One of the most common requests I hear in my neighbourhood is to ‘fix Lake Road’. For those that live on the Peninsula, Lake Road is a very real problem. With 30,000 cars that move down, what is actually a residential road, every day, it’s no wonder it’s congested. It’s difficult for deliveries to make it to Devonport businesses, and it’s difficult for locals simply trying to get around.
In June 2017 an Indicative Business Case was written up identifying the problems and some of the solutions proposed by the public from the consultation process. The problems include:
Following public consultation, it was agreed that the road corridor should not be widened, but that we should rather work with what we’ve got. This means that for those who see ‘fixing Lake Road’ as adding four lanes, dedicated and unbroken public transport lanes, dynamic lighting, parking restrictions or any such measure will be, I’m afraid, left wanting.
Instead the focus will be on dedicated and separated cycleways, a T2 & PT Lane (wherever possible), some greater safety measures with the removal of slip lanes at Belmont Shops, better organized light phasing, a zebra crossing to assist children getting across Lake Road to get to school by foot, a dedicated cycle lane down Bayswater Ave, and a Belmont Town Centre upgrade. Technology will also be made use of so that you can check how long a trip will take before you take it, and it will compare trips times between cars, buses and bikes.
Whilst this may not seem like the dramatic silver bullet to congestion on the road that some may be hoping for, what it will achieve is an average 9 minute savings in travel time down the corridor; this is actually very good. In addition, with separated cycle-ways, and safer crossings for kids, we might see more children get themselves to school by foot, scooter or bike, saving unnecessary trips made by parents. Approximately 50% of Lake Road trips are local trips where drivers don’t leave the Peninsula. If we can get those people moving around using other means, then this frees up the road for those who have no alternative than to use their vehicles. Remember, we have declared a climate crises and the majority of Aucklanders who submitted on the Climate Action Framework wanted to see bolder and more accelerated action by Auckland Council to respond to this emergency. We need to embrace the opportunity to change our behaviour.
That said, there are a couple of areas that we absolutely need to feed into the design. The first is the Belmont Town Centre. The town centre design has been led by Auckland Council with the support of a very active and engaged community group made up of local residents, youth, businesses and members of the Peninsula Transport Alliance. Creating a more attractive town centre in Belmont which encourages locals to shop there instead of using cars to go elsewhere, is a really important element to the success of the Lake Road upgrades. If we can do a good job of this then we will start attracting businesses that we need in our community to fill the shops and spaces. Showing support for this element of the proposal will help to ensure we get the budget required to transform the town centre. If you would like to see Belmont get some love with increased public space, planting, public seating, bike parking, and perhaps a road surface treatment that reads as different to the rest of Lake Road, then you need to show your support for this in the consultation. We do not want the businesses to suffer because of the road corridor improvements. Otherwise we'll be left with derelict and empty properties and we'll be forced back into our cars to get the things we need in life.
The other area that I think Auckland Transport needs to address is the proposed lights/crossing on Lake Road opposite Ngataringa Reserve to Seabreeze. The proposed location for these lights (where there is currently a traffic island in place for crossings) is the safest place for them to go. However, the fact it connects people to a footpath that ends only meters away, I think is a problem. For children that live on the Western side of Lake Road that want to access Woodall Park or connect on to Vauxhall School or Narrow Neck Beach, we need a new footpath along the Eastern side of Seabreeze when heading to the beach. The more people who raise this, the more likely AT will respond.
The last place I think we need to look at carefully is the right turn that Northbound traffic take into School Road, just after the Belmont Shops. In the mornings, when traffic is at its worst, having these cars stopping to turn right seriously impedes the flow of traffic. With a new proposed zebra crossing further up by Devonport Cars, parents can easily park their cars anywhere on the West of Lake road and walk their children safely across the crossing and then on to school. There should no longer be a right hand turn onto School road.
Public consultation is open now until Sunday 12 April - so have your say now.
Elected member of the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board for the 2019-2022 Election Term.