An 'infuriated' Mount Maunganui cycling group will protest the scrapping of a trial for a one-way traffic flow and bike cruiseway in Pilot Bay.

A Tauranga City Council transport committee voted on Monday not to go ahead with a six-month trial that would have seen The Mall one-laned for northbound traffic with a two-way cruiseway for cyclists, scooter riders on the beach side of the road.

Transport manager Martin Parkes said the trial had been estimated to cost about $176,000, and another $50,000 (excluding staff time) had been spent to date looking into the idea.

Some Mount Maunganui residents were happy the trial had been canned, but Bike Mount was gearing up to fight the decision.

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Organiser Heidi Hughes said the group would hold an 'all-wheels rally'on Saturday afternoon, with riders gathering in Coronation Park and doing a "leisurely" loop around the peninsula.

She said it was "infuriating" to see the trial, which the group first pitched to the council in 2017, fall over after so much planning.

She said councillors had ignored the advice of their staff and the 70 per cent of public submissions in favour of the idea.

"Not only was a considerable amount of ratepayers' money wasted in this process but the council have showed little faith in the recommendations of their staff and their own democratic process," Hughes said.

The group will protest the scrapping of a trial for a one-way traffic flow and bike cruiseway in Pilot Bay.L-R Russell Langton, Dave MacFarlane (back), Nancy Langton, Heidi Hughes. Photo/ John Borren
The group will protest the scrapping of a trial for a one-way traffic flow and bike cruiseway in Pilot Bay.L-R Russell Langton, Dave MacFarlane (back), Nancy Langton, Heidi Hughes. Photo/ John Borren

"I am so gutted. This was a small, inexpensive trial that could have been a game-changer for this community."

Hughes said parents were afraid to take their children to the Mount on bikes because they would either have to ride between parked cars and traffic or on busy boardwalks where they became a risk to pedestrians.

The cycleway would have fixed that and a trial was the "perfect way" to try it out with little risk.

Others are glad the trial was stopped in its tracks.

Commons Ave resident Fred Greenville said yesterday's call to cancel the six-month trial was "common sense" as it was a "stupid idea".

Greenville, a retired dairy farmer, told councillors it was unfortunate council staff spent money even pursuing the idea.

He said the cycleway would have made it harder for families to visit Pilot Bay by car, and cyclists did not need their own cycleway.

"Cyclists aren't that important. They're the sacred cows of New Zealand. They get everything they damn well want."

Councillor Larry Baldock, who supported the trial with Terry Molloy, said the decision was another example in the trend of the council "starting things, spending money … and then bailing out".

Baldock said he believed the public response for and against the one-way trial was "fairly even" and it wasn't just cyclists who supported the idea.

Councillor Catherine Stewart led the charge against the proposal.

She said it had looked promising when it first came to council, but the loss of a parking space, safety issues with the boat ramp and retaining parallel parking, the potential impact on congestion and the project cost made it untenable in the end.

Committee chairman Rick Curach said he wanted to see council staff focusing on other transport priorities such as commuter cycling, to which the council had committed $100 million over the next decade.

An artist's impression of how the one way system and cycleway could have looked. Supplied/Tauranga City Council
An artist's impression of how the one way system and cycleway could have looked. Supplied/Tauranga City Council

He confirmed the committee's decision on the trial was final and did not need to be confirmed by the full council, though if new information was received a councillor could have it raised again.

Ngāti Kuku supported the trial, but Ngāi Tukairangi "withheld" their support, seeking a "more holistic solution" to the various issues at the Mount, hapū trust chairman Anaru Timutimu told the meeting.

Ingrid Fleming of Mount Mainstreet said there had been businesses both for and against the trial, with varying views on what detriment or improvement it could have made to congestion in the area.

With the trial cancelled, she said she would like to see the council turn its attention to improving the flow into downtown Mount Maunganui through clogged access points including Totara Rd.


How they voted
Should the Pilot Bay one-way trial be cancelled?
Yes: John Robson, Catherine Stewart, Greg Brownless, Steve Morris, Rick Curach
No: Terry Molloy, Larry Baldock

Public feedback

Some 455 submissions were received, 67 per cent for (or for with suggestions) and 33 per cent against.

FOR
- "Safety, less congestion, free-flowing - all great reasons for the one-way system."
- "All the background work has been done - please give it a go, it's a trial."
- "If we can get more people to cycle to the central Mount Maunganui area, there will be less demand for car parking."
- "The area needs a different approach and this may well be it, making it much more of a friendly and pleasurable area for all to use."

AGAINST
- "It is already hard enough for people from Tauranga to get a car park if they want to walk up the Mount."
- "Stop wasting money on pointless trial efforts."
- "The plan discriminates against those of us who use the boat ramp."
- "Traffic will only bank up somewhere else."