A popular shortcut for Tauranga commuters looking to avoid traffic jams on 15th Ave has been open again for a couple of days, but it appears not everyone knows about it.
Yesterday evening the majority of traffic heading towards Turret Rd was still on 15th Ave, with a long line of cars crawling down the hill towards the water.
Entry to Turret Rd from 14th Ave was closed for six weeks as part of a Tauranga City Council trial aimed at measuring the impact of congestion in the 15th Ave area.
Council transportation manager Martin Parkes said the barriers came down on Monday morning and things were back to normal.
"We are analysing the data now so we should have that back just before Christmas or New Year," he said.
"The feedback has been mixed. We've had positive comments and negative comments – about a 50/50 split."
Parkes said the data would tell the story and help the council determine a way forward "to increase the efficiency of the network on that route".
While there was a steady flow of cars travelling down 13th and 14th Avenues using the reopened shortcut to Turret Rd yesterday, there were never enough to cause much of a backlog.
Those cars were having no trouble merging with the vehicles coming down 15th Ave and there were quiet periods with no cars waiting to merge at all.
However, there were vehicles backed up on Fraser St towards 15th Ave and many motorists could be seen turning towards the stalled traffic and away from the shortcut – seemingly unaware it had been reopened.
Avenues Residents Association spokesman Phil Green said he had not received a lot of feedback during the council trial but some residents had noticed traffic on Harvey St increasing.
"More people were going from Fraser down Harvey and then racing through Grace Ave – trying any sort of little bolthole they could to get a few seconds ahead."
Green said residents were waiting for the council evaluation to see what would happen with that area, and how soon or how far away the alteration to 15th Ave, or any of those intersections, would take place.
He said the council should not just look at the amount of traffic and where the traffic flows were, but also how it could manage traffic better on the main arterial roads.
"That could be the timing of the lights, it could be other measures like free left turns.
"Maybe if Fraser St is going to increase even more in traffic, those Avenues all need free left turns so the people coming out of the Avenues can flow in and out a little bit better."
Green said 15th Ave needed to be four lanes.
He said with the increase in traffic and also the time spent waiting at traffic lights, residents had also seen "an extreme change in the amount of people who run orange and red lights" in the area.
"It's becoming really dangerous," Green said.
He said it had got worse in the past six weeks with the build-up of traffic, especially at the Fraser St/15th Ave lights where sometimes only two or three cars were getting through at a time on a turning lane.
"That intersection, during peak times, is blocked with traffic."
Green said there also needed to be a continued focus on park and rides and other methods of reducing the number of work commuters driving into town.