Greerton residents say major roadworks at one of Tauranga's most dangerous intersections have turned the usual cheerful village into a "slum" and ruined businesses.
A petition will be presented to the Tauranga City Council next week calling for urgent remedial work on a roading project involving Cameron Rd and Chadwick Rd.
The presentation comes 10 months after the first of the traffic safety improvements began. Cameron Rd's double-laning was whittled to a single lane, carparks were removed, access from Cornwall St to Cameron Rd north was blocked and a controlled pedestrian crossing was established at the fringe of the Chadwick Rd roundabout. The crossing resulted in traffic backed up through the roundabout, stretching as far south as Barkes Corner and as far north as Church St.
In that time, the council received nine complaints.
Pensioner Yvonne Gibson spent three days collecting 695 signatures on a petition calling for the council to remedy the traffic project. The petition will be formally presented to the council's Transport Committee at a meeting on Tuesday.
"I had to do it. This is just bloody ridiculous. We want our road back," she said.
One of those signatures belonged to Les Wallen, who will speak at Tuesday's meeting.
Wallen wants a reversal of the safety improvements, which the council states was aimed at retaining Greerton's "village feel".
"Tauranga is a major, major city in this country and Greerton is a major suburb. It's not a little village any more," Wallen said.
The works have detracted customers and foot traffic to such a point, Greerton was turning into a "slum", he said.
Wallen planned to put an ultimatum to councillors, asking them to "give our road back" or resign.
"The people don't want this."
Wallen, a pastor, said dealing with the new road layouts and congestion every day was "infuriating".
"They've at least doubled the amount of traffic on Cameron Rd [coming from Cornwall St] but reduced its capacity by half by removing a lane.
"It's so stupid what they have done. I can't get over the insanity of the decision that they made."
Motorists frustrated at increased congestion now avoided the area and businesses have previously told the Bay of Plenty Times of downturns of up to 80 per cent , with one retailer taking up a second job to help make ends meet.
Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless said he was aware people were not happy with the project, specifically the relocated pedestrian crossing.
"There are things we definitely need to look at, where there are problems such as the pedestrian crossing. We simply can't leave it as is, I think."
In a council meeting on Tuesday, Greerton Village Community Association manager Sally Benning told the mayor there were mixed views and some people thought the works were good because it was now safer for pedestrians, he said.
From 2012 to 2017, there were 70 crashes in Greerton and two of the most serious involved people who were not in cars.
Acting general manager of infrastructure Martin Parkes said the Cameron Rd and Chadwick Rd roundabout remained the second-worst location in the council's road network for serious, minor and non-injury crashes.
Parkes said the works were aimed at improving safety and, from the outset, the project outcomes were agreed with the Greerton community, following consultation which began in 2015.
"This major design work was done to address community concerns about the importance of retaining the 'village feel' and improving safety within Greerton village."
The works were not aimed at addressing traffic congestion, which was common across the city, he said.
However, the council was closely monitoring the performance of the project, "in particular the new light-controlled pedestrian crossing".
The project has been subject to safety audits and designed in accordance with national standards, Parkes said.
In a December Bay of Plenty Times survey of Cameron Rd businesses and people 14 of 15 respondents were unhappy with the roading project. There was one positive response, from a business owner who is also on the Greerton Village Association board.
Tuesday's meeting is open to public and begins at 1pm.
Tauranga City Council's desired outcomes of roadworks project
- Improve general road safety of the Cameron Rd/Chadwick Rd intersection
- Improve safety to people moving through the area by foot, bike or mobility scooter
- Protect most of the trees
- Provide additional greenspace and trees
- Provide new cycle facilities
- Retain "village feel"
- New "hot mix" road surface
Source - Tauranga City Council