Big slow-down sought

JAMES IRELAND
Last updated 05:00 15/11/2012
Speed Issues
JAMES IRELAND
PROTECTING PUPILS: Pomaria Primary School principal Kevin Choromanski supports measures that will make roads safer around schools.

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A plan to make Henderson's roads safer has the backing of residents.

Te Atatu MP Phil Twyford wants to cut the speed drivers can travel in the area bounded by Lincoln Rd, Swanson Rd and Universal Dr.

"The area contains six schools, suffers a lot of rat running and boy racer hooning," he says.

"The schools have a lot of headaches from the congestion and find it hard to get the kids to bike or walk to school because parents feel the streets are unsafe.

"This plan would not officially change the speed limit but would change the roads so drivers have to travel slower," he says.

New Zealand Transport Agency figures show 92 crashes have occurred in the area in the past five years and another 775 have happened nearby on Lincoln Rd, Swanson Rd and Universal Dr.

In the 867 total there have been four deaths and 15 serious injuries with six of those serious injuries in the area proposed for change.

The biggest contributors to these crashes have been poor observation, failure to give way or stop and incorrect lane position.

Speed was a factor in 5 per cent of crashes.

Mr Twyford cites changes made to 10 streets in Pt England in 2008 by installing chicanes and forcing drivers to zig-zag through the narrow obstacles.

Before the changes the average speed travelled on the roads was 45kmh and after the changes it was 28kmh as well as boasting a 34 per cent reduction in crashes and 74 per cent reduction in crash severity.

"It would do away with the need for cycleways as 30kmh is the speed that everyone can co-exist safely.

"By designing the streets in a certain way we can change how people drive. Some of the key people involved in the transformation of the Pt England streets are still working at Auckland Transport and the council which means the expertise we need to progress this is still there," Mr Twyford says.

"The chicanes are designed so that cars have to travel around them but emergency vehicles such as fire trucks can go over them."

Pomaria Primary School is located within the proposed area and principal Kevin Choromanski supports anything that will reduce the amount of traffic that goes past his school.

"Our major concern is the volume of traffic that goes past. If this idea can act as a deterrent so drivers will be less likely to use Pomaria Rd as a short cut that would be great. The roads outside schools are 40kmh in the mornings and the afternoons but unfortunately a lot of drivers don't follow this rule.

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"Sometimes I go outside when we have students on patrol at the crossing and see drivers racing past and I wonder how long it will be before someone gets hit," he says.

Mr Twyford's proposal has been supported by the Henderson Massey Local Board and will go to Auckland Transport for consideration.

- Western Leader

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