Pedestrians cross over road

By Sophie Bond

Every weekday Racheal Wilson uses the Marua Rd crossing with her children, Jack and Mia. She never assumes cars will stop for the trio, especially when they are crossing from the southern side of Marua heading for Jack's kindergarten on Celtic Cres.

"You're seen so much better when crossing from the other side," says the Marua Rd resident. "I do find that where those planter boxes are, cars coming around the corner (from Whites Way) often don't see us waiting to cross. With it being such a busy road, it is quite a dangerous situation. It would be great if they got rid of the planters."

Getting rid of the planters. Yes, that was something that was supposed to have happened by now.

Ellerslie resident Matt Hancock first contacted Auckland Transport about the crossing late in 2010. He found, when crossing with his two small boys, that about one in five drivers failed to see them and had to brake suddenly.

He cited the planter boxes - about 1.5m-high to the west and 900mm to the east - a power pole and adjacent carparks as obstructions for motorists.

"There is angle parking to the west of the crossing less than 5m away. Cars backing out of the park closest to the crossing have to reverse over the crossing itself."

In response, Auckland Transport told him a contractor had assessed it and a review would be carried out. In April 2011, Mr Hancock spoke to The Aucklander and, following our investigation, the transport agency promised to "replace the planters at the crossing with new, lower-level designs".

It told Mr Hancock it would be done within 12 months. Mr Hancock circled the date on his calendar and waited.

"I thought I'd give them the benefit of the doubt, but now, one year later, there's no change. In fact, what they have done is just ripped out the plants and put more in and that hasn't made any difference. In the meantime, I've just been trying to keep my boys safe."

Auckland Transport told The Aucklander an engineer has investigated and it's been decided to cut back the existing planter by 2m.

"This will provide improved visibility of pedestrians for drivers approaching the crossing... [and] will improve visibility of any pedestrians waiting to cross Marua Rd."

It believes the crossing complies with national guidelines and is sufficient for pedestrians and vehicles to be well aware of each other.

Mr Hancock feels moving the crossing is the best solution but, at the very least, the planter boxes need to go and he has a tempting offer for Auckland Transport.

"I know that Auckland Transport are short of money so I'd be happy to offer my services as a labourer for a day free of charge to remove the planter boxes.

"I think we need a bit more community spirit and input into the area we live in, and it'd be well worth taking a day off work to help make a safer crossing."


Requirements for pedestrian crossings can be found in the New Zealand Transport Agency's pedestrian planning and design guide:

Section 15.2 - "Street furniture that may obscure visibility should be located well away from the crossing" and "parking should be prohibited for at least 15m either side of the crossing point".

Section 15.5 - Landscaping "must not obscure visibility for pedestrians or drivers".

The Marua Rd planter boxes do not comply with either requirement.


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- The Aucklander

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