Roadworks reduce 'dominance of cars'

SHARING THE ROAD: Roadworks on Vanguard St near Totara St intersection.
SHARING THE ROAD: Roadworks on Vanguard St near Totara St intersection.

Roadworks at the St Vincent-Totara Rd intersection in Victory are causing conflicting views among the community.

The footpath on the corner of Totara Rd and St Vincent St has been widened out to where the road used to be in order to force cars to slow down and make it safer for pedestrians, skateboarders, and cyclists.

However, Victory resident Maggi Kerr-Andrew said it was frustrating car users had been sidelined.

"Sometimes, in all of this, it would be good to think that ordinary motorists are considered in all of these changes, as well as those who choose to cycle or walk," she said.

She understood the layout had been changed to make the road safer, but she said little consultation had been done and "the distance now remaining across the intersection is barely adequate for two vehicles to meet and pass, and makes turning left or right in St Vincent St difficult.

"It seems to me that the gnomes who spend their waking time planning these types of road work would do better at it if they were to get out the children's matchbox toys and play on the toy town carpet first, or perhaps even actually go and test drive it all," she said.

Victory Community Centre director Kindra Douglas said while she had heard there had not been much consulting done on the changes they were needed to make the area safer for those not in cars.

"Look, see how much they are going slower," she said.

"They're much more sensitive to the changes going on. They're becoming more aware. They'll grizzle and groan for the first while, as we all do when we are forced to change our behaviour because people haven't opted to. So we think the design overall is a really good concept."

She said the corner had been dangerous for school children and cyclists and she was pleased nobody had been injured by cars speeding round the corners.

"Boy it's been a close shave too many times."

She said it was a good way to reduce the "dominance of cars" and encourage other ways of transport.

Residents and parents with students at Victory Primary School had varying views.

"It's made it worst because cars have to basically come up on the curb to get around the corner to get to Jenner Rd and I have seen a couple do that," said Jenner Rd resident Tracy Rolly. "Even my husband said how is it making it safer for the kids when cars have got no room?"

Resident and mother Geri Sheppard said the new layout was good for pedestrians, but would make it harder for car drivers who need to be more conscious turning at the intersection.

"I think it is better as a mum walking the kids because it is much easier, much clearer because it is a busy area," she said.

Grandmother to children at Victory Primary School Lynette Gault said the new layout was good.

"It slows the traffic down, it is a lot better. It's far safer now than it was."

Victory resident Jasmine Norling said it was safer for school children crossing the road as "cars used to fly down this hill and now they have to stop", but the timing could have been better.

"It's a long time coming, but they could have done it in the school holidays it would have been a bit nicer," she said.

Railway Reserve cyclist Tim Russell said the wider footpath was good as the cycle lane flowed better, and it slowed traffic.

The council said the intersection would be much tighter for turning traffic but that was the intention of the changes as it would make safer roads of everybody. There were no plans to make the roads one way.

Raised tables were also considered as an alternative, but extending the footpath was considered a safer option.

The council said residents had been informed of the roadworks through letters, and work would be finished by mid March.