Auckland Transport are currently consulting on what could be quite a transformative project for the people living around the Mangere Town centre through what is effectively a series of traffic calming measures and improved connections that looks to make it safer and easier to walk or cycle around the area. Known as known as Te Ara Mua – Future Streets, the changes are part of a wider research project being conducted by a number of different organisations on how to design our streets better and highlight the economic benefits of safer roads. The research is being funded by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) while Auckland Transport are paying for the physical changes to the streets. Once complete and assuming the changes are a success the research has the potential to really help in changing the focus of how our streets are developed.
The research also builds on previous research by some of the same organisations on what they call Self Explaining Roads (SER). An area wide trial in Point England had impressive results and saw the introduction of traffic calming measures including the removal of centre lines on some roads. One of the outcomes from the Pt England trial was a dramatic improvement in the speed of drivers. Prior to the changes both local streets and larger collector roads saw some travelling at over 80km/h. After the changes you can see the speeds travelled are in a much narrower and lower band, especially for local roads.
For the Te Ara Mua – Future Streets project the area being looked at is below and is a bit of an island being bordered by motorways on its sides and busy arterials to the north and south. It also happens to be one of the most dangerous in Auckland with it ranking 4th out of 275 Auckland communities for fatal and serious crashes.
By and large the changes that are being suggested are good, although it does seem like they could go a little further in some places. Below is an example of some of the kinds of changes that will be made.
Arterial Roads – Bader Dr and Massey Rd/Kirkbride Rd (Purple)
The focus seems to be on the installation of more pedestrian crossings (some of which will be controlled by lights) and cycle lanes. Below is an example of how Bader Dr might changed.
Where I think they could go further would be to look at using Dutch style roundabouts with cycle lanes around the roundabout such as from this post.
Collector Roads – Mascot Ave and Orly Rd/Thomas Rd (yellow)
These roads are likely to see the most change and overall the aim is to reduce speeds through pedestrian crossings, cycle lanes, speed tables and better bus stops. I particularly like how they are suggesting carrying on the cycle lanes behind the bus stops rather than just ending them at the bus stop like AT typically do in other places.
The artist impressions even show protected cycle lanes which would be great if it happens.
Local Roads (Red)
Again the intention is to slow traffic and make the roads safer for people to be on. This is time it appears to be through narrowing the lanes in addition to speed tables. Speed tables would be at the entrances to local roads to help encourage slower speeds. Below is an example of what’s proposed for Friesian Dr
There’s quite a bit more being done than what I’ve described however you can find out all the details about the project here (if you can get in). I’m looking forward to seeing the results.