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Traffic Congestion Shocks - Mayor

North Shore Commuters Need To Brace Themselves For Several Traffic Congestion Shocks - Mayor

North Shore City Mayor Andrew Williams is warning commuters to brace themselves for several shocks as a result of decisions made by Transit NZ.

The first is the removal of the Esmonde Road bus lane from Saturday December 8, he says. From that date, a large number of bus services will have to sit in congested Esmonde Road traffic to get from Takapuna to Auckland City. These services include 822/839/858/875/879/895/896 and 802X. In future these long-established often full buses, as well as queuing on Esmonde Road, will be diverted off on a side detour through the new Akoranga Station when they reach the bottom of Esmonde Road.

Mayor Williams says Transit have advised that the former motorway on ramp heading towards Auckland will be closed off and will not allow buses to access the southbound Busway, even though in previous years this had been shown as a "bus lane on ramp".

"Removal of the Esmonde Road bus lane and terminating the former on ramp is a public transport debacle in the making" says Mayor Williams. "We are trying to encourage greater use of public transport while Transit are doing their best to put roadblocks and obstacles in the way of efficient direct bus services between Takapuna and Auckland CBD."

"Until now direct services travelling from the East Coast Bays and Milford through Takapuna have taken approximately 15 minutes journey time between Takapuna and the Auckland CBD. Removal of the bus lane and the direct Busway on ramp will add to journey times and be a deterrent to current users and future uptake of public transport," says Mayor Williams.

"We are about to open a $300 million Busway and should be making this expensive tarmac as accessible as possible, not closing off feeder bus lanes. I have also written to Transit asking why they are not going to permit airport shuttle buses, charter coaches, and other public transport vehicles on this very expensive Busway. It makes no sense to have airport shuttle commuters sitting in gridlocked motorway traffic when the Busway could - and should - be maximised with all types of public transport vehicles.

The second shock in the coming year for North Shore motorists is onramp signalling, restricting free access to the northern motorway at peak times. Transit introduced ramp monitoring controls on the Southern Motorway this year which have seen lengthy queues of traffic on local feeder roads around the Auckland region, while the motorway has flowed relatively freely.

"I saw a recent Herald photo of the Hobson Street onramp which was totally backlogged while there was hardly a car to be seen on the adjacent motorway. We will see similar instances across North Shore City onramps in the coming year, with journey times for many becoming a lengthy nightmare".

"Somewhere the transport authorities seem to have made some questionable decisions when it comes to managing transport issues. On the one hand they are removing bus lanes such as Esmonde Road and redirecting buses on unnecessary side trips making bus usage less attractive. On the other hand motorists will be condemned to lengthy onramp queuing, impacting on the local roads and our suburbs in order for Transit to supposedly operate its motorway network more efficiently."

"I will be taking these matters up with all those involved as I can see increasing gridlock as a result of these questionable measures" says Mayor Williams.

ENDS

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