Nation's worst crossing removed

By Amy McGillivray -
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A busy Tauranga pedestrian crossing was listed as the most dangerous in the country before it was removed late last year, new figures show.

The NZ Transport Agency says six crashes took place near the zebra crossing on Cameron Rd, which was located 20 metres north of the intersection of 19th Ave, in the five years between 2009 and 2013.

The crossings with the second highest number of recorded crashes were in Wellington and Waitaki with four crashes each.

NZTA spokesman Andy Knackstead said only one of the crashes resulted in a minor injury.

"All but one of the crashes in question involved rear-end collisions where one vehicle struck another which had stopped or slowed to allow pedestrians to cross. One crash involved a vehicle striking a pedestrian."

The agency had listed three of the crashes occurring at the crossing just north of 19th Ave and three at a zebra crossing right on the intersection of 19th Ave and Cameron Rd but Tauranga City Council confirmed there had only ever been the one zebra crossing in the area.

Mr Knackstead said the variation may have been to do with exactly where and how the accident was reported by police.

Tauranga City Council transportation manager Martin Parkes said the number of crashes was partially behind the decision to remove the crossing.

The zebra crossing on Cameron Rd had been removed eight months ago when the road was widened to four lanes and traffic lights were installed at the entrance to Tauranga Hospital.

"Crashes at this location were, in part, a reason for us wanting to combine a pedestrian facility into the new traffic light controlled intersection.

"In busy urban environments, light controlled pedestrian facilities are generally safer than zebra crossings," he said.

Mr Knackstead said there was also one non-injury accident recorded at the intersection of Cameron Rd and 19th Ave this year.

Despite the new signalised crossing at 18th Ave a Bay of Plenty Times reporter noticed several near misses as people dashed across Cameron Rd near 19th Ave.

Bay of Plenty District Health Board trauma service clinical nurse specialist Katrina O'Leary said in the four years she had been working at the hospital there had been two separate hospital admissions directly relating to accidents in the two zones mentioned in the NZTA report.

Mr Parkes said the council was now focused on improving medium-risk sites, including the Maunganui Rd/Tweed St intersection, the Devonport Rd/17th Ave intersection and Bellevue Rd between Brookfield Tce and Millers Rd.

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