Tauranga City Councillor Murray Guy is joining the opposition to the Bethlehem four laning project, saying the New Zealand Transport Agency is manipulating the information used to obtain community feedback.
“The manipulation of information during community consultation processes is all too common involving transportation issues,” says Murray.
He attended the public meeting on the issue held Tuesday night by the Bethlehem Progressive Association. About 30 people attended, says Murray.
Other recent examples of information manipulation include the benefits of tolling of the Eastern Arterial and the use of Willow Street as a bus and coach marshalling yard, says Murray.
In Bethlehem, Murray says the NZTA is seeking community feedback using a sketch showing six cars on the road, six parked cars and two parked buses.
The reality is no buses actually stop at Bethlehem, says Murray. What is not depicted are diesel spewing trucks and trailers, and the picture is deceptively out of scale.
The video computer generated animation shows a few ants scampering across a grey canvas.
“To four-lane a 200 metre section of road between two roundabouts, with two controlled pedestrian crossings included, directly adjacent Bethlehem Village shops will secure absolutely no benefits of significance for either motorists or the local retailers and shoppers,” says Murray.
“Either side of four-laning the highway reverts to single carriageways. It will have a negative impact on the air quality, increased traffic speeds, reduced safety and economic sustainability, and the present village amenity values destroyed.
“And why, so a motorist might save a few seconds on their journey into the city, perhaps? Maybe?
“It seems to me local authorities and central government agencies act with complete disregard for the rights of communities in pursuit of their own somewhat dubious agendas.”
There are a number of more viable options to enhance traffic movements around Tauranga City, mindful of safety, noise, congestion and truck and traffic use issues on Moffat, Cambridge and Cameron Roads, says Murray.
“A good start would be to remove the tolls on Route K.”
Click here to view the NZTA video which to the agency's view explains how the four laning changes will benefit the area.