Shedding a light on Broadway traffic trial
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