Speed bumps opposed

SPEED BUMPS: Whenuapai Ratepayers and Residents Association chairman Norman Dunckley at the stretch of Totara Rd earmarked for speed cushions.
SPEED BUMPS: Whenuapai Ratepayers and Residents Association chairman Norman Dunckley at the stretch of Totara Rd earmarked for speed cushions.

Speed bumps planned for Whenuapai are rattling residents.

The proposal to cram 10 new bumps - speed cushions - into a 1.2km stretch of Totara Rd is causing ripples in the rural community.

The Whenuapai Ratepayers and Residents Association has written to residents urging them to make submissions to Auckland Transport by tomorrow's deadline.

Humps aimed at slashing speed between the Cornerstone corner and Waimarie Rd will effectively bring Totara Rd to a near-standstill, the association writes.

"It's going to be pretty painful driving along Totara Rd at 25kmh."

Auckland Transport is proposing 10 sets of asphaltic concrete speed cushions within the stretch of road which has two sections with different speed limits - 70kmh and 50kmh.

Each rectangular cushion will cost about $2000 including installation. The total cost of the project will be about $200,000 including traffic management.

Whenuapai Ratepayers and Residents Association chairman Norman Dunckley says the organisation backs measures to slash speed but so many speed cushions would be extreme.

The project is a waste of resources that Auckland Transport could more effectively use by lowering speed limits and installing speed cameras along Totara Rd, he says.

"They put speed humps through the main road of Te Atatu North but six months later they were ripping them out again because of the outcry from dissatisfied public and emergency services.

"If anything it's going to make it more detrimental because people are going to experience the frustration of 10 speed humps over a kilometre. They're going to floor it when they get around to the straight."

The association says acceleration and braking caused by the bumps will boost noise pollution and CO 2 emissions, and could affect property values.

Association secretary Andy Milne says annoyed motorists will bypass the transit road and create traffic snarls in side streets.

The design of the wider speed cushions with breaks between them means only cars will be forced to slow.

"Trucks and buses speed through our village daily but they won't be restricted by these bumps."

Mr Milne says Totara Rd has had no fatal crashes during the 24 years he has lived there "so I don't understand what's driving this".

The part earmarked for asphaltic concrete cushions already slows motorists because of its uneven road surface, and natural twists and turns.

"Because of two responses they're putting obstacles in people's way every day without addressing the true speed problem of Totara Rd."

Auckland Transport media manager Mark Hannan says consultation with residents showed positive feedback on an initial proposal of four sets of speed cushions.

Some feedback suggested a closer spacing between the cushions so the organisation reviewed its design to 10.

But the association says most instances of speeding are between Brigham Creek Rd and Cornerstone corner.

The group advocates cutting speed from Brigham Creek Rd to Cornerstone to 70kmh and from Cornerstone to Waimarie Rd to 50kmh.

It also suggests installing speed cameras with some proceeds going back to the local community.

Mr Hannan says the stretch between Cornerstone corner and Waimarie Rd intersection was chosen because there were two recorded loss-of-control crashes in the past five years and the average speed on the existing 50kmh section is 71kmh, he says.

Although there were four loss-of-control crashes in the past five years on the 80kmh section, putting a speed calming device there could create a hazard.

Auckland Transport has reviewed the speed limit on the 80kmh stretch and is unable to justify lowering the limit to 70kmh, he says. So it proposes signs and marking changes on the 80kmh stretch.

Because the 70kmh section is approaching a residential area, AT proposes to reduce the speed limit to 50kmh.

Totara Rd is a public bus route and cushions are chosen as a calming device.

"The pros outweigh the cons," Mr Hannan says.

"Cushions are effective in slowing speed and at the same time allow buses to straddle through without impacting on their schedule."

Norwest News