As you know, we’re all about the local links and local knowledge. Auckland Transport is proposing a useful safety upgrade for a dangerous intersection in Te Atatū South. But with a few simple changes, it could be so much better!

We’ve put our heads together with Bike Te Atatū and Bike Henderson to improve the intersection design and connect the nearby safe speed zone to the Henderson Creek shared path. Because, frankly, if you’re spending the time and public money to dig up and fix a bit of road, why not get it right the first time?

Help us convince Auckland Transport to level up this design for a safer, smarter outcome!

Add your voice before feedback closes on Tuesday, 21 July 2020

See the project page and feedback link here.

And read on for our suggestions for improvements to the design…


What’s the plan?

Auckland Transport is proposing changes at the junction of School Road and Central Park Drive in Te Atatū South. If you’re familiar with this intersection, you’ll know it’s pretty bad for those driving – and much worse for anyone biking or walking.

Turning crashes are a regular occurrence here. And, with four lanes of traffic and two swooping slip lanes at the intersection, the only safe way to cross this section of road on foot is via a 400m detour (!) through an underpass north of this spot…. which is also the only safe crossing along 1.2km (!!) of very busy road.

AT’s proposal is to signalise the intersection for traffic, including the following for pedestrians:

  • Signalised pedestrian crossings over School Road and Central Park Drive
  • Kerb build-outs, to reduce the crossing distances
  • A new bit of footpath connecting to the Henderson Creek shared path

All the details can be seen on the project page here.

We think AT’s proposals are a solid safety improvement for motorists and pedestrians – however, design for people on bikes seems to have been neglected, despite the location along a major cycle route.

AT’s proposed design: new signals and crossings, kerb buildouts (removing existing slip lanes), and a new footpath link to the Henderson Creek shared path.

Why not join the dots for safety?

As you can see in the image above, a walking and biking pathway runs along the west side of Central Park Drive. This is the historic Henderson Creek Path, an important and well-used link between Henderson town centre and the Northwestern cycleway.

Central Park Drive looking south, at the intersection with School Road. You can see the Henderson Creek path at the right of the picture.

Really, the whole path needs an upgrade to widen it and add lights; and this section along Central Park Drive is slowly but surely slumping into the creek. But for now, it needs a more bike-friendly connection to the road.

The Henderson Creek path, just near the intersection proposed for upgrade. (The path itself, a legacy of the far-sighted Waitakere City Council, could do with an upgrade to widen and light the way). 

Moreover, the area directly northeast of this intersection is one of the first suburbs in Auckland to receive the “blanket 30kph” treatment as part of AT’s new push for Vision Zero, and also contains two primary schools. We think there’s scope for joining the dots here, too.

The new safer speeds zone in Te Atatū South. We’ve marked the intersection with an orange star, so you can see how it functions as a gateway to the zone.

Our proposal for a better and safer design

We’re calling on AT to make the following improvements, and we strongly encourage you to join the call, using the feedback form!

ADD YOUR FEEDBACK HERE

  • Widen and improve the proposed new bit of footpath connecting Central Park Drive to the Henderson Creek shared path. This needs to be wide enough for a shared path, with turning radii at the top and bottom so that at least when riding slowly, it can be safely used on a bike. The existing path along the creek will need a lot of work in future – but this new link to it should be future-proofed from the start!
  • Change all pedestrian crossings at the intersection to dual pedestrian/bike crossings. The most important (and most viable) of these is on the northern side, and our following “big ask” relies on this.
  • Our big ask: add a new short stretch of shared path on the north side of School Road, from the intersection towards the new roundabout at Vodanovich Road. This would extend safe, all-ages cycling access into the new 30kph zone.

  • Additionally: please add on- and off-ramps for cyclists interfacing between the road, the shared path network, and the crossing facilities at this intersection. (This might require widening of some pavement.)
  • Also, please add advanced stop boxes for those braver cyclists who choose to remain in the roadway.

ADD YOUR FEEDBACK HERE BY TUESDAY 21 JULY


Thanks for adding your voice!

A final note: yes, it’s entirely possible that AT may respond to our “big ask” by saying it’s “out of scope.”

And yet, as the project page clearly says: “Auckland Transport cares for your safety. We want to make our roads safe for everyone, people walking and cycling, especially for our kids and senior citizens and people driving.”

In this case, by adding an extra ~50m of path – for which the space is already there – you can connect the new 30kph safer streets zone with the Henderson Creek Path, and thus turn an isolated intersection improvement into a significant link in the whole walk and cycle network. For a safety project, we’d say that’s well within scope.

Watch this space.

Categories
Safety West Auckland
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