Petone residents split on need for roundabouts

Brian Hill and Barbara Burnett survey works at one the new Tennyson St roundabouts.
Matthew Tso

Brian Hill and Barbara Burnett survey works at one the new Tennyson St roundabouts.

A pair of roundabouts being installed on a suburban Petone street has residents divided.

The junctions at the north end of Tennyson St have offended some residents, who claim they are a waste of money, while others have welcomed them as a safety measure and a deterrent to hoons.

Long-time Tennyson St resident Barbara Burnett said the $50,000 spent on the roundabouts was a  waste of council money.

"Surely the council could spend their money elsewhere."

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She said there was no problem with traffic down Tennyson St to warrant the roundabouts.

Brian Hill, who has lived in the street for 46 years, was also unimpressed with the council's use of ratepayer money on the junctions.

"I'd like to see more evidence [supporting the the need for the roundabouts] to justify the money being spent."

Hutt City Council traffic assets manager Damon Simmons said the roundabouts were intended to guide traffic movements, clarify priority and better define where parking is allowed.

They would also serve to discourage boy racers and reduce vehicle speeds in the street.

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The works originated from a complaint made to the council in 2015 about vehicles double and triple parking around a central island at the northern end of Tennyson St between the junctions with High and Manchester streets.

The lack of markings around the island and adjacent intersections was encouraging the poor parking behaviour as well as causing confusion over vehicle priority.

Discussions with residents also suggested anecdotal evidence of issues with boy racers and speeding.

Hill said the problem with boy racers was overstated and roundabouts would do little to stop people speeding in the street if they wanted to.

A tube counter measuring vehicle speeds in Tennyson St late last year found 85 per cent of vehicles travelling at 49.7kmh or below and 95 per cent of vehicles travelling at 54.7kmh or under, which were within the expected ranges. Several extremely high speeds were also recorded, some exceeding 70kmh, with two recorded speeds of 100kmh or higher.

The council delivered consultation documents and a questionnaire to 37 directly affected parties in the immediate area about the roundabouts, signs and road markings.  Sixteen of the 18 questionnaires returned were in favour of the changes.

Meetings to discuss the changes were held with residents in October 2016 and May this year. Neither Burnett  nor Hill was at the meetings, though both had family members there.

Toni Neels lives close to the new roundabouts and said she was glad they were being installed as activity from boy racers and speeding in the area had resulted in "a couple of near misses with pedestrians".

She had also observed confusion among other drivers at the junctions because of a lack of signs.

 Neels thought the new roundabouts and signs would go some way to keeping drivers and pedestrians safe, particularly around drop-off and pick-up time at the nearby school.

 - Hutt News

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