Almost 700 speed bumps have been installed or planned for streets around Auckland in the last four years at a cost of up to $97 million.
Transport officials say the speed bumps were a response to a "road safety crisis" when deaths and injuries spiked on the city's streets. Some residents, though, are less than impressed with the roadworks.
One Manurewa local - where some 250 speed bumps have been installed or planned – said the moves were "ridiculous".
Manurewa is not the only suburb caught up in the construction.
The Rosehill/Papakura area had 68 speed humps, tables and raised intersections installed since 2017. Te Atatū South had 47 put in while Māngere Bridge will soon have 28 new speed tables.
Also underway is the installation of 28-speed bumps and 11 raised speed tables on various roads in Herne Bay to make the area more cycle-friendly.
The number of these sorts of "traffic calming measures" has ramped up across Auckland in recent years with only two installed in 12 months to June 2016 compared to 57 installed and at least 10 more funded in the same period in 2020.
Information released to the Herald by Auckland Transport shows that between July 2016 and this year 698 speeds bumps had been budgeted for costing the city between $3.5m and $97.7m. The cost for the work depended on whether they were speed tables, at an average cost of about $140,000 each; more traditional speed humps ($30,000 each); or speed cushions ($5000 each). Speed tables are raised section of roads with a ramp on both sides while speed cushions are small rectangular humps, resembling a seat cushion in shape that usually do not extend across an entire section of road. AT could not reveal a breakdown on whether the 698 speeds bumps were tables, humps or cushions.
Auckland Transport engagement manager Phil Wratt said the construction surge was because of an independent expert review of road safety in Auckland commissioned by AT in 2017.
The review highlighted the city's "road safety crisis" which had seen deaths and serious injuries increase by 70 per cent between 2014 and 2017.
Since then, investment in road safety in Auckland had increased significantly, he said.
"The road safety programme includes a number of interventions targeted specifically at reducing road trauma, including the region-wide pedestrian crossings improvement programme. One way to improve safety is by introducing vertical features, such as a raised table," Wratt said.
He said raised table zebra crossings slowed vehicles to 30km/h or less which increased the survival rate in a crash and reduced the chance of a pedestrian being hit at all.
Research suggested a drop from 50km/h to 30km/h reduced the chances of a pedestrian dying in a collision from 80 per cent to 10 per cent.
Wratt said AT was responsible for 7391km of roads around the city and received about 8000 requests from community members about road safety each year.
AT selected project sites came from requests, crash history and high-risk areas, he said
AA spokeswoman Sarah Geard said the number of speed bumps alone might seem a lot but it was important they be put in context with the size of the roading network.
"Speed bumps and tables make good sense in lower-speed environments if there is a problem with vehicles travelling too fast because they will have much better compliance than simply changing the limit alone and that is going to be good for safety," she said.
As for the number of speed bumps needed in one area, she said there was always going to be debate about "hitting the sweet spot".
"Do too little and it won't have much impact, do too much and it can be seen as overkill – but we think adding speed bumps and tables in residential areas and around schools will sit comfortably with most motorists."
Geard said the bumps needed to be tailored to fit the location and installed with some common sense to make sure busy 50km/h urban arterial routes were not reduced to a crawl.
She said the AA advocated for installing temporary measures when a lot were going in one area so the impact could be monitored in the real world and adjustments made quickly.
"Sometimes with these changes the reality can turn out to be different to what the plan intended," she said.
'It's a speed trap'
West Auckland's Glen Eden is in the midst of having nine raised intersections and crossings installed sparking mixed reactions from the community.
The bumps were part of the wider Glen Eden town centre safety improvements which aimed to slow traffic down along busy West Coast Rd and Captain Scott Rd.
Auckland Transport said between 2014 and 2019 there were seven serious and 23 minor injury crashes on West Coast Rd between Captain Scott Rd and Glendale Rd.
Glen Eden Residents' Association chairman Ruben Penning said safety on West Coast Rd was an issue but feared the bumps would only solve one problem and create another.
"The end goal is to slow traffic and allow people to cross safely so we'd stand up for AT and Fulton Hogan on that side of things," he said.
"The problem is, the town centre is a major thoroughfare. What they have done is create a lot of rat runs around the town centre."
Penning feared that now people knew how to skip the town centre using residential roads they would continue to do so, moving the problem to those streets.
Waitākere Ranges Local Board chairman Greg Presland said in the 32 years he'd had his office on West Coast Rd he had seen just how dangerous it was.
"It's a speed trap," he said citing the AT data about injury crashes. "I know speed bumps are a pain to many people but they do seem to perform their function quite well"
Other speed bumps in the area had proven effective in slowing traffic and he was confident the changes through the town centre would have the same effect.
"I know they're controversial but Auckland's safety record over the last few years has not been good on its roads so we really do need to do something about that."
As reported by the Herald in February, Manurewa is in store for the largest chunk of the city's speed bumps with more than 250 planned throughout the South Auckland suburb - although the AT data only included the 138 already installed in stage one.
Reactions have been mixed with Manurewa Local Board chairman Joseph Allan saying it was worth it to save even one life however many residents were more critical.
"When you have 11 speed humps on a 1km street you have to agree that's ridiculous," one resident said. "The council needs to go back to the drawing board and come up with a better solution that is not a complete waste of money and a nuisance to the community."
AT said the measures would help to create a slower speed environment, saying the area covered by the second stage had 131 crashes in the past five years and vehicles travelled at more than 120km/h on Rimu Rd, McDivitt St and Coxhead Rd.