One road in, 15 cul-de-sacs
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Living in a suburb with more than 500 properties and only one exit – what could go wrong?
Riversdale, in Blenheim, bordered by rivers off State Highway 1, is home to hundreds – who could get stuck there in an emergency.
To leave the suburb by vehicle, residents such as Aileen Thomas must drive down Budge St, cross a railway line and turn onto the highway.
Thomas said the Marlborough District Council needed to build another street out of the suburb, before another emergency isolated residents.
‘‘I think it is a massive planning oversight. It just makes common sense that there’s another road out ... I think it’s really needed.’’
A man was hit by a train at the Budge St crossing in 2016, closing the street for about four hours and preventing residents from getting in or out of the suburb.
‘‘I was at work when it happened and I just had to wait until they cleared the road. There’s also a daycare centre down the street nobody could get to,’’ Thomas said.
‘‘The amount of near misses I’ve seen, right at the train tracks. There’s a lot of tourists driving past and people who aren’t sure where they’re going to turn. You often hear tyres screeching and there’s always people backed up at the intersection waiting to get out,’’ Thomas said.
The highway end of Budge St was also easily congested, as there were usually cars parked on both sides near a backpacker hostel and a bowls club, Thomas said.
Trucks travelling on SH1 used Budge St to enter a Z Service Station on the corner, adding to the chaos, she said.
‘‘I would say another accident is probably inevitable.’’
Thomas was one of three residents to call for a second road in to be built, as part of submissions opposing a 240-bed commune proposed for Budge St near the railway line.
‘‘I’m not opposed to the development at all, I’m just concerned about the number of residents who rely on that one street,’’ Thomas said. ‘‘There is a footbridge at the end of Elizabeth St. They probably could put a bigger bridge there as an alternative.’’
Marlborough District Council assets and services manager Richard Coningham said someone had once suggested putting another road into Riversdale over the footbridge.
But in his two years with the council, the issue of access had never been raised as something that required a solution, he said.
‘‘Anything is feasible if someone is prepared to pay,’’ Coningham said.
‘‘There would have to be an analysis of whether another road is required there, and that would be done by Marlborough Roads.’’
The suburb was laid out ‘‘a very long time ago, well before the current roading requirements came into place’’.
There was land available on Dillons Point Rd that could be used
‘‘I think it is a massive planning oversight. It just makes common sense that there’s another road out ... I think it’s really needed.’’ Aileen Thomas
Riversdale resident Aileen Thomas says the intersection where Budge St meets State Highway 1 is often congested.
A pedestrian bridge links Elizabeth St, in Riversdale, with Dillons Point Rd, in Islington, above, and Dix Crescent, right, is one of 15 culde-sacs in Riversdale.