Auckland Transport is beginning to win friends in the city's eastern suburbs after changing tack over plans to remove car parks for safety improvements.
The council's transport arm has dropped a proposal for road safety measures in Mission Bay in its current form and set up a working party with local business and residents to nut out a solution both sides can live with.
The new approach comes after calls for AT to change an "arrogant" culture following an angry response to safety improvements in the nearby seaside village of St Heliers and concerns it does not listen to people.
"Auckland Transport has freely admitted they got it wrong in terms of their presentation, they got everybody's backs up," said Mission Bay-Kohimarama Residents Association chairman Don Stock.
AT proposed nine new raised pedestrian crossings and a new roundabout on Tamaki Drive in Mission Bay that would lead to the loss of 34 car parks.
Stock said that during public consultation on the plans, AT staff gave assurances it was a set of proposals only, not a fait accompli and they were going out for feedback and were prepared to listen.
"There were a lot of people who were sceptical about that. But we chose in our strategy to try to take them at their word," said Stock, adding a decision was taken not to follow St Heliers and hold a public meeting attended by more than 600 angry residents.
He is cautiously optimistic the parties will find a solution, starting with an independent assessment of AT's data to see if there is a problem that needs fixing.
If the parties agree on the data and it identifies some safety risks, they will agree on what actions are necessary for Mission Bay, Stock said.
Auckland Transport chief executive Shane Ellison told the Herald he could not recall saying AT had got its presentation wrong, but "in a perfect world we could have engaged differently with the likes of the business and residents associations in Mission Bay and St Heliers".
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"We acknowledge that but also note that our road safety team have been asked by Auckland Council to take a Vision Zero approach and urgently stem the number of people being maimed or killed on our roads every week – it's a challenging task they face,' Ellison said.
He said the reason AT does consultation on proposals like Mission Bay rather than going straight to letting contracts is to get the views of those living in local communities.
"Despite the fact that we often don't have to consult, we do because local communities bring perspectives that our people don't have. The Mission Bay and Kohimarama Residents Association and the Mission Bay Business Association and a number of others have brought those local perspectives with their constructive consultation submissions," said the transport boss.
He said the widely consulted Auckland Plan required a move to a safe transport network free from death and serious injury and included measures like appropriate speed limits in high risk locations.
St Heliers Village Business Association chairman Peter Jones said good progress is being made with AT since consultation on controversial plans for 12 new raised pedestrian crossings and the loss of 40 car parks.