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Ask Phoebe: Traffic island installed to improve safety at level crossing

By Phoebe Falconer

13 comments
Photo / APN
Photo / APN

Can you tell me why a traffic island was put in on Woodward Rd next to the railway line? This cuts the access to the right turning lane into New North Rd and subsequently builds up the traffic back along Woodward Rd. Brenda Winchester, Mt Albert.

KiwiRail has been undertaking level crossing survey and risk assessment at this and other crossings.

Two significant safety concerns were identified:

•Vehicles queuing back from the New North Rd traffic signals and over the level crossing.

• Vehicles overtaking illegally across the level crossing to access the turning lane and ignoring the no passing lines

In the past six years there have been nine recorded near misses at the Woodward Rd crossing.

Additional signs and road markings were installed in mid-2010 to further highlight the level crossing and to discourage unsafe behaviour.

However, these unsafe situations continued, and more work has been needed.

Recent safety improvement work includes:

•An emergency escape zone, which is on the eastern side of New North Rd, to provide vehicles that have been caught on the level crossing with an escape area.

•Raised median islands and no passing lines to stop illegal overtaking at the crossing.

Auckland Transport appreciates that there can be traffic delays at the level crossing and at traffic signals at the New North Road and Woodward Road intersection, during busy hours. The operation of the traffic signals is being monitored by to see if any improvements can be made in the future.

I was approaching the zebra crossing in my bus/motorhome last week on Carrington Rd near Unitec, when two cyclists suddenly wheeled onto the crossing, still riding, with no warning, from the footpath on which they had been riding. At the speed they were moving they nearly reached the middle of the road before I could toot at them, and warn that I had no way of stopping in time. Had they not looked up I would have had no way of avoiding running them over, and they seemed quite put out as if I should have stopped. What are the rules here? Peter Wharton, Auckland.

It seems the cyclists were at fault, as they appear to have been breaking several rules. In the first instance, they should not have been riding on the footpath unless delivering newspapers, mail or leaflets or there is a sign indicating it is a shared pedestrian and cycle path. Secondly, cyclists using pedestrian crossings should dismount and walk across. However, some special crossings are designed for both pedestrians and cyclists. If this was the case, you, as a motorist, would have faced a red traffic light. And thirdly, people using a pedestrian crossing should be aware of approaching vehicles and should make sure they have been seen before stepping out.

- NZ Herald

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