Residents disappointed with NZTA's 'timid' plans to improve Paremata roundabout

JAMES PAUL
Last updated 20:58 05/10/2017
KEVIN STENT/STUFF

Paremata residents want better options than those being touted by NZTA for the roundabout on State Highway 1.

KEVIN STENT/STUFF
Southbound traffic at the Paremata roundabout on Thursday evening. Long queues build up waiting for a break in northbound traffic turning right on to State Highway 58.
NZTA/SUPPLIED
NZ Transport Agency proposals to ensure safer access to and from the railway station car park. But residents say they are too "timid".
KEVIN STENT/STUFF
Residents have suggested introducing phased traffic light controls at peak times to ensure a better traffic flow.
KEVIN STENT/STUFF
A bus tries to enter the roundabout from Paremata railway station on Thursday evening, heading into northbound traffic. Residents have described leaving the station as "like running the gauntlet".
DANIEL WHITFIELD/STUFF
Resident Caroline Collins has been appealing to NZTA to make access to and from the Paremata railway station safer for two years. (File photo)

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Motorists may have to suffer for two more years before any significant improvements are made to one of Wellington's most gridlocked roundabouts.

Paremata roundabout on State Highway 1, north of Porirua, regularly becomes blocked in peak hours.

Those who commute to and from the capital by train must battle their way out of the station car park, sometimes crossing three lanes.

The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) recently proposed alterations to ensure pulling on to SH1 and SH58 was safer for motorists, but residents have dismissed the moves as "very timid".

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The agency has told residents in the past that there would be no changes until after the Transmission Gully motorway was completed in 2020, according to Whitby Residents' Association chairman Geoff Mowday. "Their initial position was to just grin and bear it."

Now NZTA proposes installing advanced warning signs, moving the station car park entry and exit north, trimming vegetation, changing the lane layout, and painting the northbound lanes leading into the roundabout to highlight speed changes.

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But Mowday said the proposals were a "very timid attempt" at improving traffic flow.

Leaving the Paremata station car park was like running the gauntlet, he said, as some commuters had to cross three SH1 lanes to access SH58.

"At the moment there is no pause in the northbound traffic flow sufficient to give you comfort to make that manoeuvre. The roundabout is a major risk.

"All we want is easier access for traffic coming out of the car park between 4.30 and 6.30 at night."

Paremata Residents' Association president Russell Morrison echoed Mowday's frustrations.

"It seems at the moment that [NZTA] have taken the position of doing as little as possible, and we're hoping they can explain their reasons for doing that."

Residents have suggested introducing phased traffic light controls at peak times only, allowing motorists to leave the station car park at scheduled intervals.

However, such pleas have gone unheard before.

Caroline Collins, who petitioned the agency for traffic lights, or changing the road layout, in 2015 said she too was told the "ultimate solution" would be to wait until 2020, when motorists began using Transmission Gully.

NZTA regional transport system manager Mark Owen said he was committed to working with the community to address their concerns.

"We're meeting with the residents' association on Thursday evening to discuss these issues with them in more detail.

"We understand how important it is for local people to have safe access to the highway from the railway station car park.

"We have been working with Greater Wellington Regional Council and a traffic engineer to explore options for improving the access and efficiency of this very busy road junction."

- Stuff

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