Tahunanui traffic plan overhauled
A revised plan for ways to improve safety at the Tahunanui intersection is to come back to the community, possibly before Christmas, says Nelson Mayor Aldo Miccio.
However, the Tahunanui Business Association says the announcement, made on Tuesday night at a candidates' meeting, is the first it has heard of the plan, and it wants to see something in writing before expressing a view.
The original plan to improve traffic flows through the intersection was shelved in July, after it did not contain options the community wanted.
The NZ Transport Agency agreed to review it after the Rocks Rd walkway-cycleway study.
Plans to make changes to the intersection upset Tahunanui business operators, who were concerned about a possible widespread removal of parking in the area.
The NZTA previously said that one option for improving the intersection was to extend the clearway along Tahunanui Drive (State Highway 6) south of the intersection.
The business association was recently unanimous in wanting the clearway removed, saying it was ineffective and harmed businesses in the area. It said cars parked in the lane caused delays or accidents.
The community's preference is for traffic in the left-hand lane to turn left up Bisley Ave rather than heading straight through the intersection as a merging lane.
More than 200 people marched in a protest in August against Tahunanui being "ignored". The march highlighted the "long-running lack of care for the Tahunanui Village by the NZTA and the [Nelson City] council".
At an election candidates' meeting in Tahunanui this week, attended by about 30 people, Mr Miccio announced that the new document to be sent out for consultation would include the option of reinstating parking and a single lane through the area.
He said he and council chief executive Clare Hadley met with the NZTA last Friday, and it was agreed that the option would be included.
"The document will be going out with that third option, hopefully before Christmas," Mr Miccio said.
Tahunanui Business Association executive member John Gilbertson said the candidates' meeting was the first time it had heard about the new consultation document.
"I can't speak for the association, as we've yet to discuss it. While I'm delighted to hear [the council is] going to do a new document, I still want to see it in writing, but quite frankly, I'm over it.
"I believe the community has given a clear indication of what it wants done, and we don't want another bloody consultation round - we need the problem fixed," Mr Gilbertson said.
Councillor Rachel Reese, who has been vocal in her support for Tahunanui's position, said the mayor made a "major mistake" by pulling the document, and his announcement now was simply an attempt to regain some traction.
Cr Reese was not aware that the council had spoken with the NZTA as recently as last Friday, but she said it would have been appropriate for the chairman of the regional land transport committee, Cr Ian Barker, to be part of that discussion.
Cr Barker said he was not consulted, and did not have any involvement in the talks, which was "quite disappointing".
"The option mentioned is what the Tahuna community wanted, because they are concerned at the loss of parking.
"The lack of policing since the freeway system was established meant it was doomed to fail. The only solution is to one-lane it."
NZTA regional manager of planning and investment Lyndon Hammond previously said the purpose of the study was to address "significant congestion and safety issues" that had arisen at the intersection.
"These concerns remain significant, and we will continue to investigate them and work closely with the community and council as we seek to resolve them," Mr Hammond said.
He said this was why the NZTA had decided to revisit its approach, by assessing how the work at Tahunanui related to the wider Rocks Rd study, and exploring whether an interim solution to address the congestion and safety problems until the study's findings were delivered was the best way forward.
- © Fairfax NZ News