There are five roundabouts in Havelock North's CBD and concerns about traffic congestion are growing.
But the large suburb's status as one of New Zealand's largest traffic-free populations isn't under threat, both Hastings District Council and independent traffic experts say.
In fact, future plans are recommending even more roundabouts for Havelock North, alongside a range of road improvements that are bereft of even the merest suggestion of lights.
Havelock North has a population of about 16,000 and is forecast to grow by roughly 2000 people in 10 years according to 2020 Hastings District Council numbers.
Hastings district councillor Damon Harvey said high traffic volumes are a significant issue for Havelock North and at certain times of the day it is "congestion and mayhem".
While he isn't sure if lights are better than roundabouts, he thinks traffic and transport options in the area need to be looked at.
As more businesses and residents come to the area, pressure on the CBD will only increase, Harvey says.
"I'd like to see a full plan of alternative options that keeps not just cars and trucks but also pedestrians and cyclists safe as well," he said.
Last year he suggested the council needed to look at a master plan for Havelock North which included an alternative route between Havelock North and Hastings.
As the council representative on the Havelock North Business Association, he said traffic management and parking are the most common concerns.
Dr Urie Bezuidenhout, a Professional Teaching Fellow at the University of Auckland and director of Da Vinci Transport Planning, says Havelock North might never get a traffic light.
The village is arguably ahead of the curve - the modern trend is towards roundabouts rather than traffic lights, Bezuidenhout says.
He says drivers become more impatient at lights as they are constantly stopping, whereas at roundabouts traffic is flowing, even if it is slowly.
And roundabouts can also adapt to changing traffic flows – when there are few cars, roundabouts don't intermittently stop traffic.
There are also fewer "conflict points" at a roundabout than at a crossroads intersection, he says, and because speeds automatically reduce around a roundabout, crashes are less severe.
Bezuidenhout said Havelock North could look at adding lanes to its roundabouts and adding formal pedestrian crossings to the approaches, and even pedestrian signal-lights.
Hastings District Council transport manager Jag Pannu said at this stage no traffic signals are planned for Havelock North.
"The best-practice approach to managing traffic is to manage demand for private vehicle trips and encourage walking, cycling, or public transport use," Pannu said.
Business cases looking at transport and travel in Hastings considering the issues and future transport needs district wide have just been completed and a number of potential projects in and around Havelock North have been identified, Pannu said.
A council spokeswoman said the aim is to put the recommended projects forward in the next Long Term Plan, which will be open for public consultation.
The projects are still subject to approval and funding from the council and detailed investigations are yet to occur, so final designs could differ.
The recommended projects include:
• A new roundabout at Napier Rd / Crosses Rd
• Roundabout improvements at Havelock Rd / Karanema Dr and Napier Rd / Karanema Dr
• A proposed change of Heavy Traffic bypass around Havelock North CBD
• Extension of the Middle Rd pathway
• Further improvements to the cycleway along Havelock Rd / Heretaunga St
• Tauroa Rd pathway
• St Georges Rd cycle link between Southland Drain and Havelock Rd
• Te Mata Peak Rd improvements
• Middle Rd improvements
• Napier Road Cycle Way (currently under construction)