Safety has been a hot topic this year, and for good reason, with the number of deaths and serious injuries on our roads soaring. Turning the trend around has been a stated goal for both the government and Auckland. The Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP) committed $900 million towards safety improvements, which was expected to see a 60% drop in deaths and serious injuries from 813 in 2017 to 325 in 2027. This is on top of other funding that should help improve safety, such as more cycling projects.
This week, Auckland Transport have made three announcements about related to safety projects.
It’s good to finally see some action after the damning safety report that was released in May that highlighted a culture within AT of not caring about safety.
More red light camera’s, but it’s not enough
On Monday AT said that by October they’ll have added six more red light camera sites across the region
Six more red light cameras sites are being installed at high risk intersections in Auckland to reduce dangerous driving and help save lives.
The new camera sites, funded by the regional fuel tax, will be in operation by October 2018. This brings the total red light cameras operating in the region to 12.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says, “Red light running places lives in danger. Last year there were four fatalities and 19 serious injuries at intersections due to red light running.”
“With a 75 per cent increase in deaths and serious injuries on roads in Auckland we need to do everything we can to reduce unnecessary injuries and deaths.”
“The scale of red light running in Auckland is demonstrated by the new cameras installed in June catching 660 people running red lights in just three weeks.”
“We are not interested in red light cameras as a revenue raising measure. We are publicising where the cameras will be to change behaviour and prevent people being hurt and killed, not to catch people out.”
The locations are:
The six new site locations were chosen (based on safety risk) at:
- Great South Road and Cavendish Drive – two sites.
- Te Irirangi Drive and Accent Drive – two sites.
- Great North Road and Rata Street.
- Great South Road and Reagan Road.
I created a quick map of the locations, blue spots are the first batch and the red the recently announced.
It’s great to see more camera’s going in, and I assume they won’t take years to turn on like the first batch. But why only monitor six sites at a time? Given how prevalent red light running is all across the region, we’re going to need as much enforcement as possible.
Rural Rd Improvements
On Tuesday AT announced they were targeting improvements to more than 400km of rural roads.
In the coming year $5 million, including funding from the new Regional Fuel Tax, will be spent on improved road markings and better signage.
The work is part of Auckland Transport’s commitment to create a road network free of death and serious injury.
In the past three years, deaths and serious injuries on Auckland roads have increased by more than 70 percent and just last year, 20 people were killed and 101 people were seriously injured on rural roads in the region. “That represents an appalling and unacceptable human cost. It also imposes social and economic costs”, says Mayor Phil Goff.
“Improvements to our rural road network in Rodney and Franklin will include making high risk intersections safer and providing signage and road markings to help people make better decisions when they are driving, such as slowing down for a bend in the road.”
In 2017, four roads, Hunua Road, Paparimu Road, Ararimu Road and Kariotahi Road, were improved as part of the project, known as the Signage and Delineation Plan. An evaluation showed a 40 per cent reduction in injury crashes along these corridors, with zero deaths or serious injuries reported since the work was completed.
This seems to highlight just how cheap safety improvements can be, just $5 million for improvements to a lot of roads. A list of all the roads being improved is here.
Glen Eden Improvements
On Wednesday it was Glen Eden’s turn for an announcement with AT saying they want to make it safer safer for people walking around the centre and train station.
The proposal includes upgrades to five existing pedestrian crossings along West Coast Road, the installation of a new speed table between Captain Scott Road and Bowers Road, an upgraded roundabout and pedestrian crossing facilities at the Captain Scott/Wilson/Oates Road intersection, and a reduction of traffic speeds to 30 km/h through Glen Eden town centre.
“As part of our plans to revitalise the town centre, we want to make it safer and easier for people to get around, says Greg Presland, Waitākere Ranges Local Board Chair.
“The Glen Eden Town Centre Pedestrian Safety Improvements project will help make the area more pedestrian friendly and safer for drivers, and improve access to the trains. The numbers travelling from Glen Eden station have gone up 40 percent over the past three years so we need to make it easier for people to get to the station.”
Speed tables and a 30km/h speed limit sound like an improvement, although at peak times traffic is often doing less than that anyway. There are also new pedestrian crossings being added and a slip lane being removed. The map below shows where these will happen.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment is that there is no cycling provision included in the designs
There are more images and details on the AT page for the project. They’re also holding a consultation which closes 9-September.
We look forward to seeing more safety announcements by AT in the coming weeks and months.