Council spends up on Golden Mile pedestrian safety

AMY JACKMAN
Last updated 09:03 17/01/2013
Willis St barrier gap
Frustrated business owners have moved some of the pedestrian barriers on Willis St today.

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The Wellingtonian

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Wellington City Council has spent more than $158,000 in two years on pedestrian safety measures in Manners and Willis streets.

Fourteen people have been hit by buses since the Golden Mile changes were completed in November 2010.

Twelve of the accidents, including one fatality, occurred on the 800-metre stretch from Manners St down Willis St to Lambton Quay.

NZ Bus director Tim Brown suffered multiple broken bones and a punctured lung last July after being hit by a bus.

Since 2007, 54 serious-injury accidents and three fatal pedestrian accidents have occurred along the Golden Mile.

The incidents caused the council to implement safety measures along Willis and Manners streets.

Figures obtained by The Wellingtonian under the Official Information Act show the safety measures so far have cost $158,700.

The council's manager of city networks, Stavros Michael, said money spent on safety was money well spent and the high number of pedestrians using the Golden Mile meant the council constantly reviewed the safety of the area.

"At peak times there can be about 70,000 people travelling through that area," he said.

"More changes are always going to be on the cards. Sadly, sometimes it takes an incident for us to be aware there's a problem in a certain area. Then we will take a reactive measure, like putting up hazard tape or the barriers in Willis St, until we know exactly what is going on and can fix it. People's safety is important."

The temporary barriers installed in Willis St last year cost $12,000.

Some were moved by retailers in October because they believed the barriers curbed business.

When extra seating was installed last November, the barriers were removed.

The installation of driver speed feedback signs, extra seating in Willis St and the Opus and GHD safety report were already planned, but were brought forward to help safety.

Street furniture made the street safer by making pedestrians more aware of the road, Mr Michael said.

"People walking often do not pay attention to their surroundings. They might be thinking about where they're going or looking at their phone," he said.

"The points people seem to remember are when they have to move around something. The seats attempt to create a point where people have to think before stepping on to the road."

Mr Michael said there had been other changes that did not generate a cost.

They included changing the timing of the traffic lights at the Manners St/Willis St intersection.

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DETAILS

Safety measures on the Golden Mile:

Hazard tape in Manners St, December 2010, $500.

Extra road markings, including the "Look Right" signs in Manners St, December 2010, $2500.

Extra street furniture in Manners St, December 2010, $20,000.

Barriers near Te Aro Park, December 2010, $5000.

Driver speed feedback signs in Willis St, March 2011, $15,000.

Opus and GHD report on pedestrian safety, June 2012, $77,000.

Temporary barriers in Willis St, July till November 2012, $12,000.

Preparation for possible change to 20kmh, September 2012, $700.

Relocation of poster bollard in Willis St, September 2012, $2000.

Extra seating in Willis St, November 2012, $24,000.

- The Wellingtonian

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