TV & Radio
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, Darby said.
There were no extra lanes in Lake Rd that would allow that to happen and Darby feared 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 said.
Lake Rd was unusual because it could be as congested on the weekends as morning peaks, he said.
Darby was "nervous" about traffic impacts despite being pleased some concerns had been addressed, including promoting public transport as the only way to get to the open homes.
Residents were being assured by The Block's production team that they would minimise the impact on them but said "events of this nature may cause inconvenience".
Darby said free bus services would run every 15 minutes from Devonport to Takapuna and bike racks would be set up near the venue to discourage people from driving.
But he feared traffic chaos as families unfamiliar with the area tried to drive to the event.
Anyone driving was likely to face at least a 2km walk due to traffic restrictions and public transport or cycling were the best options, he said.
Northboro Rd resident Tom Logan was angry that TV3 was 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 said the open day was good publicity for the street.
Bright said organisers visited residents and were offering a preview viewing so they didn't have to queue up on the official open days.
The big crowds were also a chance for a neighbour to offer facepainting to fundraise for a local kindergarten, she said.
- © Fairfax NZ News