Extra traffic light pole added to corner of Tuam and High Streets in Chch

A review has found 19 traffic light poles weren't enough for a central Christchurch intersection, and a 20th has been added.
STACY SQUIRES/FAIRFAX NZ

A review has found 19 traffic light poles weren't enough for a central Christchurch intersection, and a 20th has been added.

Another traffic light pole has sprouted on Christchurch's most crowded intersection, after a review found that 19 lights just wouldn't cut it. 

Locals and an urban designer criticised the 19 traffic light poles for being unnecessarily busy and confusing when they were first installed at the intersection of Tuam St and High St in October.

However, a Christchurch City Council review found the setup was inadequate, and has since added a 20th to the central city intersection.

The review found an additional pole was needed to aid pedestrians crossing High St from east to west
GEORGE HEARD/FAIRFAX NZ

The review found an additional pole was needed to aid pedestrians crossing High St from east to west

The extra pole was snuck in overnight last Monday, before the lights were turned on for the first time later in the week. 

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Christchurch City Council head of transport Chris Gregory said the additional pole was added to the south-east corner of the intersection to aid pedestrians crossing High St from east to west.

The extra pole was added last week.
GEORGE HEARD/FAIRFAX NZ

The extra pole was added last week.

"As part of all signals installation projects, we undertake an on-site review once installation is complete. During this review it was identified that an additional pole with call button was required to aid pedestrians crossing High Street."

He said installation was carried out at night to reduce further disturbances to businesses and users in the area. 

The signals were originally scheduled to be turned on in early November, but only got activated in the week before Christmas. Gregory said the delay was due to testing and minor layout changes.

The intersection was "far more complex" than most intersections, he said. It controls two future tram lines, a new cycleway, pedestrian crossings, and motor vehicles. 

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"The need for each pole will become apparent once the signal heads are installed and in operation."

 

Most vehicle traffic flows down Tuam St, which is one-way heading east. The area has a 30 kilometre speed limit. High St directly to the south of Tuam St is currently closed while heritage buildings on the street await earthquake strengthening repairs.

Prior to the Christchurch quakes, the intersection had no lights and was a 50 km zone.

After the poles were installed, Urban designer James Lundy said there was an international movement in urban design to "de-clutter areas from signage and poles". 

"When you take that away, people drive in their cars and behave in a civil manner towards the more vulnerable road users like cyclists and pedestrians."

Locals also lashed out at the intersection, saying it was confusing and kind of overkill.

When the poles were first installed, C1 Espresso owner Sam Crofskey, whose business has been on the intersection for 20 years, said "not to say they haven't happened, but we haven't seen a single accident on that corner".

 

 - Stuff

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