Residents call for road safety

By John Cousins


Rapid development has caught up with the eastern end of Papamoa Beach Rd, and residents are calling for action to improve safety, speeds and noise.

The newly formed Papamoa Evacuation and Road Safety Group said there was no safe way to cross Papamoa Beach Rd for the seven kilometres between Domain Rd and Golden Sands Drive. "This includes children at the three schools who live on the beach side of the road," group spokesman Paul Melhuish told the council this week.

He was accompanied to the Annual Plan hearings by another member, Rick Hannay, who said afterwards the anxiety in Papamoa East was resonating widely and being understood by the council.

Mr Melhuish urged the council to install crossings, traffic islands and speed humps on Papamoa Beach Rd to slow down traffic and protect pedestrians. It was no longer a sleepy access road to a few dwellings but a road used by all residents in a rapidly developing area, along with large volumes of trucks and buses, he said. "This has significant effects on those living next to this road as noise becomes a health issue." He said the rough chip seal was no longer suitable and smooth asphalt needed to be laid as soon as possible.

The group also submitted that Parton Rd was inadequate to handle the evacuation of all the residents of Papamoa East in a natural disaster such as a tsunami. It asked the council and developers to have Golden Sands Drive completed to its junction with Te Okuroa Drive much earlier than the proposed 10 years.

Mr Melhuish said that would provide a second route that took people a good distance inland, close to the Tauranga Eastern Link which could then be accessed by an on-ramp or steps.

Mayor Stuart Crosby responded that Papamoa Beach Rd had recently been relaid in a chip seal and it took time for things to settle down. Traffic volumes had not reached the level where the council would consider laying hot mix. However, council traffic engineers would look at overlaying the chips with another product that altered the surface and significantly reduced noise.

The council also agreed to change the location of its speed measuring device after complaints that it was too close to Parton Rd and cars were slowing down anyway. If it showed that average speeds were exceeding 50km/h and 60km/h along Papamoa Beach Rd, then the council would take action and work with the police on enforcement.

Mr Crosby said the completion of Golden Sands Drive would depend on the pace of development. What was being proposed was to build collector roads first and do the development later. The council risked being "hung out to dry" financially under that scenario if no one came along to buy the sections along the route.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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