Residents of the northern suburbs will be acutely aware of the traffic problems both inside and outside The Base at certain times of the week – Saturdays regularly being a problem.
Original calculations of the number of vehicles using the Base and the access roads to it – provided to the City Council and the NZ Transport Agency at the time consents were applied for - were obviously inaccurate, and roads and intersections were therefore not built to cope with the volumes we see on occasions.
This problem is likely to worsen in the near future as the following developments – none of which can legally be stopped – get built and start operating:
• Farmers Mall at The Base (with nearly 1,000 extra carparks)
• New development at the Base to the north of Mitre 10
• Countdown Supermarket across the highway from The Base entrance
• 5 new office blocks at the corner of Church & Maui Sts
• Large petrol station on the corner of Te Kowhai Rd and the Highway
In addition, Council is aware that The Base intends to put further developments in the north east corner of their site (in front of Mitre 10), the owners of the Eagle Spares site across the Highway are looking to develop that, and a number of new smaller developments are happening down The Boulevard past Harvey Norman.
The new Te Rapa Bypass, taking the current highway from Horotiu to Avalon Drive, to the west away from this area is 3-4 years away from completion, and will probably only help the Council mark time with traffic growth in the north.
One of the major causes of the problems in the area has been the unwillingness of The Base owners to inform Council as to their full plans for the whole site – they are ‘drip-feeding’ development applications segment by segment without ever giving the full picture. This has meant that it is impossible to properly plan for traffic growth and other transport options in the area, as The Base is the major player, and what it does affects everyone else. While they contributed in a small way to the cost of new intersections outside The Base when it first started, traffic growth generated by their development has outstripped capacity of the roads and public transport services.
The City Council is grappling with how to get this problem area under control, so residents and businesses travelling through the area are not adversely affected more than at present – watch this space!