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Pedestrian-operated lights planned for High Street

March 12th, 2014
[by David Armstrong]

After 15 years of proposals, knock-backs and anguish, Motueka's CBD will get two sets of pedestrian-operated traffic lights and better control of traffic flow through the town.

TDC's Transportation Manager Gary Clark told the Motueka Community Board yesterday that Council has decided the town needs a better and safer way of managing pedestrians crossing the busy highway.

The NZ Transport Agency has repeatedly said it does not want to change traffic management through Motueka and does not have any budget for installing any kinds of traffic lights.

Gary said that TDC has decided that the issue is of sufficient importance that it will use funds from its own Minor Improvements budget to do the work this coming financial year.

The proposal is to remove the three High Street pedestrian crossings between Greenwood and Tudor streets, and instead install two sets of lights that pedestrians control by push buttons.

The lights will be placed away from side-street entrances and instead will probably be near where access laneways are at present, meaning few car parking spaces will be lost. No trees will be removed nor any changes made to kerbs.

Gary said the lights will break up the traffic flow into blocks, and having them away from Tudor Street and Greenwood Street intersections will make it easier for cars to enter High Street from those side streets in traffic breaks.

The sets of lights will be phased so that a "green wave" will allow vehicles to move through town with fewer stops.

Doing away with pedestrian crossings will give certainty to people crossing the street. It will also put an end to every local motorist's greatest hate - stopping for a pedestrian to get across a crossing, only at the last second to have another person enter the crossing and saunter across, and yet another ....

Council will soon organise an open-day information session where people can make suggestions about the placement of the new crossings and generally learn how it will all work, and then carry out formal consultation. Our Town Motueka will also survey retailers to get their opinions.

Community board chairman Paul Hawkes said he was "rapt to hear this", and it is an "amicable compromise" between the current situation and the ideal of having full traffic lights at the intersection with Greenwood and Pah streets.

But board member David Ogilvie said they must not take their eyes off the longer term goal of having traffic lights plus roundabouts at the intersections of High Street with Whakarewa and King Edward streets.


Comment by Jim Butler:
[Posted 23 March 2014]

I suspect this proposal to replace the three pedestrian crossings over the High St with two light controlled crossings is more for the benefit of through traffic than for local users.

If the result is faster moving traffic through the CBD part of the High St, there will be the potential is for more accidents to occur, some possibly very serious. If serious accidents do start occurring in the High St, NZTA may have to dust off its old bypass plans for Motueka.

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