A last-ditch bid has been launched to persuade the New Zealand Transport Agency to build an overbridge from Matapihi to the Bayfair Shopping Centre.
Tauranga City Council's Transport Committee will urge the builders of the $120 million Baypark to Bayfair link to drop its plan for cyclists and pedestrians to navigate a complex set of light-controlled crossings.
Committee chairman Rick Curach will lead a deputation to the agency to argue that the futuristic overbridge designed by Tauranga architect Mark Wassung needed to happen sooner rather than later.
He was responding to an appeal to yesterday's meeting from Heidi Hughes of Bike Mount.
Ms Hughes argued that Mr Wassung's design was a good solution to the alternative of asking children to cross multiple crossings in the middle of a busy intersection.
"This solution is not future-focused," she said. "We are advocating for car dependency with this kind of solution."
Ms Hughes disagreed with fears that the 300m overbridge would be too long for people to use it, saying it would be much better for children and the many elderly people who lived in Bayfair Estate.
"Kids would love it."
Mark Haseley from the New Zealand Transport Agency said the pedestrian and cycle crossing was the result of decisions made two to three years ago. It was about economic productivity and the efficient flow of freight to the port. There was not much of an emphasis on cycling and walking.
However, he assured Ms Hughes that "the door is still open to these ideas" as long as it made sense and stacked up economically.
Mr Haseley said they had done a lot more thinking on what was best practice for cyclists and they were a lot more knowledgeable than three years ago.
However, they were in the final design phase of the Bayfair to Baypark project. "This is the last point that we can make any changes, so timing is of the essence."
Ms Hughes also advocated building cycleways separated from road traffic along Links Ave, Golf Rd and Oceanbeach Rd. Oceanbeach Rd was so dangerous that everyone rode on the footpath, she said.
Councillor Steve Morris saw problems with getting the community on side with the idea of creating a clearway along Oceanbeach Rd to create a cycle lane. The development of multiple units meant there was limited space for parking and cars ended up being parked on the road.
"There are quite a lot of parked cars for a lot of the time."
Ms Hughes said the council could trial a two-hour clearway. "There would be pushback and maybe it is not the permanent solution."
She described Links Ave as an "absolute shocker" for children because of its narrow footpaths and large number of "hoon" drivers. She wanted a shared cycling and walking path along Links Ave put into the council's Annual Plan for 2018-19.
Proposed Bayfair pedestrian overbridge
Clearance: 6.7m above the new road flyover.