First, I would like to congratulate Mayor Greg Brownless for his article (Opinion, May 1). This is a good start to a conversation we need to have about transport in Tauranga. Did you know our average vehicle occupancy is just 1.1 people per vehicle? It is probably the worst in New Zealand.
What Mayor Brownless leaves out is that he and his councillors have the means and authority to make a really good start on changing travel behaviour.
Smart parking is a system that would allow variable charging through the day, depending on location, so that we achieve greater turnover of parks. Eighty-five per cent occupancy is the optimum number of parks occupied so that drivers can easily find a park, and charges are varied depending on location and parking demand through the day. This "system" will help retail in the CBD by encouraging vehicle turnover.
Another initiative he could try is special parks for vehicles with two, three or more people in them. Called T2, T3 etc, these special parks would provide ready parking and a discount to people who ride-share. An incentive for those who don't travel alone.
Personally, I would love to see Mayor Brownless "have a go" with these initiatives. For the record, a group of us regularly bus or ride-share from Katikati to Tauranga.
Road transportation model flawed
Recent suggestions for Tauranga and the regional transport solutions include a Kaimai road tunnel, multi-lane freeways, bus transfer stations, motorways and bypasses.
Noticeably all are roading based, with associated problems of congestion, accidents, high costs of maintenance, continuous pollution and inefficiency.
Overwhelming evidence proves this road transportation model is flawed, so why are authorities politicians and planners irresponsibly still pursuing this dead end?
Simple answer, in my view, politics, profits, plus other reasons.
Realising rails efficiency and ultimate freight dependence for Port of Tauranga, they are very reluctant to lose their monopoly, which seems obviously threatened by passenger rail.
However, the railways constructed as a public asset must develop for sustainable passenger rail transport. In reality, there is no time for delay as Earth's destabilisation will eventually force the direction regardless and irrespective of profits.
Essentially, all life requires a healthy habitable planet to survive and we have only our wonderful Earth.
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