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City roads showing strain

JESS ETHERIDGE
Last updated 05:00 10/04/2014
Lake Rd

CHOCKA: Lake Rd congestion has grown to a point where something needs to be done as soon as possible, Maurice Norton says.

Maurice Norton
‘FRUSTRATING’: Maurice Norton.

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During the last 40 years, Maurice Norton has watched as more and more cars have piled onto the already heavily congested Lake Rd.

Norton, who drives between Takapuna and Devonport up to four times a day, says he does everything possible to avoid peak hours.

The peak now extends past 10am, he says.

It's terrible and frustrating when he gets caught in traffic snarls, as a three-minute journey takes more than 35.

Auckland city commuters are worse off as congestion curls around on to Esmonde Rd and the northern motorway.

Norton says he was even caught between Northcote Town Centre to Hauraki on a Sunday.

"You shouldn't be in a traffic jam on a Sunday afternoon."

The more than $40 million Lake Rd upgrade, between Hauraki Corner and Bayswater, is included in Auckland Transport's long-term plan.

Traffic signal changes will begin later this year and other data will be collected for future construction plans, Auckland Transport says.

But the upgrade will not be finished until 2022.

With several housing developments in the pipeline, such as Bayswater Marina, more people and cars are expected to flood into the packed peninsula.

Norton says no further intensification should happen until infrastructure is up to scratch.

But any upgrades to Lake Rd would only go ahead if intensification did too, urban planner Joel Cayford says.

The former Auckland regional and North Shore city councillor says the two are linked as developer levies fund large upgrades.

The money for Lake Rd has to come from somewhere, he says, and it cannot be solely from rates.

Infrastructure in Devonport and Takapuna would be funded by developments in the same area. Communities have the tough decision of where intensification will occur but Mr Cayford encourages people to think of the "greater good".

Many people are also worried intensification will affect neighbourhoods and property values, Mr Cayford says.

Families are concerned their children will not be able to afford to live nearby, he says, but if developments of smaller, more affordable houses go ahead it will enable them to stay close.

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