Matthew Backhouse

Matthew Backhouse is an APNZ news reporter based in Wellington.

New crossings for Wellington pedestrian black spot

Many accidents occur between Courtenay Place and Taranaki Street, Wellington. Photo / File
Many accidents occur between Courtenay Place and Taranaki Street, Wellington. Photo / File

A notorious pedestrian black spot between Wellington's main entertainment strip and the waterfront will be made safer with controlled crossings.

The upgrade comes less than a fortnight after a man was seriously injured when he was hit by a bus at another well-known black spot, prompting renewed scrutiny of pedestrian safety in the capital.

Wellington City Council said work began today to install two new signal-controlled crossings and a zebra crossing at the busy intersection of Wakefield St, Jervois Quay and Taranaki St.

Council figures show there have been 15 reported incidents near the intersection in the last five years, with most involving pedestrian injuries.

The intersection lies on one of the main walking routes between Wellington's main entertainment strip, Courtenay Place, and Te Papa museum on the waterfront.

Wellington City Council acting roading and traffic manager Mike Mendonca said the current layout allowed pedestrians to get "stranded" at the intersection if they were not careful.

"It's an area that we've been looking at for some time, and so we're pleased that finally we've been able to do something positive so that pedestrian flow across that part of the city will be much smoother," he told APNZ.

"Tourists, commuters, shoppers - everyone will benefit from these changes."

Mr Mendonca said while there had been 15 reported incidents in the last five years, there were probably a number of near-misses and unreported incidents at the site as well.

The new pedestrian crossings will make use of an existing traffic island and would be timed to coincide with existing traffic light phases so they did not delay traffic.

New shelters would be installed on both sides of Jervois Quay and a barrier fence would be put up around the the perimeter of the traffic island.

The changes come after Wakefield St was widened at the Taranaki St traffic lights, increasing the number of northbound lanes from four to five.

The upgrade is part of the citywide SaferRoads project, which aims to eliminate traffic and pedestrian black spots.

The start of work comes after NZ Bus director Tim Brown was seriously injured when he was struck by one of his company's own buses on central Willis St on July 19.

Temporary barriers have been extended along the footpath near the crash site, which is only metres away from where 40-year-old jogger Venessa Green was struck and killed by a bus last June.

Mr Brown was initially in a serious condition in Wellington Hospital but has since improved to stable.

Councillors are due to be briefed on a report on pedestrian safety in the capital next month.

- APNZ

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