The ongoing saga of a permanent bus facility on Farm St in Arataki is continuing with Tauranga City Council and Bayfair shopping centre teaming up to explore land options.
Residents of Farm St and adjacent streets were updated on the status of the Arataki bus facility during a "drop in" session with Tauranga City Council yesterday.
Residents of Farm St have resisted having major bus interchange located on the residential street.
The council said it was currently working with Bayfair Shopping Centre, to explore the viability of a bus facility on Bayfair owned land and to work through possible options.
General manager of strategy and growth Christine Jones was unable to provide any further information as to whether the land being investigated would be accessed by Farm St.
The Tauranga City Council said in a statement over the past few years, the council had investigated a number of locations for a permanent facility in the Arataki area.
Land adjoining Farm St was one of the recommended options in a report produced by Abley transport consultants. Other options were also explored, including siting the Arataki bus facility on council-owned land on the west side of Maunganui Rd, the statement said.
Initial findings indicated that the latter was not attractive from a user perspective.
Additionally, the recent decision by NZ Transport Agency not to proceed with a pedestrian underpass significantly affects the accessibility of that site.
Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless said the council was keen to find a permanent home for the bus facility, to minimise impact for residents Farm St and surrounding residential areas.
"During this process, we will continue to engage with local residents, businesses and bus users, to ensure that any final decision reached offers the best possible outcomes for the community. Also it is important to note that other options are still being considered," Brownless said in the statement.
Bayfair was a key destination for many of their bus services with more than 155,000 passengers boarding here per year and a further 30,000 transfers had happened there since December 10 last year.
During the "drop in" session in Arataki, residents shared concerns about the current temporary situation on Farm and surrounding streets. Until a decision on the permanent facility was made, Tauranga City Council's road safety and traffic engineers would be looking at measures to address the current safety concerns of residents.
Meanwhile, Tauranga City Council said it would continue work on the wider Arataki transport network to improve the area for people walking, cycling and using buses while at the same time seeking to reduce the number of vehicles using the suburban streets for "rat running".
More information about the results of the modelling investigations around the potential location of the bus facility will be discussed at the Urban Form and Transport Development (UFTD) committee meeting next Tuesday .