Leading portrait photographer Jane Ussher is in Auckland City Hospital with serious injuries after being hit by a motor vehicle while crossing Ponsonby Rd using a footpath "refuge" installed to improve pedestrian safety.

The Listener photographer had just collected angel wings from The Fairy Shop for the magazine's Christmas cover shoot and went to cross Ponsonby Rd about 11.20am on Tuesday.

Her husband, Grant Gallagher, said his wife told him that she stood in the gap of the refuge, looked both ways, took a step out and "whammo".

The refuge is near Mackelvie St on the stretch of Ponsonby Rd between Richmond Rd and Williamson Ave.

The accident follows the death in May of landscape designer Nicole Mace, who was hit by a car as she tried to cross Ponsonby Rd near the fire station.

The latest accident has renewed calls by locals to further improve pedestrian safety on busy Ponsonby Rd, which is used by 35,000 vehicles a day.

The council installed three pedestrian refuge islands in July following a report showing there had been two fatalities, including Mace, 18 injury and seven non-injury accidents involving pedestrians on Ponsonby Rd since 2000.

Mr Gallagher said his wife suffered a fractured shoulder, a major hip fracture and pelvic damage. She was in a traction rig after an operation.

More operations were planned and Ussher was expected to remain in hospital for six weeks and be off work for three months.

Mr Gallagher said his wife was sedated but okay. Medical staff said it was lucky the way she had been hit on her right-hand side.

"They were quite blunt. Centimetres either way and she could have been dead, a quadriplegic, a tetraplegic or whatever else," he said.

Gary Hicks, the manager for Republic homestore, saw Ussher hit the ground, phoned for an ambulance and ran out to help. Staff from other shops rushed to her aid with blankets and to divert traffic before the emergency services arrived.

Mr Hicks said the new refuges helped pedestrians to cross the road but they still gave pedestrians and motorists no indication of what should happen.

This view was shared by Isabel Fish, who collected 2315 signatures on a petition requesting improved pedestrian safety on Ponsonby Rd following Mace's death.

The refuges created confusion in the minds of pedestrians and motorists alike, she said. The Auckland City Council should have listened to calls by the petitioners to build a median strip down Ponsonby Rd to stop jaywalking and provide proper protective pedestrian islands with metal safety grills.

"It's not safe on Ponsonby Rd. It really upsets me that a few months after Nicole's death we have another serious accident," said Isabel Fish.

A council spokeswoman expressed the council's sympathy to Ussher and said it would follow up the police crash report.

The spokeswoman said: "We will continue to listen to the community, welcome road safety improvement ideas and work to make roads safer."