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Finding the balance between public transport and motorists.

Last week I launched a petition calling on Auckland Transport (AT) to remove the T2/Bus lane on Pakuranga Road and restore its use to everyday motorists.

Many of you have been in touch since to share your views, and it seems the vast majority of you agree with this stance. I launched the petition in large part because members of the community were complaining about the lane, and now the goal is to encourage as many people as we can to sign.

I want to be clear that my issue is not with finding ways to improve the patronage on public transport; I fully support this goal. My concern all along has been with a poorly thought through solution, that in its current form will make no positive difference.

This is a concern that I, along with hundreds of local residents, tried to share with AT at a public meeting earlier this year. Most of those who attended did not oppose the idea of improving public transport but knew from experience that the proposed T2/Bus lane would not achieve this aim.

Dedicated busways are only effective when they are built alongside existing roads, instead of replacing them. The fact is that over 90% of people in Pakuranga travelling to work do so by private vehicle, and while I support the goal of reducing that number it is not going to happen without real and efficient solutions.

This is why I support the AMETI/Eastern Busway project. I'm disappointed that Lagoon Drive will lose a lane, but overall the project will help buses run efficiently and thus encourage more people to use them.

The Reeves Road Flyover is another important piece to this puzzle, however it has recently become apparent that Auckland Transport will be delaying this project from a completion date of 2022, to one now of 2025.

I am strongly of the view that the key to unlocking the congestion issues around Pakuranga is not one or the other when it comes to roads or public transport, but a careful balance between the two. It's precisely why the Eastern Busway and Reeves Road Flyover are so important, with the Flyover complementing the Busway by allowing it to run smoothly underneath without competing traffic flows.

The current Council and Government are far too focused on just the one transport solution, public transport, and don't seem to care about the majority of people who use their own vehicles. We all know transport is not an easily solved problem, but if we're ever going to come close, we need to consider all modes of transport together.

Please sign the petition at simeonbrown.national.org.nz.

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