Dynamic Lanes team come to local board

By: Julia Parfitt

Dynamic lanes are utilised around the world to get traffic moving at peak times including on the Auckland Harbour and Panmure bridges. In 2014, Auckland Transport began investigating using this concept at peak times on road corridors too. Last year they selected Whangaparaoa Road between the Hibiscus Coast Highway and Red Beach Road for their first trial.

Along with three other local board members, I attended the recent open day that Auckland Transport held about this proposed trial. Residents were invited to “meet the project team” and have their questions answered. As a local board, we came to listen, especially as we had received a stream of concerns from residents and businesses who felt their issues were not being heard or addressed.

Beforehand, the local board had had a presentation on the proposal. Local board members asked Auckland Transport to consult more widely than they had done last year. They expressed concerns about potential safety risks for impacted property owners and asked what other Auckland areas had been considered for the trial given the lack of alternate routes available and why we were proceeding with an expensive trial for an estimated one-minute time saving.

The residents’ meeting was well attended and rather heated at times. People expressed many concerns especially about safety for people using this stretch of road. Many came to get answers and left dissatisfied with what they heard and some are now expressing their concerns on social media. As a local board member, I felt less than satisfied with the assurance from Auckland Transport’s May media release “that the safety and convenience of the local community will be a key priority for this trial and affected members of the community will be consulted with”.

As a local board, we have an opportunity for further input and I have invited Auckland Transport to attend our July business meeting (details below), which they have agreed to do, to answer both our, and our community’s, questions. We have asked them about people’s concerns, what changes they are making or intend to make as a result of this feedback. For example – will traffic lights be phased to give exiting traffic enough time to safely access the road? How will pedestrian safety be assured? Are Auckland Transport convinced that this solution will work on a road corridor rather than a bridge? Also what other measures will be used to address the volume of traffic travelling along this road at peak times –for example, providing a direct express bus at peak times to take commuters directly along Whangaparaoa Road, to and from the bus station relieving congestion on the road and at the station itself. Also with 90 percent of the traffic exiting left into the Hibiscus Coast Highway, why not have two left turning lanes instead of traffic being funneled into just one lane?

Those who I have spoken to or heard from, acknowledge the status quo is less than satisfactory during peak times when they can wait up to eight minutes to be let in or cross the road by courteous road users. They do, however look to Auckland Transport to make their situation better, not potentially worse.

Just to re-iterate, this trial in no way replaces our local board’s continued support for an early delivery of Penlink, which is so vital for easing congestion on both the Whangaparaoa Peninsula and Hibiscus Coast Highway.

The local board meeting is on July 19, starting 4.30pm, at 2 Glen Road, Browns Bay. The public are welcome to attend.

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