Todd Barclay: Help me send a signal on traffic and parking

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The days are getting longer, the weather is getting warmer and summer is definitely on the horizon.

I hate to be cliched, but the year really has flown by.

Here at Parliament, there are just 14 sitting days left until we break for Christmas, but that doesn’t mean things are slowing down by any means.

In fact, in Queenstown especially, things are about to get a whole lot busier for me.

This week, my electronic petition to the New Zealand Transport Agency to ban roadside parking and introduce double lanes along State Highway 6, between Queenstown Airport and the BP roundabout, goes live.

To put it simply, the aim of my petition is to pressure the agency to deliver this work sooner than the five-year timeframe it has indicated.

Over the weekend, I held a public meeting for Frankton residents to discuss my proposal and find out how the traffic congestion and parking along this stretch of road is affecting them.

We had a great turnout, with more than 60 Frankton residents, including Queenstown councillor Alexa Forbes, Frankton Community Association chairman Glyn Lewers and Lake Hayes Community Association chairman Justin Ralston, giving up their Saturday afternoon to discuss this with me.

I was thrilled to receive such great feedback on my petition and unequivocal support from local residents to proceed. Let’s be honest, parking along this stretch of road is a total eyesore and something needs to be done – soon.

With summer fast approaching and the new double-lane bridge to come on stream next year we are only going to see this already serious issue compound further.

For me, it was really important to hear how the directly affected Frankton residents felt about the current situation.

I know that many of Frankton’s residential streets are already heavily congested and I want to ensure that residents are catered for if this call to action is accepted.

As well as support from residents, it is going to be vital that there is cooperation from the transport agency, Queenstown’s council and Queenstown Airport.

Ultimately, we really need to see the agency banning roadside parking, the council coming in to support the local residents with some form of resident parking system and Queenstown Airport increasing its parking capacity.

To this end, I must acknowledge the work of Queenstown Airport CEO Colin Keel to proactively address these issues and listen to the local community with the current construction of an additional 50 carparking spaces, a 10 per cent increase in capacity.

I also appreciate the support of newly-elected Queenstown mayor Jim Boult.

He has told me he will work with council executives to look at how some form of permitted residents parking could be achieved.

It’s also been great to see work officially start on the long-awaited eastern access road and hear the announcement that work will begin in early 2017 to build a second lane on the western side of the roundabout heading into Queenstown.

We’re making progress, but more needs to be done and for this petition to be successful, I need your help and support.

For updates on the petition, head to my Facebook page www.facebook.com/CSToddBarclay. Let’s work together to get this shambles finally sorted.

Todd Barclay is the Clutha-Southland MP