Residents fired up over bus priority plan

PUBLIC TRANSPORT: The Main North Rd overhaul is a city council proposal that aims to give buses priority. PHOTO: MARTIN HUNTER

Papanui residents are angry access to their street could be restricted by a plan to prioritise buses on Main North Rd.

They say the city council’s proposal to put restraints on right turns into Grassmere St as part of the upgrade will restrict access.

However, city council manager transport, planning and delivery Lynette Ellis said residents had only expressed concern about left turns into and out of Grassmere St. Left hand turns would not be restricted, she said.

Ms Ellis has the backing of Papanui city councillor Mike Davidson, who said the proposal was “pretty close” to what the residents want.

The plan includes new full-time bus lanes on Main North Rd – with two options for an upgrade at the Grassmere St intersection.

CONSTRUCTION: Grassmere St is up for more work with the new Main North Rd overhaul. Resident Murray Turley isn’t happy. PHOTO: MARTIN HUNTER

The first is a pedestrian island, the other a new set of traffic lights. The pedestrian island would see vehicles unable to turn right off Main North Rd into Grassmere St. Lights would mean no right turn into or out of Grassmere St.

Grassmere St resident Murray Turley said during the construction of the Papanui Parallel cycleway in April, the city council “promised unrestricted access” to the group of concerned residents. He said that meant maintaining both turns in and out of Grassmere St.

“We were promised unrestricted access and now they’re completely restricting it.”

He said Ms Ellis’ claim that residents were only concerned about left turns was incorrect.

Ms Ellis said the proposal includes the restricted turns for Grassmere St because of the available width on Main North Rd for the bus lane. She said it was necessary to avoid “significant delays” to traffic. Cr Davidson said the proposal is not “set in stone” so changes could be made.

The public can have their say on the plan via the city council website until November 17.