Pedestrian safety trumps carparks
ROBERT STEVEN One of Taupo’s most dangerous street crossings is getting an upgrade.
Pedestrian space will replace six carparks at the intersection of Ruapehu St and Paora Hapi St. Two median islands will also be added.
The intersection sits between the St John’s Ambulance HQ, PAK’nSAVE car park, Ebbett Holden car yard and the Woolshed store.
Fraser Scott, Taupo¯ District Council’s landscape architect, presented the plans to councillors on Tuesday.
‘‘The crossing points at this intersection are very poor and place both pedestrians and vehicle users at a high risk of being involved in an accident,’’ he said.
Scott said access to carparks would not be significantly impacted.
‘‘The carparks to the north of that intersection are really under-utilised.
‘‘Improving the safety of this [intersection] will increase the use of those carparks.’’
Cr John Boddy said he was becoming concerned that the town centre might not have enough carparks to suit future requirements.
Scott said the upgrade was in line with previous plans.
‘‘The task is to improve pedestrian safety, in line with CISP [Taupo¯ Urban Commercial and Industrial Structure Plan], which is making the town more liveable and more walkable.
‘‘And that goal, to my mind, outweighs the parking issue in this location.’’
The upgrade is one of several scheduled upgrades, he said.
In 2015, the council made changes to the Taupo¯ District Plan which affirmed ‘‘the need for pedestrian and traffic management to enable a vibrant and safe town centre’’, Scott said.
Council began upgrading works to Tamamutu St, between Tongariro St and Ruapehu St in 2015. In 2017, the intersection of Roberts St and Ruapehu St was upgraded to ensure appropriate traffic, pedestrian safety, and an attractive streetscape.
The project has not yet gone to tender, but the cost is anticipated to be less than the budgeted $375,000.
All councillors present voted for the upgrade. Cr Rosie Harvey and Cr John Williamson were absent.
Walking space will replace six carparks on Ruapehu St and Paora Hapi St.