Front page on the last Hibiscus Matters was the story Auckland Transport gives Silverdale lights thumbs up. The article noted the opposition by the two councillors – myself and John Watson, and the majority of the local Hibiscus Coast Local Board members with the exception of Janet Fitzgerald.
In my view, the last thing we need is more lights on the Hibiscus Highway through Silverdale. Traffic hold-ups at peak times are bad enough now without further delays caused by the stop-start action of lights. The situation city-bound in the morning would be especially dangerous as cars and trucks would back up the hill. Add some wet weather and poor visibility and you have a recipe for accidents; the worse place to put lights is at the bottom of a steep hill used by huge numbers of vehicles including heavy trucks.
Then the slow-down homebound as cars and trucks start from stopped to climb up the hill. Vehicles will move slowly from one set of lights to another. The impact on local businesses in Silverdale from morning and evening gridlock extending through the day would be disastrous.
Sure, Silverdale can be better connected. But the best place for that extra connection is the planned extension of East Coast Road across the Hibiscus Highway, between Bunnings and Pak ‘n’ Save (Brian Smith Drive) and over the Weiti Stream to connect with Curley Ave and Wainui Road. This new link connects Silverdale North to South and East to West – and decongests the Hibiscus Highway. It uses an existing set of lights. And there is a funding package in place with the prospect of accelerated funding shortly. It also makes for better bus access through to Millwater and the big new commercial area on Wainui Road.
Then we desperately need to improve walking and cycling mobility around Silverdale – safe paths wide enough for walking and cycling, linking all parts of Silverdale – especially the industrial area where many local people work. A bus service into the industrial area needs to happen soon; John Watson and I have suggested a survey to the local business association to help build the case.
Building a back entry into the busway station from East Coast Road will happen as the land is developed and the developers put the road in as part of their subdivision – freeing up the Hibiscus Highway; this may be sooner rather than later as the southern part of Silverdale expands. The Tavern Road intersection with East Coast Road should be improved so that it better accommodates trucks and heavy vehicles.
If we can get the government to take on Penlink as a state highway it can become a reality. Put bluntly, they have the money and the Council does not.
Another story in the last Hibiscus Matters dealt with the current road works in Wainui Road just up from the roundabout, which are proving incredibly tough for the local businesses like the French bakery, electrical and car maintenance operations. These local businesses need our ongoing support to get through a tough time as these road works are scheduled to last for months. As much as possible we should buy local and shop local; helping local businesses builds local employment and circulates much needed money in the local economy.