Shed­ding a light on Broad­way traf­fic trial

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

There’s been much talk around town about the Broad­way me­dian strip trial. Many lo­cals feel like they have been let down by the Mata­mata-Pi­ako Dis­trict Coun­cil’s con­sul­ta­tion over the trial.

What has drawn me to put pen to pa­per, as it were, is be­cause I at­tended last week’s Business After 5 event where mayor Jan Barnes spoke about the trial.

Hon­estly, up un­til then, even I didn’t re­ally know why the coun­cil and NZTA had in­tro­duced this trial.

But what Jan said made per­fect sense. She told us ex­actly why the three-month trial was be­ing held at this time of year – when the roads are at their busiest. Up un­til now the coun­cil have said it was ‘‘to im­prove traf­fic flow and safety’’ on that sec­tion of Broad­way.

Jan put it sim­ply. If a car stops in the mid­dle, noth­ing moves, she said. We all know that’s true. Jan also said our beloved town has a ‘‘safety prob­lem with tourists’’.

I’ve seen tourists stand in the mid­dle of Broad­way tak­ing pho­tos and I’m sure ev­ery­one else has too.

Jan told ev­ery­one the trial is be­ing un­der­taken at Christ­mas be­cause the coun­cil wanted to test the trial at the busiest time of year to see how the roads coped. This seems like a per­fectly rea­son­able ex­pla­na­tion to me.

She is now en­cour­ag­ing ev­ery­one to give the trial a go. So let’s think about where we’re go­ing – per­haps take a dif­fer­ent route on your way across town. Ease the bur­den on Broad­way and we’ll soon see if the trial is a suc­cess.

In my opin­ion, the coun­cil could have done bet­ter when it comes to con­sul­ta­tion around this trial. They have been amaz­ing up un­til now, es­pe­cially with the memo­rial cen­tre re­build, ren­o­vate or re­pair decision. Staff held pub­lic fo­rums and at­tended the mar­kets to dis­cuss the op­tions and get feed­back. They talked to ev­ery­one pos­si­ble.

But in this in­stance, key busi­nesses which could be di­rectly im­pacted by the trial knew noth­ing of the tem­po­rary change just days be­fore it was due to be­gin.

Per­haps if the rea­sons Jan gave last week had been passed on to all of us some time ago, we would all have a clear un­der­stand­ing about why the trial was be­ing run.

The coun­cil now asks peo­ple to share their views about the trial on­line at mpdc.govt.nz/have-your-say.

Mata­mata Chron­i­cle ed­i­tor Teresa Hat­tan

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