Western Bay.
Here is a summary of the Tauranga System Plan.
Our traffic challenge is true – our geography makes moving a city of 135,000 people and goods across and through the city is bound to have bottlenecks at peak travel times.
Government’s plan is to get make it easier for people to use buses and bikes instead of the private car, particularly during peak traffic. To achieve this, they want to intensify housing along major transport routes and connect suburbs and towns along State Highway 2.
The Plan was developed and agreed under urgency and without a formal public consultation process, except through SmartGrowth. Perhaps that’s another reason why the Government appointed Commissioners in case the public started to push back on the Plan once the public saw how it impacted them locally.
Tauranga’s traffic jams are costing businesses. When tradies are not at site, they’re unable to earn money, freight sits idling, and customers in the suburbs avoid traffic and find other solutions, such as buying online.
I was curious to see how traffic has impacted local motorcycle sales, so I spoke with Chamber Member Damian from Bayride Motorcycles.
He believes we need to better manage the peak demand by scattering work and school start times. Damian also shared his thoughts on dedicated bus lanes on Cameron Road along the northern Avenues.
This is the reason why the Chamber does not support a regional fuel tax to fund infrastructure, because it does nothing to manage peak demand and it penalises those businesses who try to travel overnight to avoid traffic congestion.