For a number of years now, Auckland Transport have been rolling out cameras to help enforce bus lanes in an automated and consistent manner. That enforcement is a critical task to ensure that they stay free of cars so that buses can run faster and more reliably – thereby making buses more attractive to use. It has the added benefit of making it safer for AT staff than having people standing on the side of the road.
Back in February AT announced they would also use the technology to enforce the T3 lanes on Onewa Rd. Onewa Rd is Auckland’s oldest transit lane and pre-covid the lane was so successful that it carried about 19% of the vehicles on the road during the peak but was moving about 66% of the people. Those using the lane move down the corridor about four times faster than those in the general traffic lane.
Installing the cameras is great and something we support, but what we aren’t supportive of is how AT seem to be installing them after seeing this tweet yesterday.
— CriticalVaxAKL (@CriticalMassAKL) November 16, 2021
Putting a pole like this in the middle of a shared path defies belief. It also appears to not just be a pole but one with a box with sharp corners that sticks out from the pole at about head height.
We already have far too many issues with pedestrian and bike infrastructure being compromised, be it from parked cars due to a lack of enforcement or a legacy of laziness from engineers. AT should be looking at how they fix those existing issues and the last thing they should be doing is to add to them.
The Herald picked up on this yesterday afternoon and give a bit more detail about it.
North Shore residents are up in arms about the placement of new T3 cameras on Onewa Rd which they say present a safety hazard for pedestrians.
Concerns have been raised about the poles for the cameras, which some locals say will block the path, and their installation has been described as “incompetent” by a local politician – but Auckland Transport says that the installation is not yet complete and will include added safety features.
Photos shared online of the recently-installed cameras show them sitting in the middle of the footpath that runs alongside the busy road, which is home to schools, churches and childcare facilities.
Speaking to the Herald today, John Gillon said locals would be “throwing their hands up in horror” at the placement of the poles and described their installation as “incompetent”.
“The placement has not given any consideration to anyone walking or cycling on the footpath,” he said, pointing out the footpath on the southern side of the road has been designated as a shared path and cyclists are encouraged to use it.
He said the local board had been pushing for the footpath on the northern side to also be converted to a shared path and that the installation of the poles was unhelpful to the local board’s aim to enhance the area for walkers and cyclists.
The herald also have a photo with a second example
Unlike the first photo, the footpath is right up against the property boundary so there’s no berm. But the question is why this, and the existing T3 sign pole are not right up against the kerb. They were shown this way in the images AT shared about the project.
AT’s response to the Herald is below.
A spokesperson for Auckland Transport told the Herald they had to take a range of factors into account when placing the poles and the installation was not yet complete.
“The delivery team worked with traffic engineering and a road safety audit was completed, to support the positioning of hardware,” the spokesperson said, adding that they need to be built around existing services.
“Standards not only apply with the footpath, but also for services running below the ground, power lines running above, tree canopies and existing street hardware.
“The installation is not complete at present, as there are other elements to be added. We are yet to install tactile warning strips by the poles for people who are visually-impaired,” they said.
If a road safety audit signs off putting a pole like that in the middle of a shared path you really have to wonder just how reliable that safety audit process is. A few tactile strips also aren’t going to stop someone taking an eye out when they hit the protruding box on their bike, or they try to go around the pole on the road side to avoid a pedestrian only to clip the pole with a handlebar and fling themselves onto the road.
Come on AT, I’m sure your talented engineers will be able to find a solution to this.