A proposed new bus stop on Wairau Drive, Tikipunga will avoid dangerous road crossing and support local community independence and accessibly in fast growing part of Whangarei.
Last week, Bupa Totara Gardens Retirement Village welcomed Dr Shane Reti who presented a proposal to petition for a new bus stop and route near the village located on Wairau Drive, Tikipunga.
His proposal follows Village Manager Jessie Beddis contacting the local MP and members of Council to request consideration of new bus stop on Wairau Drive after residents expressed safety concerns at not having any local public transport links, having to walk considerable distances and cross a busy road.
“Wairau Drive, Tikipunga needs a bus stop and a bus route. It’s a fast-growing community that includes a vulnerable population and we need to provide them with safe convenient public transport solutions.”Dr Reti
On the weekend, Dr Reti presented to some of the residents the feedback from community door knocking over the Christmas and New Year period, a sample of existing bus routes and a proposed bus route and bus stops that could be considered as part of the council’s strategic plan.
“It’s clear, from talking to residents and the local community that public transport options in the Tikipunga area need to be improved. This is a fast-growing community which is only getting larger, and it needs to have access to the local bus service,”Dr Reti
Bupa Totara Gardens Village Manager Jessie Beddis says the village residents have been the driving force behind the petition with the closest bus stop on Wairau Drive requiring Totara Gardens residents and the local community to cross busy roads with limited pedestrian crossings.
“It’s dangerous out there when considering our residents’ decreased mobility and awareness. There have been several close calls as our residents have tried to navigate crossing near the roundabout located at the entrance of Totara Parklands. We’ve got to find a safer way for our people and the local community to get around,” she says.
Beddis says public transport is critical in supporting independence for elderly people and the local community, particularly those who can no longer drive or feel confident doing so. The nearest bus stop is at least a 20-minute walk for residents, made difficult in wet weather or when carrying bags.
She says, “A bus stop would improve accessibility to the wider community, town centre, supermarkets, hospital visits, the library and banks. It would benefit not only our residents but the local community.”
“There is a significant number of people who would use this bus stop. When we’ve finished development at Bupa Totara Gardens, we will have over 200 people, and the wider Totara Parklands community is expanding rapidly with several subdivisions still to be completed, and a day care across the road.
“A bus stop will provide a cost-effective method of transportation for our residents, local families and the communities particularly at a time of rising fuel and living costs.
Beddis says reception to her proposal for a bus stop has been positive, “It was great to have Dr Reti visit us and present a solution. The local MP and council have also been receptive and we’re looking forward to meeting with Whangarei Regional Council in the coming weeks to present our plan,” she says.