Drivers are venting their frustration over being delayed for up to six red lights after an intersection was redesigned in Mt Albert, Auckland.
The changes to the crossing of New North, Carrington and Mt Albert Rds have drawn flak since they were completed by Auckland Transport last year. Queues of vehicles sometimes stretch to hundreds of metres long.
The changes included reducing the formerly right turn and straight ahead lane on Carrington Rd to right turn only. That means all straight ahead traffic must use the left lane, which remains a left turn and straight ahead lane.
Pedestrians can now cross in any direction, including diagonally, on a "walk" phase that occurs once per cycle.
Other changes were made to traffic lanes in the $6.5 million AT/Auckland Council project, extra cycle lanes were installed, on-street parking was reduced and footpaths and bus stops were improved and a "pocket park" was built.
Drivers have taken to a local Facebook group to express their discontent.
"Stuck in traffic in Mt Albert shops," wrote one. "Feeling grumpy. How is this good for retailers and residents?"
"Mt Albert traffic is a blimming nightmare," said another, adding that the most changes of lights she had had to wait for to get through the intersection was six.
A third wrote: "I avoid Mt Albert shops now and I have heard other [sic] say the same, it can't be good for the retailers."
Two people said they drive through the side streets to save time.
Others, however, said the changes made the area safer for pedestrians.
Bhaidas Bhula, the owner of New North Pharmacy, which is also a postal agency, said his takings were down following the changes, although in part that was caused by the opening of the Chemist Warehouse in St Lukes.
"The regular prescription people have stayed loyal. The post people haven't come back. People are coming in every day saying, 'I avoid Mt Albert now and go elsewhere'. There is a big discontent."
A spokesman for Auckland Transport said tweaking of light phasing had improved the intersection's performance, although New North Rd towards Avondale remained a challenge in the evening peak. Just one vehicle parked in the clearway slowed traffic.
He said the right turn only out of Carrington Rd was considered the best option and engineers were monitoring it.
The spokesman suggested work at the far end of Carrington Rd might be affecting travel times.
Mt Albert Business Association chairman Stephen Gough, owner of the Albert's Post bar and eatery, said the outpouring on Facebook came after one of the Carrington Rd lanes was closed in the weekend for work on a shop veranda.
He acknowledged drivers' frustrations but said slow traffic was the reality in Auckland.
"What they've tried to do is make it a more people friendly and pedestrian friendly town centre."
To counter the complaints over parking, he said spaces were "always" available at one of the off-street parking sites.
But he did object to the aesthetics of the upgrading, especially the pocket park on the east of the intersection which was "a concrete eyesore".
Local board chairman Peter Haynes said, when asked if he wanted changes to the intersection, "We need to talk to Auckland Transport officers about problems at peak times."
He said the upgrading had been good for the area, which had been in a "death spiral", but accepted the pocket park needed help - possibly "more planting, to soften it".
The board was addressing vehicles nipping through back streets for short cuts. He said residents were being asked about introducing more traffic-calming in the triangle formed by Alberton Ave, New North Rd and Mt Albert Rd.