Drive for Queenstown traffic solutions


Councillors and the public thrashed out possible solutions to Queenstown traffic at a transport strategy meeting on Friday.

Increasing public transport services, introducing a park-and-ride service, upgrading cycle networks and utilising new technologies such as Uber and e-bikes were among the options mooted at the Queenstown Lakes District Council meeting.

Chaired by mayor Vanessa van Uden, the hearing panel comprised councillors Lyal Cocks, Alexa Forbes and Merv Aoake.

Submitters said answers were needed quickly to solve problems for both residents and visitors.

Jay Cassells, speaking on behalf of Friends of the Gardens, said he worried the plan was like trying to deal with one stretch of river rather than the entire system.

He said Queenstown was struggling with congestion and parking.

He requested the Queenstown Gardens continue to receive special treatment and said a balance was needed between providing parking for commuters and those visiting the gardens.

Lake Hayes resident Jenny Carter said the issue was affecting the quality of life of ratepayers.

“We all stream out of Lake Hayes Estate each morning, joining the crawling traffic from Cromwell and Arrowtown to all gradually move towards Frankton, where we part ways.”

She said the increase in traffic should surprise no-one.

“If you make zone changes that enable the development of 450, then 750, households in a location 10km from any place of work, it is clear you will have increased traffic and that you will need to plan for this.”

The development at Bridesdale Farm would only add to the problem, she said.

She urged the council not to look at the CBD in isolation and said the strategy needed to encompass the wider Queenstown area, including Frankton, Lake Hayes Estate, Shotover Country and Jacks Point.

Queenstown lawyer Graeme Todd, in a personal submission, said the time had come for the council, Otago Regional Council and New Zealand Transport Agency to come together to find a solution to traffic problems.

“Time and time again we are hearing about the issues, but we don’t get a resolution. A bold decision needs to be made.”

Van Uden said this was already happening but perhaps it was not being communicated well enough.

Addressing criticism over the frequency of public transport, Connectabus owner Ewen McCammon stressed some bus delays were because drivers were stuck in traffic jams.

“Give us a right of way and we will be there. It is only the traffic that makes us wait,” he said.