Reality TV series The Block has been cleared to hold two weekend open homes, raising fears of traffic mayhem on one of Auckland's busiest roads.
Up to 10,000 people are expected to travel along Lake Rd to view the newly renovated Hauraki homes during the weekend of October 19 and 20.
Gridlock fears linger, despite traffic management conditions set in place by Auckland Council and Auckland Transport.
The potential for problems is confirmed in the consent issued by the council's events department.
The consent lists the staff who should be contacted if "crowds become large and Lake Rd unmanageable".
Eversleigh Rd, where the renovation show is filmed, will close for 18 hours between Lake and Northboro roads during the two days.
There are also parking restrictions in the remaining section of Eversleigh Rd and neighbouring Lake Rd, Northboro Rd, Jutland Rd, Creamer Ave and Bardia St.
Organisers admit other streets will be affected by increased traffic and parked cars.
A traffic management plan provided to residents shows stop/go workers will be positioned on Lake Rd, near Eversleigh Rd, controlling traffic.
The Block is TV3's most popular show for 2013 and attracts more than 300,000 viewers an episode.
Fresh in the mind of Takapuna-Devonport Local Board chairman Chris Darby are problems at last year's The Block open homes in Takapuna.
Massive crowds prompted the emergency closure of a road lane in Anzac St, Mr Darby says.
There are no extra lanes in Lake Rd that would allow that to happen and Mr Darby fears he could bear the brunt of decisions he could only lobby on.
"I'm going to get it in the neck if this all goes to custard," he says.
Lake Rd is unusual because it can be as congested on the weekends as morning peaks, he says.
Mr Darby is "nervous" about traffic impacts, despite being pleased some concerns have been addressed, including promoting public transport as the only way to get to the open homes.
Residents are being assured by The Block's production team that they will minimise the impact on them but say "events of this
nature may cause inconvenience".
Mr Darby says free bus services will run every 15 minutes from Devonport to Takapuna and bike racks will be set up near the venue to discourage people from driving.
But he fears traffic chaos as families unfamiliar with the area try to drive to the event and cause problems when they can't find a park.
Anyone driving is likely to face at least a 2km walk due to traffic restrictions and public transport or cycling are the best options, he says.
Mr Darby says senior managers from Auckland Transport and the council events will be on site during the open days and can step in if they see problems.
Northboro Rd resident Tom Logan is angry that TV3 is allowed to close streets and introduce traffic restrictions to promote its show and the auction of The Block homes.
"I'm all in favour of tolerance and acceptance of community activities that have a community benefit.
"I hugely disagree with disadvantaging people, just for someone else's commercial benefit."
But Eversleigh Rd resident Ivy Bright says the open day is good publicity for the street.
Ms Bright says organisers visited residents in the street and are offering a preview viewing so they don't have to queue up on the official open days.
The big crowds are also a chance for a neighbour to offer facepainting to fundraise for a local kindergarten, she says.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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