The morning commute from Pāpāmoa to Tauranga's CBD can be a long and drawn-out experience for many motorists.
As part of our series Gridlock – Tauranga's No 1 issue, we talk to a woman who started a job in the CBD and found a way to beat the city congestion.
But her efforts were short-lived after she began receiving threatening letters and copping abuse from people not impressed with her actions.
A Pāpāmoa woman's attempt to do her bit to ease traffic congestion came to a sudden end after she was threatened and abused.
Emmarentia Spies, known as Tia, started a new job in Tauranga's CBD in February. She decided to drive from Pāpāmoa to Matapihi, parking her car at the end of Matapihi Rd and then cycling across the Matapihi rail bridge to work.
The area had become an impromptu "park-and-ride" area for commuters trying to avoid getting stuck in traffic, she said.
"There were heaps of other vehicles there as well. It's not like we got in people's way for anything."
After a couple of weeks, someone placed a note under a wiper blade on Spies' car, asking her to stop parking in the area as it was "not her place".
She didn't listen.
A week later someone left another letter, saying "We are keeping a watch on you", Spies said.
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Four "blokes in a ute" made their presence known the following week.
"They were quite aggressive ... they were really nasty," Spies said.
"Another guy doing the park-and-ride came over and said 'are you okay?', and they were showing him the finger. He [the driver] was just yelling and holding his head out the window as far as he could. He was reaching across the passenger. They were going to force us out of there.
"After that [second] letter and those guys, I'm not going to park there anymore."
Her daughter, who was doing the same to get to the CBD, has also stopped parking in the area.
Spies said it used to take her 25 minutes to get to work. It now takes about an hour through Turret Rd traffic.
"It makes me feel frustrated. I'm a taxpayer, and I pay my bills. I made it convenient for other people by having less people on the roads. You are trying to do your small little bit to help, and it's still not right?"
"They were quite aggressive ... they were really nasty."
Matapihi Residents and Ratepayers Association chairman Greg Milne said the aggressive behaviour was not acceptable, but it showed how passionate locals felt about the issue.
There was not enough space for the number of cars parking in the area, in front of people's berms and driveways, he said.
Milne said he believed people felt their quiet, rural environment was being threatened by the city's growth, triggering the friction. He looked forward to finding a solution that catered for people getting off the roads but without disrupting Matapihi's way of life.
Tauranga City Council acting general manager of infrastructure Martin Parks said the council was aware of the notes and while the council was yet to receive any formal complaints, it had received "a number of emails from both local residents and commuters expressing their opinions on the matter".
Parkes said the council was "aware of the tension and this behaviour" and asked for people's patience while it worked towards an agreeable solution.