In­ter­sec­tion prob­lems stay

Eastern Courier - - News - By JOE DAW­SON

THE BAT­TLE be­tween ve­hi­cle and pedes­trian in How­ick’s main street is set to con­tinue.

It’s not of­ten that ‘‘do noth­ing’’ is the best ad­vice for solv­ing an an­noy­ing prob­lem.

But that’s the ap­proach How­ick Lo­cal Board has been ad­vised to take with the trou­ble­some in­ter­sec­tion of Pic­ton St and Uxbridge Rd in the vil­lage cen­tre.

The board asked Auck­land Trans­port to mon­i­tor the site and as­sess whether or not any­thing can be done to speed up the flow of cars through it. The in­ter­sec­tion has been a source of ir­ri­ta­tion for many years.

At last week’s board meet­ing, when the re­port was pre­sented by traf­fic en­gi­neer Jared Plum­ridge, mem­bers spoke of how the in­ter­sec­tion was not only frus­trat­ingly slow but also dan­ger­ous.

But Mr Plum­ridge said it per­formed well in both safety and time cat­e­gories com­pared with other in­ter­sec­tions.

‘‘What we’ve done as part of this in­ves­ti­ga­tion is look at crashes and ve­hi­cle de­lays,’’ he said.

‘‘Pedes­trian de­lays are zero so it’s op­ti­mistic for pedes­tri­ans.’’

In the past five years there had been four re­ported crashes at the in­ter­sec­tion, one of which in­volved mi­nor in­jury and one which was wrongly as­signed to the area, he said.

There had been no ac­ci­dents in­volv­ing pedes­tri­ans. A sim­i­lar in­ter­sec­tion would have had 10 ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dents and two pedes­trian ac­ci­dents in that time so How­ick’s trou­ble spot was ‘‘per­form­ing well in terms of crashes’’.

Ve­hi­cle de­lays were also mon­i­tored at peak times on week days where Mr Plum­ridge said the in­ter­sec­tion also per­formed well.

A max­i­mum queue time of 1.9 min­utes at the af­ter­noon peak was con­sid­ered not too bad.

Other op­tions in­cluded sig­nal­is­ing the in­ter­sec­tion with pedes­trian fa­cil­i­ties on all sides, shift­ing the pedes­trian cross­ing out­side the post of­fice fur­ther north, or an al­ter­na­tive route through Fen­ci­ble Drive.

Mr Plum­ridge said the ‘‘do noth­ing’’ ap­proach was con­sid­ered the best. Hav­ing the cross­ing in the town cen­tre was best for pedes­tri­ans and sig­nal­is­ing the traf­fic would cre­ate de­lays at oth­er­wise freeflow­ing times.

Board mem­ber Jim Don­ald said the in­ter­sec­tion had been a is­sue for many years and while there hadn’t been that many ac­ci­dents re­ported there had been many near misses. Re­cently there had been two ac­ci­dents in­volv­ing pedes­tri­ans and some­times traf­fic backed up Stock­ade Hill.

The prob­lem lies with pedes­trian move­ments, he said. ‘‘The so­lu­tion is to sig­nalise the pedes­trian cross­ing only so pedes­tri­ans wait a minute and let traf­fic move,’’ he said.

Board mem­ber Adele White also put the cause of the con­ges­tion at the feet of walk­ers but wanted the whole area sig­nalised, not just the cross­ing.

‘‘I be­lieve that the is­sue is pedes­trian-re­lated and ir­re­spon­si­ble be­hav­iour,’’ she said. ‘‘Peo­ple think it’s their God­given right to cross over.’’

Mr Plum­ridge agreed to re­assess the in­ter­sec­tion once the new give way rules are in place.

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