‘Timid’ road plan un­der fire

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - JAMES PAUL

Mo­torists may have to suf­fer for two more years be­fore any sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ments are made to one of Welling­ton’s most grid­locked round­abouts.

Pare­mata round­about on State High­way 1, north of Porirua, reg­u­larly be­comes blocked in peak hours.

Those who com­mute to and from the cap­i­tal by train must bat­tle their way out of the sta­tion car park, some­times cross­ing three lanes.

The New Zealand Trans­port Agency (NZTA) re­cently pro­posed al­ter­ations to en­sure pulling on to SH1 and SH58 was safer for mo­torists, but res­i­dents have dis­missed the moves as ‘‘very timid’’.

The agency has told res­i­dents in the past that there would be no changes un­til af­ter the Trans­mis­sion Gully mo­tor­way was com­pleted in 2020, ac­cord­ing to Whitby Res­i­dents’ As­so­ci­a­tion chair­man Ge­off Mow­day. ‘‘Their ini­tial po­si­tion was to just grin and bear it.’’

Now NZTA pro­poses in­stalling ad­vanced warn­ing signs, mov­ing the sta­tion car park en­try and exit north, trim­ming veg­e­ta­tion, chang­ing the lane lay­out, and paint­ing the north­bound lanes lead­ing into the round­about to high­light speed changes.

But Mow­day said the pro­pos­als were a ‘‘very timid at­tempt’’ at im­prov­ing traf­fic flow.

Leav­ing the Pare­mata sta­tion car park was like run­ning the gaunt­let, he said, as some com­muters had to cross three SH1 lanes to ac­cess SH58.

‘‘At the mo­ment there is no pause in the north­bound traf­fic flow suf­fi­cient to give you com­fort to make that ma­noeu­vre. The round­about is a ma­jor risk.

‘‘All we want is eas­ier ac­cess for traf­fic com­ing out of the car park be­tween 4.30 and 6.30 at night.’’

Pare­mata Res­i­dents’ As­soci- ation pres­i­dent Rus­sell Mor­ri­son echoed Mow­day’s frus­tra­tions.

‘‘It seems at the mo­ment that [NZTA] have taken the po­si­tion of do­ing as lit­tle as pos­si­ble, and we’re hop­ing they can ex­plain their rea­sons for do­ing that.’’

Res­i­dents have sug­gested in­tro­duc­ing phased traf­fic lights at peak times, al­low­ing mo­torists to leave the sta­tion car park at sched­uled in­ter­vals.

NZTA re­gional trans­port sys­tem man­ager Mark Owen said he was com­mit­ted to work­ing with the com­mu­nity to ad­dress their con­cerns.

‘‘We’re meet­ing with the res­i­dents’ as­so­ci­a­tion on Thurs­day evening to dis­cuss th­ese is­sues with them in more de­tail.

‘‘We un­der­stand how im­por­tant it is for lo­cal peo­ple to have safe ac­cess to the high­way from the rail­way sta­tion car park.’’

He said NZTA was work­ing with Greater Welling­ton Re­gional Coun­cil and a traf­fic engi­neer to ex­plore op­tions for the round­about.


Traf­fic waits for a break at the Pare­mata round­about.

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