Rebecca Quilliam

Rebecca Quilliam is senior reporter at the APNZ News Service office in Wellington.

Steps toward Wellington street safety

Temporary barriers will remain in place until other measures aimed at improving pedestrian safety are introduced. Photo / Cliffano Subagio
Temporary barriers will remain in place until other measures aimed at improving pedestrian safety are introduced. Photo / Cliffano Subagio

Pedestrians failing to look both ways before crossing central Wellington roads are to blame for crashes along the so-called Golden Mile over the past two years, according to a pedestrian safety report.

Two reports into pedestrian safety and crash reduction strategy were released yesterday and pointed to a number of safety improvements to be implemented along bus lanes that have been in place since 2010.

Since the lanes were introduced, 13 people have been hit by buses, including Vanessa Green who was killed last year and Tim Brown, a director of NZ Bus, who suffered serious injuries last month and was released from hospital yesterday.

Included in the safety recommendations was to close the Bond St exit to Willis St to traffic, where there had been a number of bus versus car crashes in the last two years.

Temporary barriers will remain in place until other measures aimed at improving pedestrian safety are introduced.

They include low-level street furniture such as seats placed to channel pedestrians towards safer areas to cross; the removal of unnecessary obstructions to sight lines such as telephone boxes and poster bollards; reduced waiting times for pedestrians at controlled crossings; and reducing the speed limit to 20 km/h along Manners St and the stretch of Willis St between Mercer St and Manners St.

The pedestrian behaviour report found that of 1386 pedestrians observed, 25 failed to look right until they were on the road, 2.5 metres from the kerb. Another 74 barely glanced right.

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said Ms Green and Mr Brown were top of councillors' minds.

"The death of Venessa and the crash involving Tim were terribly sad.

"The safety of people on foot is something everyone at the Council is extremely concerned about. We're proud of our walkable capital, with more people along the Golden Mile than any other shopping street in Australasia.

"Today, therefore, is about taking action to minimise the risk of another serious crash."

Ms Wade-Brown said work on the changes will start as soon as possible.

- APNZ

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