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Flat refusal for traffic lights deeply worrying

December 9th, 2011

A death or serious injury at the intersection of High Street with Pah and Greenwood streets is very likely if NZ Transit Authority continues to refuse the installation of traffic lights there, according to community board chairman David Ogilvie.

In his report to the community board for its final 2011 meeting next Tuesday, David has again expressed his frustration and deep concern following a letter from NZTA Principal Asset Manager Michael Kargar declining outright the request that has been repeatedly made over many years for traffic lights at the busy and dangerous intersection.

The letter said that NZTA "are fully aware of the desire from the community board to see these projects, and have completed a preliminary benefit cost analysis for installing traffic lights and the intersection of Pah/Greenwood and [the building of] the Clock Tower Corner roundabout.

"The results show that both projects have a very low benefit cost ratio (which takes into account potential accident savings and travel time savings). The project therefore does not currently qualify in terms of priority for funding, in the foreseeable future. .... We are monitoring the traffic situationi in Motueka, including both crossing facilities and traffic flow through the town and will continue to work with local stakeholders on these issues."

David Ogilvie says the Motueka Transportation Study of 2009 2011 conducted by MWH for NZTA and TDC recommended traffic signals "and now this comprehensive and consultative study is being ignored."

He says the corner is undoubtedly a very dangerous intersection. "The fact of few accidents is a credit to pedestrians and drivers. The level of goodwill is high and so is the level of skill."

David has monitored activity there on a Friday afternoon from 2.45pm to 3.15pm. "There have been some hair-raising incidents. Vehicles turning right from Pah Street or from Greenwood Street have taken considerable risk. Pedestrians crossing at Greenwood Street have had to duck and/or run.

"Parklands School children usually have a teacher controlling them and all drivers are particularly watchful of them. Pedestrians who cross at Pah Street have a central 'safety zone' for their security. But for all these people there is an increased risk, which traffic signals would mitigate.

The decision by NZTA, on the advice of their consultants, is frustrating and worrying. A death, or serious injury, at this intersection is very likely. The risk is really quite frightening."

He says probably his report will be called alarmist or scare-mongering, but he believes the message is crystal clear. "It was supplied by the very recent Motueka Transportation Study and that has been endorsed by the residents of Motueka and by the Motueka Community Board.

"Traffic signals at that intersection are urgent. How do we get the message through?"

[See our earlier stories on this issue here]


Comment by William Cleaver:
[Posted 11 December 2011]

While driving down Sailsbury Rd past Waimea College Richmond just the other day I found myself waiting at a new set of traffic lights. I wondered why where these lights were here. The intersection has on one side a driveway into the college and on the other a residential street with about 20 houses (at a glance) in it. Now why have these lights been located here, has the council seen fit to have the roading experts think that this driveway or side street have a major importance to fit traffic lights on? Some body really important must live in this street or the roading expert mistook High St Motueka for this location. Come on who makes these decisions?

Personally I believe that lights in Main St Motueka should be installed for pedestrians (like Shirley Papanui Rd ChCh) to control access across the road. How many times have we waited for a pedestrian to cross and when you are just about to pull away some other prat starts across?

Comment by Sean Delany:
[Posted 13 December 2011]

The issue on the lights is an interesting one and one we fully support. Even in the mornings from say 8:00am-9:00am, lunchtime and when people knock off around 5:00pm can be harrowing!

I have been in Motueka since 2001 and back then we were moaning about the intersections. Not sure where the Land Transport's heads are at. Maybe, if they just lived here for a month they would realise what we are talking about. I pray that they use wisdom in the future before something terrible happens as mentioned in the article.

Comment by Linda Ashworth:
[Posted 23 December 2011]

I absolutely agree that traffic lights at the High Street/Pah Street intersection are desperately needed. Almost every time I go through that intersection my heart is in my mouth because of another driver taking risks/ not looking all ways thoroughly etc. So, PLEASE can we have traffic lights there as a matter of urgency before, as your article says, there is a fatality or serious injury.

Comment by Pauline Neal:
[Posted 9 March 2012]

I was bought up in Motueka, and one thing that has never changed is the congested traffic flow at intersections. The intersections are Old Wharf Road/High Street, Tudor Street entering in to High Street, Whakawera/High Street/Woodlands Ave and Pah/High/Greenwood. Newer issues are turning right from New World or the Warehouse ... it is a nightmare. The problems are waiting to cross over and turn right due to a high volume traffic.

Well I have a solution after spending time in England. They have small roundabouts everywhere and it works well. The small intersections have round metal discs embedded in the middle of the road. There are no traffic issues there (except the condition of their roads) and to make these types of roundabouts must be cheaper than traffic lights??

That`s my suggestion. It would be great to drive around Motueka without waiting for ages at intersections, worse at Christmas ... its a nightmare!

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