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Experts assembling to produce race traffic fix

20 May 2004

Experts assembling to produce race traffic fix

Preliminary studies indicate Auckland V8 International race traffic issues are manageable.

Auckland City says the key aims of the traffic management plan will be to: give people reliable journey times while allowing people to travel into and within the central business district (CBD), and travel past the city on the motorway system.

The Transit Harbour Bridge traffic figure of 155,000 vehicles per day doesn’t reflect the actual situation traffic planners are dealing with.

This figure is an annual average for all vehicles heading both north and south per day. A significant proportion of this is two-way traffic. Some are incorrectly deducing that 75,000 trips per day will need to be removed from the daily total.

When figures are analysed further, only 55,000 vehicles are using the Fanshawe Street on and off ramps each week day. These figures fall by 10,000 on weekends. There is a further fall during school holidays.

The key is achieving a reduction during the peak, especially between 7am and 9am on the Friday of the event. This will lead to similar reductions in the afternoon peak.

The V8 event runs from Friday to Sunday during school holidays.

The chairperson of Auckland City’s Recreation and Events Committee, Councillor Scott Milne, says experts on managing Auckland regional, city and event traffic are being brought together to deliver a management plan for the event.

“The preliminary look at the numbers and possible solutions shows we’ve got an excellent prospect of delivering a good fix. We are going to need to base this also on the feedback we get from Aucklanders, so we can provide personally effective solutions for them.”

Mr Milne says people concerned about traffic and access are well advised to hold on until detailed planning emerges. The experts’ preliminary report will accompany the resource consent application for the event, due to be filed and made public in about two weeks.

“We have traffic engineers within the council, contractors in the city and the experts who helped stage similar events in Sydney, Canberra and other public events around the world working on the traffic plan.

“When you boil it down, we’re talking about a lot of people co-operating over a three day period, and specially on one week day. We’ll be working with them and detailing plans during the next two years to make sure they can carry on about their business – and also get a chance to get to the races,” Mr Milne says.

“People will need to use their common sense. For any major event anywhere in the world you need a traffic management plan. People need to adjust what they do to make sure these major events can be held – and they do. It will also boil down to a simple message for a weekend in April 2006: Make alternative arrangements.”

Mr Milne says these are likely to include using surplus peak hour public transport capacity, putting about 2000 extra passengers onto buses and 3000 extra onto ferries. Surplus capacity of 4500 to 6000 on rail will be available for people travelling from the south, east and west, which will help reduce CBD traffic.

Other measures being studied for the traffic fix “grab bag” are likely to include new temporary park and ride options, people taking leave, working from satellite offices, working from home and postponing unnecessary trips. Public transport fares might also be included in race tickets.

Special access arrangements would be made for residents and businesses in the circuit area and buses were likely to continue using the Fanshawe street motorway, exiting onto Gaunt Street and into the CBD during the three-day circuit roads’ closure.

Mr Milne says a major effort will be launched from later today to make sure every resident and business in the circuit area can rapidly flag their needs – “and every one will be dealt with individually. We will hopefully find a solution to every issue there is.”

A special consultation web site would be launched at noon tomorrow (21 May) at www.V8RACE.co.nz.

A free call number, 0800V8RACE, is also turned on at the same time.

Mr Milne says the site allows for street-by-street feedback and a series of twelve “cottage meetings” for businesses and residents will start from next Thursday 27 May and run until 15 June. Personally addressed letters, information and feedback forms will go into the mail tonight to more than 6000 businesses and residents.

“There’s huge public support for this event. When the listening has been done and the planning’s complete we’ll have an event the world will envy.”

Mr Milne says communication on race traffic will run continuously for six months before the event starts.

ENDS

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