I finally got around to taking a photo this evening that I’ve been meaning to take for weeks now – at the corner of Hobson and Victoria streets in downtown Auckland:

 Note the green light in the background. It had actually been green for quite some time when I took the photo – there’s a bus just out of view to the right that missed an entire phase due to these idiots.

So what can we do about this? I quite like the Lithuanian approach to traffic enforcement, but assuming that’s not really a goer, how about some red light cameras – or at the very least a police officer at this corner occasionally dishing out some tickets? This happens pretty much every day in the evening peak at this intersection – causing huge delays and putting pedestrians at risk of being run over.

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  1. Red light cameras won’t work. The light would have been green when they went through it. You’d need to invent a no-space-on-the-other-side-of-the-intersection camera, which is the road rule they’re breaking.

    1. In the UK, they have cameras that read the number plate of every vehicle that stops in the box. If the car or bus in front jams on the brakes and you have to stop, you get a ticket. The rule is simple – don’t enter the box unless there is room on the other side.

      I live in Singapore now, where they have a simpler system. A traffic enforcement officer takes a timestamped photo of vehicles in the box when the phase changes. The downside of this system is that behaviour regresses when there is no sign of a uniformed officer.

  2. I think the answer is proper enforcement with officers on the scene. Unfortunately they’re all out ticketing speeders.

    1. Yeah you’re right. Just need a police officer there taking down the number plates of vehicles breaking the law and then dishing out tickets. They would make a huge amount of money at this intersection as this issue occurs at just about every light-phase.

      1. That would be a “shameless money grabbing exercise by the Council”, with a revolt to be lead by The Herald.

        Seriously though, that’s standard practice here in KL. In fact, that looks minor….

  3. I like the idea of legalising private law enforcement. I.e. you come down to the corner with a video camera, catch red light runners and people pay the fines to you if caught (or atleast get a portion of the fines). Likewise free up police resources by allowing private companies to out speed cameras on roads and get the fines collected

    And if you don’t want to pay the fines don’t speed or run red lights.

    That should solve the problem

  4. How effective are the yellow criss-crossed diagonal lines they have across some intersections to indicate no-stopping. Even some signs with “No queueing across intersection – $x FINE” would probably suffice.

    1. Going by the number of cars that routinely block Queen/Onewa and Lake/Onewa on the Shore, both with orange cross cross lines AND solid red seal on the pedestrian crossings, not very.

      Fanshawe/Halsey is bad for this behavior too. Unfortunately I found myself on a bus blocking this intersection on Wednesday – one that had gone off-route to avoid another intersection that routinely gets snarled up by blockers, Fanshawe/Hobson.

  5. We don’t need markings on the road or extra signs, the law is quite clear in that you should cross an intersection unless there’s space on the other side. All that needs to take place is a crackdown on intersection blocking by the police, station a police officer there who will simply write tickets. I’ve previously seen a police officer on a motorbike waiting at intersections for cars to go through a red light, he then zoomed after them, pulled them over and gave them a ticket – then he went back to the traffic lights. They need to do the same here – bottom line is that the law’s clear, we just need to enforce it.

  6. “…I like the idea of legalising private law enforcement. I.e. you come down to the corner with a video camera, catch red light runners and people pay the fines to you if caught (or atleast get a portion of the fines)…”

    Just like the Sheriff of Nottingham taking his cut!

    This is seriously dumb idea. It’s implementation in the UK has seen councils turning over all their CCTV footage to private companies (privacy? You think you’ve got privacy?) who then trawl through the footage looking for any traffic infringement whatsoever. It is bitterly resented and is just a reversion to the archaic tax collection practices of the middle ages and earlier.

  7. The problem with simply fining people is sometimes they are actually genuinely stuck when they thought they had room to turn.

