Onewa Rd in Northcote is renowned for its long morning traffic queues, almost matched by similar congestion on the return trip.
St Mary's Catholic Church and Primary School on Onewa Rd knows the problem all too well. Parents battle the traffic in the mornings and afternoons, dropping or walking children to school or the nearby childcare centre. Northcote College is also on this road, adding to pedestrian traffic.
Gladstone Rd residents and churchgoers are horrified at a proposal to turn an existing warehouse into a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week petrol station at 119 Onewa Rd, on the corner of Gladstone, right next door to the church.
"Onewa Rd is already very busy. It's congested in the morning. It's congested at night. And I just think another into-and-out in that area is not good in terms of traffic flow," says resident Jane Addington.
St Mary's priest Craig Dunford says the community learned of the application only because the developer had to ask the church's permission to build close to its boundary.
"We've said quite clearly that 'No, we are not going to give our permission'," he says.
Auckland Council received a resource consent application on July 30 for the proposed redevelopment of the site, says Heather Harris, a council resource consent manager. The proposal includes demolishing an existing warehouse and putting in a Z petrol station and shops.
"We don't know what sort of shops are going to go in there," says Father Dunford. "We could get people coming and going all hours of the night or just sort of hanging around."
Anne Whitcombe, also a Gladstone Rd resident, adds her view. "Gladstone Rd is already absolute bottleneck in the morning. That's insanity. And there's already a petrol station further down [Onewa Rd]," she says.
St Mary's Parish has asked the council to involve it in the consenting process. Fr Dunford and Iain Gallie, parish council chairperson, say there is public interest in the application.
"We are also aware of parishioners who have been approached as affected neighbours who have either not been fully informed or have not fully understood, given difficulties with English as a second language, the extent and impact of the development that is proposed and who would require fuller disclosure before they could make an informed indication of their consent," they said in their letter.
Fr Dunford is concerned for his parishioners. Sunday morning parking on the road is already at a premium.
"It's just going to make it more difficult for elderly people and families with young children to park close to the church," he says.
Council says it's too early to tell if the application will be publicly notified. "Council is currently assessing the application and input has been sought from a number of council departments," says Ms Harris, adding that until the assessment is complete, it can't confirm if the public will be able to have their say on the development.
DOUBLE DOSE OF T3
Auckland Transport is also proposing the creation of a T3 transit lane westbound on Onewa Rd Between Church St and Birkenhead Ave in the evening, 4-6 pm.
There is already an existing T3 transit lane operating eastbound on Onewa Rd in the morning peak.
The objective of the project, AT says, is to prioritise higher-passenger carrying vehicles to improve traffic efficiency. A cycle lane will be added to the shared footpath.
It will also mean losing on-street parking on the southern side of Onewa Rd weekdays, 4-6 pm. The agency plans to minimise the impact by providing parking on side roads with time restrictions.
Auckland Transport is inviting public comment at aucklandtransport.govt.nz. Feedback closes on September 12.
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