Background to traffic calming discussions with Auckland Council

This post is a background to the current traffic calming discussions we are having with Auckland Council.

Community concerns

The traffic issue was raised as early as August 2010 when the initial community workshop identified the traffic speed throughout the village as being a priority concern for residents.  This concern was reinforced from feedback obtained from the street parties held in December 2010 – February 2011, and once again on the Open Day in May 2011.

Most comments expressed concern that no traffic planning had taken place to coordinate the integration of the new subdivisions with the existing roadworks.  This lack of planning by the then ARTA (Auckland Regional Transport Authority) and Franklin District Council – was further compounded by the knowledge that a Kingseat Structure Plan had been approved.  This Structure Plan when implemented would mean the growth of Kingseat to a community of 5,000.  As Patumahoe sits on the only direct commuter road to Pukekohe – even higher levels of traffic would be using our roads than would be anticipated by local Patumahoe development.

Patumahoe Primary School was already undergoing a Travelwise programme with ARTA, and had produced a comprehensive report in 2009 – Travelwise School Travel Report .  This primarily focussed on the modes of transport for pupils attending school and the options to encourage alternative methods of transport rather than vehicular.  As a result, and at this time, a group of parents began work on the Hunter Road pathway loop project which sought to extend both Patumahoe Road and Woodhouse Road pathways to their respective connections to Hunter Road.  Due to the high level of recreational users – this project would also benefit the wider community as well as Patumahoe School pupils.  As you will have noticed, the Patumahoe Road segment of this pathway was recently installed and we understand from the Local Board that the Woodhouse segment will be completed next year.

ARTA was also planning traffic calming instalments throughout Auckland.  Our current Local Board chairman, Andy Baker is well informed on this issue as at that time he was working for ARTA.  It was during this time – before amalgamation – that the decision to roll out Kea Crossings throughout Franklin was made.  These decisions formed part of the legacy packages handed over to the new Auckland Council and Auckland Transport when amalgamation took place in November 2010.  We were unaware of this Legacy project until late last 2011 when we asked about the first installation of traffic narrowing in 2011.

Legacy Project – Franklin District wide implementation

The criteria for the Kea Crossings in Franklin was that they would be implemented in Franklin in the vicinity of any school that had more than 200 enrolments. Patumahoe School – both as a member of Travelwise and with a large number of pupils was identified as a school requiring implementation.  It is important to note that we did contact Patumahoe School as a stakeholder right at the beginning of our process and we took note of the Travelwise programme when making submissions to Auckland Council.  As far as we are aware, no other option to control excessive speed around the school was offered as a solution to concerns – and there are others.

Alternative methods of traffic calming

A few months previously, I had spoken to former FDC staff members who were working on roading and traffic issues.  They had just attended a placemaking conference for Auckland district council and transport staff and were enthusiastic about topics discussed that had shown marked success in traffic calming and speed reduction that did not follow current policies.

The key speaker David Engwicht is an Australian consultant that had completed projects in both Australia and New Zealand and promotes grassworks community placemaking, as well as specifically addressing traffic taming measures.  Patumahoe Village Inc owns a copy of his Mental Speedbumps – The Smarter Way to Tame Traffic book, which is available for lending.  This book – and the ideas contained within – were recommended by FDC staff.

Mental Speed Bumps: The Smarter Way to Tame Traffic
A practical, down-to-earth guide for residents, parents, health
professionals and city planners that turns conventional wisdom
on its head.

  • Find out how to use mental speed bumps to instantly slow drivers without them being aware that they have slowed.
  • Learn why removing all traffic signs, white lines, speed humps and traffic lights dramatically slow traffic and makes  streets  safer.
  • Discover why building the social life of the street is the most effective way to tame traffic.

Now everyone has the power to tame traffic.

Proposal for Patumahoe village

Given the level of concern shown by the community, we sought the advice of the new Auckland Transport organisation on how the traffic issue could be addressed.  Due to the recent amalgamation – it has proven difficult to directly connect through to Auckland Transport staff and efforts to do so were unproductive.  Our Local Board member, Lance Gedge is the Franklin Local Board member liaising with Auckland Transport but he has been unable to take this issue on board.  We understand the dilemma as he is unfamiliar with the smaller communities of Franklin and their workload has been substantial, but this has left us in a particularly uninformed  place.

We liaised with the Travelwise programme at Patumahoe Primary School and only at that time did the first implementation of the Kea Crossings take place.  During our October 2011 Open Day, this implementation raised further concerns from the community that instead of improving traffic safety – a traffic hazard had been created.

We raised this with the Local Board during a presentation early this year- at which time we were informed that the Legacy Project of Kea Crossings from ARTA and FDC were now being implemented.  This was discouraging because we had met several times informally with Local Board members, and at least once – formally – and at no time was mention made of this project.

An alternative to Kea Crossings

From the first presentation to Auckland Council we have asked for the installation of traffic calming entrances on the four roads leading into Patumahoe – Woodhouse Road, Kingseat Road, Mauku Road and Patumahoe Road.

Given the rural village community, and the reference materials and direction we had received so far, we believed that an appropriate method of traffic calming for Patumahoe would be a combination of:

  • Individually designed welcome signs;
  • Appropriate planting to designate the entry to the village ( and required lower speeds).  This could mean that tree choices are deciduous trees with significant blossoms and leaf changes to create a constantly changing visual reminder.  Flower choices could include spring bulbs as well as flowering perennials and colourful annuals for the same reason.
  • Change in roading surface – approx 6m of cobblestones – to remind drivers that they are entering a residential area.

This solution was reviewed by our Low Impact Design planner from Auckland Council and an Auckland Council spatial planner before being submitted to our Local Board.


Submissions to Auckland Council to date:

Following the previous work we have submitted on this proposal to Auckland Council via the following methods:

  • Auckland Plan
  • Auckland Regional Transport Plan
  • Local Franklin Board Annual Plan
  • Auckland Long Term Plan 2012- 2022
  • We have also made presentations to the Local Board – formally three times and informally many times more.

This is the background to the concerns raised at present regarding the installation of the Kea Crossing programmes, and the concern we have that Patumahoe – along with other rural and smaller communities –  are not being adequately informed or considered when blanket implementations are planned and designed.