Controversial crossing labelled “crazy”

Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown opposes an Auckland Transport plan to build a raised crossing on Pakuranga Road. Times photo Wayne Martin

By James Ball, AUT University journalism student

A plan to install a raised pedestrian crossing on one of east Auckland’s busiest roads is being met with backlash from a politician and residents.

Auckland Transport (AT) is proposing to install a raised crossing with traffic lights on Pakuranga Road immediately west of Grammar School Road and Johns Lane.

The project also includes the relocation of two bus stops, upgrades to kerb ramps and the addition of tactile pavers.

It’s designed to make crossing Pakuranga Road, the nation’s sixth-busiest road, safer and easier, AT says.

Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown says the raised crossing will cause significant disruption to traffic flows and frustrate motorists.

“I think it’s one of the craziest ideas AT has ever come up with.

“Just as east Aucklanders are getting ready to enjoy the benefits of the Eastern Busway within the next five years, AT would undo the entire point of that project by forcing vehicles and buses to slow down whether people are crossing or not.

“At peak hour, this would have a substantial domino effect along the entire road and anything that feeds it, clogging up Pakuranga after years of fighting for projects that will reduce congestion.

“There’s no doubt the Johns Lane and Grammar School Road intersections are dangerous, and I am certainly open to ideas about what could be done to reduce the potential for accidents here, but a raised crossing will result only in a significant and unnecessary slowdown of traffic.”

Trauma therapist Lisa Ooi works near the site of the proposed crossing and says the community is shocked to hear of the project.

“I didn’t know what was happening until we got a letter in the mail for the business.

“It seems they’ve only told the houses local to where they’re putting it in that there’s going to be this new crossing.

“I don’t feel it was very well-consulted and the lack of transparency from AT is concerning.”

AT spokesperson Natalie Polley says pedestrians need a safe way to cross Pakuranga Road as vehicles regularly exceed 60km/h on it.

“The raised crossing would slow drivers to a safer speed near the crossing point and the intersection with Grammar School Road and Johns Lane.”

More than 21,000 vehicles drive along the stretch of road the raised crossing is proposed to be installed on and about 200 people use the nearby bus stops, Polley says.

“The closest pedestrian crossings are 300-500 metres away in both directions.

“People, especially students at the nearby schools and people taking the bus, need a safe way to cross Pakuranga Road.”

Polley says AT is guided by Vision Zero, an ethics-based transport safety approach which prioritises human safety over other measures, such as minor time saving.

“Projects like this one around Pakuranga Road are another step toward our goal of achieving no deaths or serious injuries on our roads.”

The proposal is open for public feedback online at www.at.govt.nz until June 1.