John Deck is quite right to criticise the recent changes to the road at the Woodward and New North roads and railway intersection ( Auckland City Harbour News, December 5).
The changes have made matters worse, not better. The new island has increased driver frustration levels, as the island has prevented access to the right turn lane, which now often sits empty when it could have assisted another six or so vehicles to make it through each phase of traffic lights. I once saw a frustrated driver go along the wrong side of the island in order to utilise the vacant right turn lane.
Frustration levels are also increased by the unnecessarily long period for which the railway barrier arms are down before the passing of a train. Regular users of that intersection have realised that a train heading west trips the alarm and barriers at Woodward Rd when it pulls into the Mt Albert station, and motorists are left sitting waiting while people get on and off the train. The switch should be adjusted to be tripped when the train leaves the Mt Albert station, not when it arrives.
The problems Auckland Transport are trying to solve would have been better achieved by simply putting double barrier arms in place. That would block the opportunity for any delinquent motorist to drive through in the wrong lane.
I have previously suggested to the rail people a general safety improvement they could make to all suburban rail crossings, and that is to duplicate the red warning lights at each crossing by bolting a new set of lights to the back of the existing ones.
This would have the advantage of approaching drivers and pedestrians seeing a set of warning lights on both sides of the road, instead of just one side as is currently the case. The idea was dismissed as unnecessary, but I am convinced it would be a cheap and easy safety improvement.