Wider footpaths, greener spaces and one-way streets are among several improvements being proposed in a trial to make Tauranga city centre more attractive and help people move around more easily.
The proposals will be considered at a Tauranga City Council meeting on Monday, 12 February.
If approved, the one-way traffic system would be introduced to parts of Harington, Hamilton, Wharf, Spring and Willow streets during March and remain in place for at least two years during the city centre transformation.
Tauranga City Council’s Principal Investment Advisor for Transport, Tom McEntyre, said the pilot project was expected to bring many benefits if it went ahead.
“A one-way system would create safety benefits by slowing down vehicles, reducing the number of intersections, and improving visibility,” he said.
“It would also create space for wider footpaths, planter boxes, street art and other opportunities to make the city centre more attractive and accessible.”
With many building projects ramping up in our city centre, the one-way system would reduce the need for road closures because space could more easily be provided beside the street for construction activities when needed.
Willow Street would be open to cyclists in both directions.
“In short, this project would help support walking, cycling and safer motoring for people of all ages and abilities,” said Tom.
If approved, most of the project would be completed during a few weeks in March. Some additional work – such as planting – would occur later with minimal disruption.
The changes would be monitored and reviewed as a pilot to see if they should be retained, altered or extended through other parts of the downtown area.
In an unrelated move, a small section of Willow Street (between Wharf Street and Hamilton Street) will be permanently closed at a date yet to be determined to allow for the construction of the new civic precinct, Te Manawataki o Te Papa, and ultimately create a pedestrian plaza.
The new one-way system in the surrounding streets would be retained when this closure occurs.
Collectively, the proposed changes are among many initiatives aimed at making the city centre a great place to live, work, learn and play.
Other transport-related improvements include the recent opening of a bike park on Grey Street with room for 78 bikes and e-scooters, and the opening of 145 parking spaces on Dive Crescent.
Later this year, at least 200 more parking spaces will become available at Panorama Towers on Hamilton Street and 106 spaces at a car park on Devonport Road.
Monday’s meeting will be livestreamed on Tauranga City Council’s website here.
You can find out more about the vision for the future of Tauranga in the Council’s City Centre Action and Investment Plan 2022-32.