Fatal crash feared
Matamata residents fear the intersection at Firth St and Farmers Rd is a fatal accident waiting to happen.
Confusion over give-way rules and a pedestrian crossing located just metres from the major intersection are the main concerns, particularly in the hours before and after school.
Community board member Kevin Tappin, who lives on Farmers Rd, said the spot was not only a danger to pedestrians but was a ‘‘nightmare’’ for drivers.
‘‘We have seen so many nearmisses. The amount of traffic at school times with buses, people picking up their kids, college students – it’s just insane.’’
Over the past 12 months, Mr Tappin has fought to see a change to the intersection and said a roundabout or lights would be the most effective solution.
Driver confusion was a major issue, with a stop sign on the west exit from Farmers Rd and a giveway sign on the east, he said.
‘‘No one really knows what they are doing, especially with the changes to the give-way rules. At the very least, both sides should be changed to a give way.’’
Congestion and a lack of vision were also concerns and Mr Tappin said these problems were made worse by the position of the pedestrian crossing.
Caltex manager Sally Jenkins said she had witnessed a few near-misses and minor accidents at the intersection.
‘‘ Something needs to change before there is a major accident. ’’
Firth St had a constant stream of traffic, with heavy trucks, buses, tourists and young drivers from Matamata College on the road, Ms Jenkins said.
‘‘I think a roundabout would work. It would slow people down and help the traffic flow to ease up.’’
In a Matamata Chronicle poll, 48 per cent of participants said a roundabout should be installed, 40 per cent said lights would be a better solution, and 12 per cent said no change was needed.
Firth St is part of State Highway 27, meaning the New Zealand Transport Agency would be responsible for any major changes to the intersection. The Matamata- Piako District Council is responsible for the pedestrian crossing on Farmers Rd.
The council recently investigated the safety of the crossing, with northbound traffic turning left on to Farmers Rd a major concern.
But a check of New Zealand Transport Agency records between 2006 and 2012 showed no recorded crashes as a result of the pedestrian crossing.
Council staff have recommended that more signs be installed on Firth St, warning drivers turning left to be aware of the crossing.
The signs would cost $550 and would be paid for by the agency.