Accident sparks crossing review
Pukerua Bay’s long- desired pedestrian overbridge or underpass is back in the spotlight after a 16-year-old girl was hit by a vehicle while crossing State Highway 1 recently.
Caitlin Lawrence had her leg broken below the knee while taking a shortcut home by the railway overbridge on April 24, her mother Fairlight Lawrence says. The accident was indisputably Caitlin’s fault but it has highlighted the need for another pedestrian route across the highway, Ms Lawrence says.
‘‘It’s all too common,’’ she says.
‘‘We’ve all done it at some point. I thought I had drummed it into her not to do it at peak-hour traffic. It was just a dumb decision.’’
Caitlin chose not to take the railway overbridge to save five minutes from her walk, Ms Lawrence says.
‘‘The bridge that we’ve got works well – when people use it.’’
An alternative pedestrian crossing is badly needed by Pukerua Bay shops, where a Kapiti College school bus lets off passengers and where most residents risk traffic to cross the road, she says.
Pukerua Bay Residents’ Association chairman Iain Maclean says talks began with NZ Transport Agency about a crossing in 2005, and $2 million was at one point pledged for the project but every proposal was deemed too expensive.
About 22,000 cars pass Pukerua Bay every day, most driven above the 50kmh speed limit, Mr Maclean says.
Porirua City Council village planning manager Ian Barlow says a joint pedestrian crossing project between the council, NZTA and Greater Wellington Regional Council has hit the skids due to funding difficulties.
‘‘At this stage it’s very hard to convince the national roading authority that they need to put some money aside for it.’’
The city council does not have responsibility for state highways and in any case has no wiggle room in its roading budget to get a crossing built alone, Mr Barlow says.