RSA wins crossing battle
A 20-year battle to make a risky stretch of road safer for pedestrians is almost over.
Auckland Transport is planning to install three crossings with traffic lights at the intersection of Great North Rd and Kiwi Rd, outside the Pt Chevalier RSA.
Two people have been killed near the intersection and at least four others have been knocked down since 2009.
Susana Luafutu Hutchinson died last year after being struck by a car at the blackspot on April 24.
A 65-year-old man pleaded guilty to a charge of dangerous driving causing death at the Auckland District Court in December and is due to be sentenced on April 1.
The Pt Chevalier RSA first asked the Auckland City Council to install a pedestrian crossing in 1994 after a number of incidents.
"I don't know why it's taken 20 years really," club president Horace Cadd says.
"It's money being put ahead of lives," executive committee member Graeme Poole says.
"It's an RSA, our members know how to battle, but in this case it's been battling bureaucracy."
A pedestrian refuge was installed in 2002 and in 2008 it was reshaped to stop motorists turning right from Kiwi Rd.
"Since then traffic has absolutely doubled. It was good at the time, but it is no good now," Mr Cadd says.
The planned upgrade follows a review of the site as part of Auckland Transport's region wide Safety Improvement Programme.
The investigation found a lot of people cross at the spot and high traffic volumes mean a zebra crossing wouldn't be sufficient.
The work will also include pram crossings and street lightening improvements.
A bus stop will be relocated and the option to turn right out of Kiwi Rd will be reinstated.
More detailed plans will be available after a consultation period for affected businesses and residents ends on February 16.
The Albert-Eden Local Board is backing the plans. The issue has been an ongoing one for board member Graeme Easte who dealt with it while he was on the former Western Bays Community Board.
The course of action so far has been the correct one, he says.
"Having a fully blown crossing was not warranted," he says.
"Having a little used crossing can be potentially dangerous because people drive past it every day and nobody is using it and then suddenly they are."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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