Letter sent to Auckland Council & Auckland Transport

Auckland Councillor – Franklin : Des Morrison,
Franklin Local Board – Chairman Andy Baker

Auckland Transport Service Centre Contact: Auckland South Team Leader – Claire Dixon
Auckland Transport Regional Contacts:

Community Transport Manager – Matthew Rednall Dina Hanna

cc.

Auckland Council Mayor: Len Brown,

Auckland Transport Regional Contacts:

Community Road Safety Coordinator – Tony Bowis
Senior Road Safety Engineer – Irene Tse

Franklin Local Board  – All members
Patumahoe Primary School – Principal, Ron Gordon

 

We ask that Auckland Council and Auckland Transport  review the recently erected 3 x 2 barriers in our rural village as part of a wider review of traffic safety and traffic flow in our community.

We understand that these installations are a legacy project from ARTA and the Travelwise programme run in conjunction with our local primary school in Patumahoe, and are to be implemented regionally in the vicinity of any rural school with a student enrolment of more than 200 pupils.

While what has been put in place is probably well intentioned, it has focused on just one particular group (Patumahoe Primary School students) and one mode of transport (pedestrian) and been implemented without regard to wider community impact.

In our opinion the resulting changes have increased the likelihood of death and serious injury in our village.  The planning appears to have been generalised and reactionary on a one-issue basis and has not taken into account overall traffic safety and flow for Patumahoe village.

This is especially frustrating, as following community consultation, we have been lobbying for suitable traffic calming devices since 2010.

In order to address the current situation and avoid further discrepancies between intention and implementation we asks that Auckland Council and Auckland Transport:

  • review (which may result in removal) of the six structures now in place on Patumahoe Road,
  • effectively consult with us  – who will distribute information to the wider community via website and newsletters,
  • consider overall village traffic planning in line with spatial planning (not just the narrow question of ‘how to slow down traffic around the school),

 

Patumahoe Road – new road narrowings and signage

The main issue is that the barriers create a significant road narrowing and a hazard for cyclists sharing the road with cars and trucks.  Some images are shown below:

 

Background

 

1.  Auckland Unleashed
We note that Auckland Council with Auckland Unleashed have embraced the concept of ‘including Communities’. This is welcomed in Patumahoe where we have an active Village Group allowing easy communication with our community.

2.  Trend to encourage other forms of transport
We share Councils position on the future with having communities less dependent on cars and more cycle / walking / public transport friendly. For example in Patumahoe there has been a large increase in locals biking. Also Patumahoe is regularly frequented by large groups of cyclists from Auckland in the weekend. They come out here to enjoy the lower traffic densities.

3.  Major Hazard
Tamaki Drive is New Zealand’s most dangerous road. This is primaril ybecause of parked cars and narrow roads combined with traffic. This results in a lot of cyclists getting killed or seriously injured. There is only room for one vehicle in each direction and in parts visibility is limited. While we do not yet have the traffic densities the erected barriers in Patumahoe to some degree replicate this. We have been advised that in Patumahoe the barriers are no wider than a parked car – so what is the problem. Do we need the equivalent hazard of 6 parked cars 24/7 that are not even as easily visible as a parked car?4

4.  International Trends
Internationally for Traffic Calming there is a move away from simply putting in barriers to try and slow down traffic. The reason for this is perhaps best summed up from this extract from Wikipedia re Traffic Calming: ‘However, some UK and Irish “traffic calming” schemes, particularly involving road narrowings, are viewed as extremely hostile and have been implicated directly in death and injury to cyclists’.5

5.  Planning appears reactionary
From the barriers ‘appearing’ about a year ago there has already been one change with the central two barriers being made wider. There is we understand a further change coming with the striped poles being removed at the central two barriers. This will make them less visible to motorists. It reinforces our conclusion about the planning being reactionary and failing to consider overall traffic safety and flow through our Village.

6.  Traffic Calming Options

There are many ways of slowing down traffic besides putting in barriers. Some of the more standard options are shown below. There are also many other tools available that are for instance contained in the likes of the book ‘Mental Speed Bumps’ by David Engwight.

 

 

Other options:

We have been advocating for appropriate traffic calming installations since 2010.

Included in our proposals:

  • Welcome/farewell signage at the four entry points to the village (which cooincide with a reduction to 50 km/hr speed limits)
  • Considered plantings alongside signage.  ie.  deciduous trees, bulbs and colourful annuals that provide a constant seasonal change and visual reminder;
  • Change in road surface – our suggestion is for a 6-7m cobblestone strip across the road which will provide a physical reminder in conjunction with the above visual ones.

We intend to provide these signs as a separate project, and wish to coordinate with current projects for off road walking and cycling access in the village, and would appreciate having Auckland Transport and Auckland Council provide guidelines and contacts on how to achieve this.

Community feedback:

At a recent community open workshop, none of those attending agreed that what has been put in place has made our roads safer.  All signed a copy of this letter agreeing that the main road is now more dangerous in their opinion.As part of our spatial planning project, we have also requested integrated Auckland Transport planning given the extensive residential growth planned for our community, and for Kingseat which utilises our village roads as a throughway to Pukekohe.

It is with some frustration that we note that we have been advocating for alternative traffic calming measures since 2010.

 

More recently ….

One of our concerns was the large volumes of traffic going through the village and lack of transport planning associated with the increased residential growth within the community and wider area.

One of our local intersections – Kingseat Road & Glenbrook Road – was the recent site of a dobule fatality, resulting in some part by the delay in implementation of a legacy project for a roundabout at this location.  It is frustrating to see resources allocated to implementation of possible hazards when identified blackspots remain despite budget allocations.

We have provided our local community with opportunities to input on this issue and some of their comments can be found online, and have recently contacted another resident who has been advocating for the roundabout installation on Kingseat & Glenbrook Roads for over two years, since she was involved in an accident at that site.

All responses and stories indicate a definite requirement for considered traffic planning in our community, and ask that it be provided.

 

Conclusion:

In conclusion we ask for the following:

  • Review and possible removal of recent traffic installations on Patumahoe Road,
  • Auckland Transport and Auckland Council guidelines for purpose built village welcome signage – and accompanying plantings and road surface changes;
  • Direct contacts within Auckland Transport who we can liaise with to ensure our efforts for walking and cycling are aligned with policy.

We appreciate the work of Auckland Transport and Auckland Council in promoting road safety, but we believe that in this case wider considerations and better community consultation would have produced a favourable outcome.

We are encouraged that our Local Board has recently reiterated their priority for road safety in Franklin, and are confident that a colloboration between all stakeholders will produce the best result.

Yours sincerely,
Andrew Sinclair & Paula Crosswell
Patumahoe Village Inc
www.patumahoe.org.nz

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