On Wednesday we reported on Auckland Transport’s new focus on safety. Simon Wilson elaborated further in the Herald on the same day. This was after the Auckland Transport chair and CEO had both presented their new safety plans to the Auckland Council Planning Committee.
The chair and CEO promised ‘safety’ would be the top priority for Auckland Transport, and that their new approach would be based on Vision Zero principles, which is all great news.
However, a tweet made me wonder if Auckland Transport were really committed to safety.
Sliplanes, missing pedestrian legs, ridiculous pedestrian crossing lengths/angles to accommodate car stacking, multilane intersections and no space for bike lanes but still street parking. Outside a train station. This is AT getting people out of cars. https://t.co/V0Zf5UdkPy pic.twitter.com/nEGqO07vU1
— jimjamjunglejamboree (@jimjamjunglejam) September 5, 2018
Auckland Transport are currently consulting on safety improvements works in Glen Eden town centre. They claim:
“The proposed pedestrian safety improvements will improve pedestrian safety and accessibility between the town centre and the train station, and reduce the distance pedestrians need to cross the road, making Glen Eden Town Centre a safer and more attractive place to work, shop and spend time.”
This project is part of our commitment to Vision Zero, which is to create a road network free of death and serious injury. We’re creating a safe road system by ensuring a consistent level of safety standards are applied across the whole AT network, with areas like Glen Eden being prioritised. These pedestrian safety improvements will reduce traffic speeds and create safer pedestrian facilities to make Glen Eden Town Centre safer and more attractive.
However, once you look at the drawings there is a stark difference between what AT promise, and what is being delivered.
It looks like Auckland Transport have taken the current sole traffic focus of the main streets through Glen Eden town centre, added some raised tables, and changed nothing else. While the website claims the purpose of the design is about improving safety, it is quite clear that traffic movement and capacity is still seen as a sacred cow that cannot not be touched. This is certainly not a design that priorities safety, but just safety lipstick on a oversized pig of a road.
There are a number of key issues with the design, but I think this picture is best at showing the flawed thinking behind this design.
This road has just plain not been designed to match 30kmh, and looks much more like a 70kmh road. In reality nothing has changed at all. This all too familiar highway design being applied to residential streets.
Further flaws are easily evident. The intersection of West Coast and Bowers Road still has a missing pedestrian leg, and a high radius slip lane.
The intersection of West Coast Road and Glendale Road also has missing pedestrian leg. The only reason for not including a pedestrian leg is for traffic efficiency.The central intersection of Glenview Road and West Coast Road also has serious issues. Pedestrian crossing distances are much too long, and semi diagonal pedestrian crossing is just weird.
This upgrade proposal highlights the key issues with Auckland Transport’s supposed safety focus. They cannot merely say they are following Vision Zero, and change the high level policy. That is just the start. They need to comprehensively rethink every part of their business as usual practice which for 50 years has been focused on moving traffic as efficiently as possible. This is clearly a difficult change, and will take a while to bed in, but there are no signs are at all that Auckland Transport are really serious about this.
Consultation on the Glen Eden town centre upgrade close on Sunday September 9, so if you are interested please submit here.