    Simply people for making what is often a simple mistake is a typical of the punitive Kiwi mindset. Punish rather than solve. Before fining people, you need to improve the visual and technological aids to remove any excuse for simple human errors of judgment. For example, paint the whole intersection in a yellow grid. And surely the technology exists to make that grid “intelligent” – i.e. some sort of red/yellow/green lights perhaps embedded in he road that signal when it is OK to cross the grid? THEN start fining people who still get caught.

    1. Give me a break, it’s not punitive, and painting the whole city yellow won’t solve anything nor will flashing lights all over the place. People pointed out above that in intersections where it’s painted yellow people still ignore it and enter the intersection when it’s clear they won’t have any space on the other side. This aren’t people being caught out, these are people who think they have the right to block everyone else so they don’t have to wait another cycle of lights. These are probably the same people who think they can drive in bus lanes.
      Hobson street, dozens of cars completely ignored the red light and keep driving through.

      1. Really? Every car driver is an arrogant wanker who only thinks of themselves?

        They block intersections on purpose? You are off your rocker.

        Come off it. The de-personifying of people just because they are in cars is exactly the same behaviour as the road rage you also rail about.

        1. It’s clear rtc was not calling every car driver arrogant, only those that have block intersections like in the photo above, where it is clear there isn’t enough space for another car on the otherside of the intersection, let alone space for four!

          If you drive into an intersection when there is clearly no room on the other side, then yes you are blocking it on purpose, unless every car driver is actually an angel and it’s just that cars drive themselves into the intersection against the drivers wishes?

    2. We are not talking about a man on the street, we are talking about drivers who are supposed to be licenced and trained. Just because the vast majority of people do it doesnt mean that we should be relaxed about it. Driving is a potentially very dangerous activity to the general public. This is an example of careless driving.

      If it was our culture that everyone walked around with guns, would that mean we should be relaxed about the odd loose bullet?

  8. If they enter on their green, then they aren’t running the red light so a red light camera would be useless. They only take a picture if you cross the stopline after the lights have gone red. You basically need the Police to enforce it regularly.

    1. Not really. You simply programme the redlight camera to take a few photos a couple of seconds after the lights are red and then look for breaches of the law. You’d only really need to do it during peak hour traffic as this is generally when these breaches occur. Hire a few students to do this and then have a uniformed policeman issue the fines. Also you would be enforcing red light rules as well, which lets face it are being flagrantly breached constantly.

  9. Lot of stupid drivers in Auckland, and they’re the ones causing congestion. Our motorways are very frequently gridlocked when below capacity because drivers drive too fast and then stop rather than keeping a constant slow speed, and most Aucklanders can’t merge to save their lives.

    As for these intersections, yeah, ticket them. Specifically, the ones at the back who follow through when there is no credible expectation that there is a free spot in front of them. The black station wagon there is bad, but ANU969 and DLM420 behind are worse. I have a little sympathy for those who thought that traffic was moving only to find it wasn’t, but again you can’t just push out and hope for the best.

  10. Pleading ignorance doesn’t fly either. This happens on a daily basis, ie regular commuters during the peak hour drive home every business day of the week. Blocking right-of-way traffic like this induces more incidences of red-light running (although other drivers seem pretty unperturbed by this unless it’s being committed by a cyclist).

  11. I have on several occasions sat through multiple sets of lights at places like Hobson/Victoria waiting to be able to enter the intersection but the exit to the intersection has not been available. I have had people sit on their horn, give me the finger and in a couple of cases drive around me on the wrong side of the road so that they can then sit blocking the intersection. What it comes down to is NZ drivers are terrible, with Auckland drivers being worse than most (for background I’ve live in Auckland, Taupo, Wellington, Australia and now live in Canada).
    Driver education and attitude are the biggest problems. As an example: in Calgary at uncontrolled crossings traffic gives way pedestrians, if you tried to introduce that in Auckland you’d end up with a lot of injured and dead pedestrians! The problem is the level of education required is unpalatable (ie requiring a minimum level of professional tuition as they have in Germany) and a lot of people get very bad attitudes from their parents.

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