Pressure rises on crossing changes

By Matthew Martin

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CONFUSING: Rotorua's Frank Murray crosses Tutanekai St at one of four new Green Corridor pedestrian crossings. PHOTO/STEPHEN PARKER
CONFUSING: Rotorua's Frank Murray crosses Tutanekai St at one of four new Green Corridor pedestrian crossings. PHOTO/STEPHEN PARKER

The decision to make changes to Rotorua's controversial Green Corridor was not communicated to councillors or the Rotorua Lakes Council's chief executive.

Changes made to the corridor have also caused confusion and led to a "whole lot" of inquiries to Rotorua police and calls from the Rotorua Chamber of Commerce to redesign the crossings before someone is hurt or killed.

Over the weekend, council staff installed four new red and white striped pedestrian crossings along the Green Corridor - on Ranolf and Pukuatua streets, and two on Tutanekai St - due to safety concerns.

According to council transport and waste solutions director Stavros Michael, the changes cost about $15,000 and were signed off by him without consultation with councillors or chief executive Geoff Williams.

"The chief executive delegates such matters to expert staff and he is not involved in detailed decisions on the nature and design considerations for each intervention.
"Council and elected members delegate implementation to staff with the appropriate expertise in these programmes," he said.

Rotorua Chamber of Commerce chief executive Darrin Walsh said he thought the crossings should be black and white so as not to confuse visitors to Rotorua.

"In a popular tourist area like Rotorua, do they understand that a red and white crossing is a pedestrian crossing? We could have a few flattened tourists if they don't understand this," he said.

Officer in charge of Rotorua road policing, Senior Sergeant Nicky Riordan, said police had received a "whole lot" of inquiries from locals on Monday concerned about confusion caused by the changes. "There may be some confusion, but motorists need to understand that it is a painted pedestrian crossing so pedestrians have right of way."

She said the changes would hopefully remove the confusion the Green Corridor originally caused as to who had right of way. "We need to be aware of everyone on the road, people make mistakes ... locals have raised concerns about it, but it is a small change that people will get used to."

She said police understood a number of agencies and authorities had been consulted and the council would not have gone ahead if it weren't okay.

Mr Michael said there were red and white crossings in Petone, Panmure, other parts of Auckland and around the world.

He said he had been informed by the New Zealand Transport Agency that pedestrian crossings must have reflectorised white stripes on a contrasting background with black and white poles with orange discs at either side. He said there was no requirement for them to be black and white.

Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick told the Rotorua Daily Post on Monday the mayor could not know everything that went on and that it was an operational project.

Additional reporting Kyra Dawson

- Rotorua Daily Post

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