Roading authorities 'can't' remove Tamaki Dr hazards
In the wake of a cycling death court case that highlighted the dangers of Tamaki Drive, roading authorities have said they can't simply remove potential hazards to make it safer. But a meeting is planned for next week to begin the process.
Safety concerns about an area near Kelly Tarltons were reignited during Glenn Becker's trial this week on a charge of careless use of a vehicle causing death.
In November 2010 he opened his car door in front of cyclist Jane Bishop, 29, who swerved and died when she fell under the wheels of a passing truck.
On Thursday, two and half days into proceedings, a judge threw the case out saying the crash site was inherently dangerous and Becker had been careful exiting his vehicle.
During the trial it emerged that several parking spaces were removed from Tamaki Dr in the days after the accident but Auckland Transport spokeswoman Sharon Hunter says the removal of further spaces would require public consultation under the Local Government Act.
She says consultation is required because the parks concerned are part of a larger project to upgrade Tamaki Drive around the Kelly Tarlton's headland.
Judge Phil Gittos said Tamaki Dr was inherently dangerous for anyone parking in the legal car park that Becker had occupied, because the parks were placed after a bend in the road that created a "pinchpoint" for cyclists and motorists during heavy rush hour traffic, like when the accident happened.
Cycle Action Auckland chairwoman Barbara Cuthbert was at the trial and said the judge came to the right decision but she said hazardous parking spots remain on Tamaki Dr.
"I'm looking forward to them taking those parks out too."
Next week Auckland Transport will meet with Cycling Action Auckland representatives to discuss which parks need to go.
Hunter says Auckland Transport undertook a safety audit along Tamaki Dr following Bishop's death.
An action plan to improve the popular waterfront road was prepared and some projects have already been implemented including speed indicator signs to slow drivers down, several clearways, more cycle lanes and ramps on to the footpath to ease cyclist access.
An education campaign has also promoted the shared use of Tamaki Dr and police are undertaking enforcement at key locations.
Auckland Transport is also considering lights where Ngapipi Rd intersects with Tamaki Dr and widening the footpath or possibly constructing a boardwalk. All projects in the plan are expected to be completed by the end of next year.