No im­prove­ment

Central Leader - - LETTERS -

John Deck is quite right to crit­i­cise the re­cent changes to the road at the Wood­ward and New North roads and rail­way in­ter­sec­tion. 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 un­nec­ces­sar­ily long pe­riod for which the rail­way bar­rier arms are down prior to 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. grade-sep­a­rated but progress has been ex­tremely slow.

There have been end­less ar­gu­ments about whose re­spon­si­bil­ity the prob­lem is (does the rail cross over the road or vice versa).

At times I have de­spaired that only a fa­tal ac­ci­dent would prompt ac­tion.

I put up a res­o­lu­tion to the very first meet­ing of the Al­bert-Eden Lo­cal Board in Novem­ber 2010 call­ing for ‘‘ac­tion to en­sure pro­gres­sive grade-sep­a­ra­tion of all rail­way level cross­ings’’.

Two years later Auck­land Trans­port re­ports that they are ‘‘plan­ning to in­ves­ti­gate the top five in terms of pri­or­ity’’, but there is still no money bud­geted for con­struc­tion.

Still, I am hope­ful, and Wood­ward Rd is high on the list as it has the high­est ve­hi­cle count.

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