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Bus route takes toll on street parking

Flagstaff Team

Auckland Transport proposes to remove 53 street parking spaces, mostly from Ngataringa Rd to smooth the passage of the 805 bus.

Most of the parks would be lost from near the Ryman’s William Sanders Retirement Village, outside which new bus stops and shelters would be sited.

Selected other parks would go around the neighbourhood, mostly near the street corners of Wesley St and Aramoana Ave, Aramoana and Regent St, and Regent and Kawerau Ave.

AT also proposes to remove car parking outside the liquor store on Lake Rd, where the bus turns left out of Kawerau Ave. This has sparked concerns from locals that it will become difficult for people to park near the pharmacy on the block, although AT says two parks will remain in front of it behind the bus stop.

But another heritage bus-stop at 2A Wesley St will be removed under the proposals (see story below).

A resident of Ngataringa Rd who unsuccessfully opposed earlier AT moves to extend yellow lines on the road near its junction with Lake Rd said she considered the proposed further loss of parking was a “done deal”. Ryman residents had known about it for months, she said.

Another local expressed concern that parking in what were once quiet side streets would become even more difficult for residents and their visitors, given the number of vehicles parked there already by Ryman construction and village staff.

AT wrote to residents along the route on 2 November asking for their feedback to its plans. They were given until 17 November to respond.

The 805 route starts at the Devonport ferry terminal and runs to Belmont and return. It turns off Lake Rd into Ngataringa Rd, runs through the back streets and then back up to Lake Rd. It is a weekday, daytime-only, hourly service devised last year after the axing of the AT Local ride-share service.

Commuters say the route is of no use to them or to school children in the mornings because the buses start too late in the day. The first service normally leaves Devonport at 9.15am and the last at 3.15pm. From Belmont, it starts the return leg at 9.55am, with the last bus leaving there at 3.55pm.

However, the service ceased temporarily in mid-August when Alert Level 4 was imposed. Patronage had been low but AT said it expected use to grow with Ryman’s reaching full occupancy. The hourly service resumed on a limited timetable on Wednesday this week, ending two hours earlier than normal. Full timetables will return, but a date for this has not been set.

AT says the changes it proposes along the route are upgrades necessary to bring the roads up to standard. They would “ensure safer driving routes for buses, better visibility for vehicles, and ensure buses can travel easily along the route,” it said in its letter to residents. “We would like to know if you think so too.”

The new bus shelters to be built in front of the Ryman village (replacing and relocating redundant stops from a previous bus service), will be serviced by a pedestrian refuge island to make crossing Ngataringa Rd safer. A new footpath will also be installed..

No stopping at all times is proposed to be marked with broken yellow lines on this block of Ngataringa Rd. Other smaller no-stopping sections would be opposite 76 Lake Rd (the liquor store), outside 20 Kawerau Ave, outside and opposite 10A Regent St, outside 18, 19, 34, 35, 36 and 36a Aramoana Ave, outside and opposite 38 Aramoana Ave, and outside 4 Wesley St.

While AT acknowledged the changes would see 53 parks go, it said on-street parking would remain available in the wider area.

AT said it would consider feedback before making final decisions.

Heritage shelter ‘should stay’

Fears an attractive heritage bus shelter faces the scrapheap have prompted Aramoana Ave resident John Allen (pictured above) to speak out.

The wooden shelter, one of a number with tiled roofs in the wider Devonport area, is proposed for removal by Auckland Transport (AT).

“It should remain,” retired scientist Allen told the Flagstaff. “The Wesley St bus shelter is a historic building and local icon.”

Just a few years ago, the shelter was decorated with murals. One side features greenery and the other a kereru.

The shelter’s removal, with the bus stop to be resited, is among controversial proposals put up by AT in a rejig of the 805 bus route.

Allen, a local resident since 1986, said he was concerned that AT’s letter to residents, which invites their views on loss of parking and other changes, is far from clear about all the proposals. This includes the position of new bus stops and why yellow lines are being extended so far around corners.

The bus timetable was also something he queried. When he used to work in the city a commuter bus on the route was well used. But the 805 was timetabled for off-peak hours only. “It seems to be designed to service Ryman primarily, not commuters,” Allen said.

Aside from querying public-transport decision-making, Allen said he wanted to raise awareness about the bus shelter and try to safeguard its future. He believes there would be no traffic safety issue leaving it where it is, as a place for pedestrians to rest.

An AT spokesperson said that although the shelter’s removal was proposed, members who wished to suggest alternative uses could do so as part of a submission.

Devonport-Takapuna Local Board member Trish Deans aid she would ensure the board made a submission to AT.

It was important the shelters be protected, as they were valued by the community and part of the peninsula’s character, she said.

The Devonport Flagstaff can be downloaded online here.

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