Waiheke Marketplace : June 27th 2012
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Big or small jobs -- with NO wastage We only mix enough until the job is done and that's all you pay for! "The smarter way to Buy concrete" Ph 0800 485 374 / 021 528 197 email@example.com Esplanade to reopen after temporary closure Hot topic: Waiheke Local Board members listen to the presentation about the Esplanade from Cycle Action Waiheke's Tom Ransom and Tony King-Turner. WAIHEKE LOCAL BOARD By GILL ALCOCK In disrepair: The Esplanade has remained closed to vehicles after a trial one-year closure for safety issues. The Waiheke Local Board has voted to follow Auckland Transport s recommendation to reopen the Esplanade from Blackpool to Surfdale to two- way traffic and create a shared environment for all users. The vote was passed with a three to two majority at the board s meeting last week after discussions during the public forum, a presentation by representatives from Auckland Transport and much debate among its members. Cycling lobbyists Tom Ran- som and Tony King-Turner started proceedings with a presentation on the benefits of keeping the road between Surfdale and Blackpool closed to vehicles and reminding board members of the public vote to close the road. They said the route was important in the bid for Wai- heke to be part of the national cycleway network and noted the impact this would make on the island s economy. They said children were using the route to cycle to school and asked that any decision be deferred until after another census could be taken during the summer. Mr Ransom said the pro- jected cost of $2 million to repair the unsealed road would make it a really cheap job . Mr King-Turner said he was opposed to any changes to the status quo unless the board empowers the local community to make the decision . Blackpool resident Sarah Williams took the view the Esplanade should be used by everyone. She says she was devastated when it closed. Let s find a compromise. I d like to see it reopen for everyone to use safely. Auckland Transport traffic operations manager Randhir Karma explained the options Auckland Transport had identified for the road. They went from doing nothing to reopening the road to two- way traffic with a shared path for pedestrians and cyclists at an estimated cost of $6.5 million. In between were the do minimum of maintaining the road and repairing the sea walls, reopening the road to one way vehicular traffic plus a shared path for pedestrians and cyclists and Auckland Transport s preferred option of shared environment . Mr Karma said this would involve creating a low speed road where pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles could share the road safely without the need to delineate. It would take the minimal road widening and be the most cost effective at $2 million. Funding would come from the standard maintenance and renewals budget but the extra costs of traffic calming measures would have to be found, he said. Mr Karma said the road was unsafe and presented quite a risk . Board member Paul Walden told Mr Karma the majority of the public were unhappy with the state of the road before it closed. Mr Karma replied the shared option would see the road widened in some places, the sea walls maintained and localised planting would improve the aesthetics. Board chairwoman Faye Storer reminded everyone the road had been closed as a temporary experiment and only permanently closed after the road had deteriorated. Mr Karma confirmed heavy vehicles could be limited from using the Esplanade using local bylaw. Board deputy chairwoman Jo Holmes asked whether the road could be closed to allow school children to cycle through at certain times of day. Mr Karma replied it was possible but it would be an enforcement issue. Mr Walden asked what the difference was between the shared road and minimum options. Mr Karma said it was just the traffic calming details. Mr Walden put forward a recommendation that Auck- land Transport take the do minimum option so we can thrash this out with the pub- lic . But Mr Karma said it was the job of Auckland Transport to provide a road for all road users. The obligation is for the benefit of all road users. It does not add up, given the number of cyclists who use it, to maintain the road to that standard. Allowing vehicles to use it is our key driver. The board voted to support the shared option of opening the Esplanade to two-way vehicular traffic. Ms Storer, Ms Holmes and Mr McKenzie voted for the shared use and Mr Walden and Mr Hannan voted against. Auckland Transport is expected to make a decision on the Esplanade by the end of July.
June 20th 2012
July 4th 2012