Public Works Act Land Acquisitions

TPOG (Te Atatu Property Owners Group)

 

 Deputation to Henderson-Massey Local Board 1st December 2011

 

From Gary Osborne

 

As a property owner who stands to lose a chunk of his land I believe it is important for me to express my feelings on the effectiveness of that loss of land.

 

On 20 September a letter was sent to affected property owners under the heading CONSULTATION advising them of an intention to purchase parts of their properties as Auckland Transport was planning to upgrade Te Atatu Rd. The letter stated the route along Te Atatu and Edmonton Rds experiences a high level of traffic on a daily basis. I agree and that has led to numerous accidents. By way of illustration, just two weeks ago a truck and trailer jack-knifed on Te Atatu Rd and led to a two hour backlog of traffic on the North Western motorway with traffic ground to a stand-still.

 

The reason I am opposed to the planned “improvement” is because it fails to meet both of its major aims:

  1. Improved traffic flow
  2. Safety

As far as improved traffic flow goes there is no intention to increase the number of vehicle lanes. I therefore do not accept the flow of traffic will improve. As far as safety is concerned, the introduction of 2 cycle lanes will encourage cyclists to use the road, in the belief that the official cycle lanes give them special road user rights. With the belief that one is right often comes the false assumption that one is safe. It is my belief that if these cycle lanes go ahead in their proposed form, they are an accident waiting to happen and it won’t be long before there’s a major cycle accident. I hope I’m not here addressing this Board within the next 12 months saying “I told you so.”

This is one of the busiest arterial routes in Auckland, not just Waitakere but Auckland. I understand a major influence on the intention to introduce the cycle lanes is the attraction of a huge government subsidy that, without cycle lanes, will not be available.

 

How am I affected?

My garage door is 6m from my boundary. If 2.88m of my property frontage is taken I will lose effective vehicle access to my garage. The only way to use it will be to drive in front-wards and back out on to the main road when exiting. That is a highly dangerous manoeuvre. My dwelling was built in 1961.

Following my attendance at the Drop-In-Day on 1 October, I had an on-site inspection by Stuart Penfold on 10 October. He told me he was unable to enter into any discussion.

 

On 19 October property owners received Access Agreement forms asking them to sign over wide-ranging access rights to their properties for a period of 2 years including bringing vehicles, machinery and equipment onto the property. The goodwill consideration for the owners’ acquiescence – the princely sum of 10 cents.

Then a week later Michael Riley, Property Specialist, wrote to me saying “the time taken for negotiation does largely depend on the property owner’s preparedness to negotiate in good faith.” In the same letter he advised me formal negotiations would not begin until February 2012 and I would not be negotiating with Auckland Transport but with Auckland Properties Ltd. 

 

On 14 November Darryl Griffin, Manager Democracy Services, advised me “I do not consider that there is any reason why Auckland Transport would revisit the decision for construction of cycle lanes on both sides of Te Atatu Rd. It appears that this hinges on whether the finalisation of the cycle lanes required a further political decision, or whether there was a mandate to proceed and to incorporate the outcome of the Councillor/Community Board workshops without a further political decision.”

 

In other words, to hell with the fact that public submissions don’t close until 21 November, that’s only being done as a PR exercise anyway!

 

As I see it this project fails to meet its stated aims:

  1. Improved Traffic Flow
  2. Safety

Therefore I am opposed to it. I do not accept that the perceived social good outweighs the personal sacrifices that I and many other property owners will have to make.

 

From Anne Langford

 

As a resident of Te Atatu Road, I am totally opposed to cycle lanes on this very busy, congested and dangerous road.  I do not believe enough forethought and consideration has been put into this project.

Whilst I’m not opposed to cyclists having cycle lanes, I will not  condone cycle lanes which are a potential death trap.  37,000 cars travel on this section of Te Atatu Road a day. Putting cyclists next to automobiles is irresponsible.  Cycle lanes should be as far away from motorists as possible.  Tamaki Drive is a good lesson in possible carnage.  Just last week a cyclist was hit on Te Atatu Rd and had to be taken away by ambulance.  Of all the properties on Te Atatu Rd, I have the most visibility of oncoming pedestrians and cyclists. Three weeks ago, as I meandered down my driveway to enter the road, all footpath traffic was clear. I stopped at the road, looked right, and when I looked left, there was a kid on his cycle plastered up against my passenger window, hanging on for grim death to his handlebars. Where he came from, I’ll never know.

The NW motorway cycle lanes are a good example of what a good cycle lane looks like: far enough away from traffic to be safe, and protected by a fence. Why can’t this cycle lane be extended through the back roads of Te Atatu, through council land, with a cycle bridge over Henderson Creek to Central Park Drive, or one over the Whau River to Glen Marine? This would provide cyclists with a safer and scenic route into Henderson or Te Atatu.

Another issue which I’m very concerned about with these road improvements, is my access to the road.  At present it is next to impossible to enter the road without the generosity of motorists and the traffic lights. 90% of motorists will move forward or backwards to let me out as they are at the lights and are going nowhere.  However, there have been many instances when once the cars are parted, I then see a cyclist coming down the footpath and then have to wave to the motorists that I can’t pull out, but thank you anyway.  If these new cycle lanes promote more cyclists to use Te Atatu Road, any chance of my pulling out will be doomed. This will apply to both residents and businesses on this road.

If what the engineers  say is true, that the new lights at Te Atatu and Veras Rds and at the roundabout near Countdown  improve traffic flow,  maybe my ability to access the road is finished. Presently, if I wish to turn right from my property to go to the motorway, I have to go left, up to the roundabout and come down that way to the motorway.  How will I do that now if there are lights up at the Countdown end?  Travel down Te Atatu Rd or Edmonton Rd, find a space in the traffic and pull into someone’s driveway and turn around.  If the traffic is flowing like they say it will be, there will be no way I can pull out on to the median strip on Te Atatu Rd to get across the road.  And increased cyclists will certainly seal off that opportunity for me.

I think it’s about time that a long-term approach be taken to fixing the Te Atatu Rd bottleneck instead of a way out-of-date fix that might generate more problems than it is worth. Let us put the money allocated for this project towards  something that will improve the gateway to the West for years to come and get the bulk of the traffic off Te Atatu Rd so that it can be used by cyclists, if they wish.

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