Building more roundabouts is one way the Government plans to improve safety on our roads, but controversy looms over the removal of a big roundabout in Panmure.
Auckland Transport is going against the Government's Vision Zero plan to make roads safer by tearing up the Panmure roundabout and replacing it with a dangerous intersection, says the Panmure Community Action Group.
The Ministry of Transport is stepping up plans for the Vision Zero road safety plan aimed to halve the number of road deaths in the next 10 years.
Among the safety measures are replacing signalised intersections with roundabouts, which lead to more minor accidents but fewer serious accidents.
Panmure Community Action Group spokesman Keith Sharp said AT are contradicting Government policy by replacing a safe roundabout with a dangerous intersection.
"Roundabouts are statistically safer than signalised intersections in terms of reducing fatal or serious injury traffic accidents," Sharp said in an email to mayor Phil Goff and councillors ahead of final demolition works on the roundabout next month.
Sharp said that since 2006 council planners have been saying the Panmure roundabout is inherently dangerous, but he contends this is a myth.
He said a 2012 report to the NZ Transport Agency, called "Improved Multi-Lane Roundabout Designs for Urban Areas", contained overseas and New Zealand evidence showing roundabouts should have "significantly fewer injury crashes, especially serious and fatal".
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The report said an analysis of 40 intersections in the Auckland region demonstrated a 47 per cent reduction in vehicle occupant injuries and concluded "roundabouts should be the preferred choice over traffic signals, particularly for intersections with four arms or more".
Sharp said no mention was made of the NZTA report during public consultation on the Eastern Busway and questioned if politicians overseeing the project were made aware of the report.
"If they were, should they have instructed the Eastern Busway planners to revise their design to retain the roundabout?" Sharp said in the email to Goff and councillors.
An AT spokesman said the new signalised intersection will allow the $1.4 billion Eastern Busway to operate effectively by enabling buses to drive safely and reliably between Panmure station and Lagoon Drive.
"This would not be possible with the current multi-lane roundabout format due to the frequency and lack of priority for buses required to travel through this area.
"The intersection will also offer significantly improved safety and accessibility for cyclists and pedestrians between Panmure Station, the town centre and other amenities in the area, including newly developed cycling and walking paths, Lagoon Pools and Leisure Centre and nearby sports fields," the spokesman said.
He said all parts of the project were subject to a standard independent road safety audit process, including motor vehicles, during the design and consenting phase.
A spokesman for Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter, who is responsible for road safety, said the Minister has not had an opportunity to be fully briefed on the project so is not in a position to provide a response at this time.
The Eastern Busway is a high-frequency, rapid-transit bus corridor with cycling and walking paths connecting Panmure Station with new stations at Pakuranga and Botany Town Centres.
When completed, journey times will be reduced by up to a third for passengers travelling by bus and train between Botany and Britomart, the spokesman said.