Take out the lights

Taupo & Turangi Weekender - - News -

The coun­cil is still plan­ning to pro­ceed with lights at Nor­man Smith / Wairakei Drive in­ter­sec­tion.

The mayor stated (Oc­to­ber 18) that they are ap­point­ing some­one to in­stall lights soon. The ‘prob­lem’ at the in­ter­sec­tion is mi­nor, de­spite var­i­ous par­ties try­ing to over­state its ur­gency, with only five to 10-minute de­lays at most over an hour in week­day morn­ings. To in­stall lights ($560,000) means the other 23 hours will be con­trolled for no iden­ti­fi­able ben­e­fit, and in­creases well doc­u­mented frus­tra­tion for driv­ers wait­ing for phases to change.

Few coun­cil­lors in­clud­ing the mayor, nor the CEO, are in­ter­ested in se­ri­ously dis­cussing this poor de­ci­sion or read­ing this re­port (goo.gl/n56J5k) crit­i­cal of the con­sul­tants’ re­port, nor pro­vid­ing any sub­stan­tial ev­i­dence for the ad­van­tages of lights. To quote the mayor “if they don’t work, we’ll pull them out” and to quote coun­cil­lor Anna Park “they are an in­terim mea­sure”.

The two is­sues — traf­fic man­age­ment and vol­ume — need to be in­cluded in TDC’s Trans­port Strat­egy that has yet to be started. Why waste half a mil­lion, while po­ten­tially an­noy­ing thou­sands of vot­ers?

There are now sev­eral op­tions — a pe­ti­tion ( with strong sup­port), lo­cal gov­ern­ment act re­view, pub­lic re­source con­sent sub­mis­sion, Au­ditNZ re­view. I call on coun­cil­lors to with­draw the lights or face a long-term pub­lic bat­tle against this over­whelm­ingly un­pop­u­lar de­ci­sion.

PAUL HEN­SON

(abridged)

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