Concern as police disable inaccurate speed cameras

By Mathew Dearnaley

Jennifer Conlon and daughter Emma want more active traffic calming measures in their neighbourhood. Photo / Steven McNicholl
Jennifer Conlon and daughter Emma want more active traffic calming measures in their neighbourhood. Photo / Steven McNicholl

All five speed camera boxes posted on West Auckland streets have been disabled after failing calibration tests, police revealed yesterday.

These include what was the country's second busiest camera site, on Great North Rd, Glendene, and another near Titirangi, which was ranked No 9.

Decisions on whether to replace them with radar-based cameras will depend on a national review of the best sites for combating dangerous speeding.

But Superintendent John Kelly, the Waitemata road policing manager, said West Auckland motorists would be ill-advised to take advantage of the hiatus because his staff still had two camera vans and an array of hand-held anti-speeding devices in action.

The police disclosure followed a complaint to the Herald by a resident of Atkinson Rd in Titirangi that a camera box near her home had been vandalised more than four weeks ago and there had been no attempt to fix it.

Jennifer Conlon is concerned about the safety of children, including her two young daughters, after a camera in the box recorded a motorist coming down the hill from Titirangi at more than 200km/h.

More than 2000 people have signed her petition calling for Auckland Transport to provide more active "traffic calming" measures such as speed humps. But after being told yesterday that the box may not be reinstated, she said the campaign appeared to have "gone backwards".

Although the police sent 2152 tickets to motorists caught speeding past the Atkinson Rd site last year, the box has been left disabled for several months, awaiting a decision. It has been defaced with blue spray paint, which Mrs Conlon fears is an invitation to motorists to speed down the hill.

The Glendene camera box caught 8662 drivers last year, second only to one in Palmerston North, from which 11,815 tickets were issued.

But all five sites in West Auckland, through which a single camera was rotated, relied on traffic loops under road surfaces - technology which is to be replaced by digital and radar-based systems. Mr Kelly could not say when decisions would be made, and a police national headquarters official in charge of the review could not be reached.

The Waitemata police chief said future locations of cameras would be heavily influenced by crash histories, and the Atkinson Rd site was "marginal". But he said the concerns of local residents would also be considered.

Asked why the camera box could not be cleaned up to turn it back into some sort of deterrent to speeding motorists, he said arrangements had been made to remove the graffiti.

Mrs Conlon said there were many crashes in her road which the police did not record because they had not caused injuries, but that was only by good luck, and she feared for the safety of children of three nearby schools.

Auckland Transport spokesman Mark Hannan said the council agency was aware of speed and safety "issues" on Atkinson Rd and was working with police, the Waitakere Ranges Local Board and Mrs Conlon's group to make improvements.

It hoped to upgrade an intersection outside Kaurilands Primary with either a roundabout or traffic lights in January, and to improve a nearby footpath and parking area.

TICKET HEAVEN

* Great North Rd, Glendene - 8662 (New Zealand's 2nd busiest site)
* Atkinson Rd, Titirangi - 2142 (9th busiest).

- NZ Herald

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