Intersection problems stay
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.