Dis­ap­point­ing stance on Franklin Rd Christ­mas lights

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By JESS LEE

Res­i­dents of Franklin Rd may not get ev­ery­thing on their Christ­mas wish­lists, with a tem­po­rary 30kmph speed limit for this year’s fes­tive light dis­play look­ing un­likely.

Thou­sands of on­look­ers flock to the Free­mans Bay street’s elab­o­rately lit and dec­o­rated homes dur­ing the an­nual light dis­play in De­cem­ber.

Some res­i­dents, in­clud­ing long­time Franklin Rd stal­wart Hamish Keith, are lob­by­ing for a traf­fic man­age­ment plan to be im­ple­mented to slow traf­fic and en­sure visi­tors’ safety from De­cem­ber 1 to 24.

‘‘It’s an event for chil­dren and we would like to see a safety traf­fic plan put in place to make sure it re­mains a safe event for the hun­dreds of thou­sands who visit the street.

‘‘We shouldn’t be wait­ing for some­one to get hurt be­fore do­ing some­thing.’’

Res­i­dent Roscoe Thorby, who has been the un­of­fi­cial or­gan­iser of the lights since the early 1990s, says it is a ‘‘fab­u­lous idea’’.

Auck­land Trans­port mon­i­tors ve­hi­cle and pedes­trian move­ments dur­ing the event but a traf­fic man­age­ment plan has not been im­ple­mented in the past.

It could con­sider ap­prov­ing a man­age­ment plan, in­clud­ing a tem­po­rary 30kmph speed limit dur­ing the evenings, but the cost would need to be met by the ap­pli­cant, re­gional road safety An­drew Bell says.

‘‘The in­creased evening pedes­trian and ve­hi­cle vis­i­tor num­bers view­ing the Franklin Rd Christ­mas Lights in De­cem­ber cre­ate an over-

ad­viser all slow-speed en­vi­ron­ment which greatly re­duces se­ri­ous crash-risk or in­jury,’’ he says.

Traf­fic man­age­ment plans, in­clud­ing the op­tion of a tem­po­rary speed limit, are re­quired when events or ac­tiv­i­ties oc­cur that sig­nif­i­cantly al­ter the nor­mal op­er­at­ing con­di­tions of the road.

Franklin Rd has an av­er­age an­nual daily traf­fic vol­ume of 12,000 ve­hi­cles per day, with most of this flow oc­cur­ring dur­ing day­light hours.

The road is not a ‘‘high crash-risk lo­ca­tion’’ dur­ing De­cem­ber, Mr Bell says.

Three

‘‘non-in­jury’’ crashes have been recorded in De­cem­ber be­tween 2008 and 2012 dur­ing day­light hours.

The typ­i­cal op­er­at­ing con­di­tions on Franklin Rd dur­ing De­cem­ber evenings does not specif­i­cally re­quire a traf­fic man­age­ment plan or a lower speed limit, he says.

‘‘If the res­i­dents still want it then they would need to fund it.’’

But Mr Keith says res­i­dents al­ready put enough of their own time and money into the pub­lic event them­selves.

‘‘Franklin Rd gifts the lights to the city and we don’t ask for any­thing in re­turn. It would be nice if the coun­cil recog­nised that.’’

Traf­fic-stop­per: Franklin Rd Christ­mas light dis­play un­of­fi­cial or­gan­iser Roscoe Thorby supports the idea of a tem­po­rary 30kmh speed limit dur­ing the De­cem­ber event.

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