A NEW road layout at one of Ponsonby’s busiest intersections is causing confusion and long delays for drivers.
A traffic light has been installed at the corner of Redmond and Jervois roads, controlling what was previously a free left-hand turn.
Auckland city councillor Greg Moyle, who drives through the intersection daily, says the road is now a nightmare in the afternoons, with cars backed up to Ponsonby Rd.
Mr Moyle was contacted by locals last week who were concerned about the hold-ups.
“This is such a thoroughfare,” he says.
“I saw four or five people go through red lights in frustration one afternoon.”
Mr Moyle says he had not heard about the upgrade and wasn’t aware of any consultation with the Western Bays Community Board.
The council says the project was prompted by pedestrian safety concerns, but Mr Moyle says the improvements are premature.
“The problem is people haven’t realised the enormity of the consequential problems.
“I just don’t think we appreciated the disruption it was going to cause.”
Jervois Rd business owner Anna Hanson, whose shop looks on to the intersection, says the traffic has been terrible since the light was installed.
“It’s a complete waste of time, it’s worse than before.”
The new lights have now been temporarily covered over and traffic was flowing more smoothly through the intersection this week.
Council acting transport safety group manager Karen Hay says the intersection upgrade is aimed at improving pedestrian safety.
A crash reduction study in 2006 showed 17 crashes at the junction between 2001 and 2005, including four resulting in minor injuries.
The free left turn has been removed from Redmond Rd and signal pedestrian crossings added on all approaches to the intersection.
Ms Hay says letters were also received from Ponsonby Intermediate School on Pompallier Tce last year requesting better crossing facilities.
She says 394 consultation letters were sent out in June last year to surrounding businesses and residents to seek feedback to the proposal.
Only five responses were received, with two in support.
Ponsonby Intermediate principal Wim Boxen says students wrote to the council as part of a class project with a range of suggestions for improving safety.
He says better safety measures are needed for children crossing the busy street.
Mr Moyle says he’s taken on board the school’s concerns, but doesn’t think the added traffic light will solve the problem because frustrated drivers may now duck down side streets to avoid it.
“It may bring traffic closer to the school rather than take it further away.”
Transport committee chairman Ken Baguley says he was surprised to hear the new light was causing havoc because it’s similar to other successful intersection upgrades. He says the situation will be monitored closely and adjustments will be made if necessary.
The council would not reveal how much the changes already made had cost.