Did you know that the 2,000 businesses in East Tamaki employ 30,000 people and contributes $3 billion to New Zealand's economy?
T2 or not T2, that's seems to be the question that many are asking in East Auckland.
It's been a few weeks since the newest T2 and bus lane opened in Auckland, down part of Pakuranga Road. This was deemed necessary to reduce the traffic heading to Panmure while the new Eastern Busway is built. This massive infrastructure project will be transformational for East Auckland but its also very disruptive during the build. Auckland Transport (AT) need to reduce the traffic by 10%or 800 cars to make it possible and the transit lane is part of this.
Transit lanes can be highly effective - the T3 lane on Ōnewa Road is believed to carry more than 80% of people during peak. This isn't always obvious to the observer as it has less vehicles (each carrying more). I used to live nearby and used this for years. It was a pain if you needed to drive solo but if you carpooled or bused, it was brilliant. It forced locals to rethink their behaviour and for the most part it worked. As our population grows we need solutions other than more roads, we simply cannot all fit.
I know that public transport isn't what it should be, but let's focus on making it work. Let's fix the reliability problems - helped by dedicated bus lanes that allow them to miss congestion. I know that public transport and carpooling won't work for everyone, but if more of us do it then it leaves space for those that can't.
The local MP has launched a petition calling for its removal and he's been joined by both local councillors. He's also asking for the Reeves Road Flyover to be built, which is still part of the plan. There does seem to be some shift in the delivery dates for the flyover of the project and I've asked AT what this means.
My view is that we need to wait for more information before making a decision. I appreciate that this isn't much help for this sitting in traffic and I feel your pain. I sit in traffic along Ti Rākau every morning, despite starting earlier and earlier. I'm rethinking my travel plan to use public transport more often, but I'll still get stuck in traffic.
I don't for a moment think the T2 is perfect - there's plenty of issues being reported especially on the intersections of Gossamer and Cascades. Issues getting across lanes and merging safely, issues with traffic blocking crossings and bad driving behaviours. Some of these should be addressed by AT and at last nights local board meeting AT promised to provide a summary of the issues and actions underway.
We need to give it some time. Time for the new park and ride that only began this week to take affect. Time for people to adjust to the advantages of carpooling. Time for AT to sort out the issues like Gossamer and Cascades.
Let's keep the constructive criticism of the T2 Lane coming through to AT and give them time to resolve it. Not months, but a few more weeks.
There are too many near misses, serious injures and deaths on our roads. Children are scared to walk or cycle to school. This has to change - we need to build more physically separate cycle and walkways across Auckland now. As Emma McInnes says in this piece, with urgency.
Residents associations play a really important role in ensuring that locals are informed and have a voice. The Cockle Bay Residents and Rate Payers Association have had a very busy year which they celebrated their AGM on Saturday 27 July and I was pleased to attend.
There’s definitely an appetite to do more for the environment. Over the weekend we had a number of events focused on the environment with Howick holding its first Ecoday event on Saturday, followed by tree planting with Macleans College and then Bucklands Beach clean up on Sunday with the Howick Youth Council.