Residents’ group opposes $300k intersection changes

Cockle Bay Residents and Ratepayers Association chairman Laurie Slee says the group opposes Auckland Transport’s plans for a local intersection. Times photo Wayne Martin

A raft of changes worth almost $300,000 is proposed for an east Auckland intersection that hasn’t seen a vehicle crash in the past five years.

But a major local residents’ group opposes the plan and says the cost is excessive.

Auckland Transport has gathered public submissions on a proposed plan to install a roundabout at the intersection of Advene Road, Avoca Road and Alexander Street in Cockle Bay.

AT spokesperson Natalie Polley says the organisation also plans to extend the footpath at the corners of Avoca Road and Advene Road and paint new road markings and install new give way signs at each corner.

Pram crossings will be installed on each pedestrian approach at the roundabout.

Crossing points will be constructed at each corner of the intersection, including yellow tactile pavers to help visually-impaired people find their way to the safest place to cross the road.

A total of 20 car parking spaces will be removed on the three roads.

Polley says in the past five years there have been no crashes at the intersection.

The engineers’ estimated cost for the work is $295,000, she says.

“The changes have been requested by the community to help reduce vehicle speeds through the intersection and improve safety for children walking to nearby schools.

“The proposed changes aim to slow vehicle speeds and create clear crossing places at each corner.

“This will make it easier and safer to cross the road for schoolchildren, people walking and on wheels, like mobility scooters.”

Polley says a pedestrian crossing with a refuge island was proposed at the intersection in 2018 but did not proceed due to negative feedback on the loss of parking.

The intersection is near Cockle Bay School and Howick College, which have a moderate number of pupils who use the intersection daily, she says.

“The proposal expects to provide significant improvement to pedestrian safety in this location, especially for schoolchildren and parents, as well as improved safety and accessibility for people with mobility scooters and prams.”

Cockle Bay Residents and Ratepayers Association chairman Laurie Slee says the group opposes the plan.

“The proposal, costing almost $300,000, is despite the fact AT records show no crashes or accidents at the intersection over the past five years, and very low traffic volumes of about 1000 vehicles per day.

“Auckland Council tell us they must sell [east Auckland public] reserves because they are short of funds, while one of their own organisations [AT] proposes this costly development despite there being no evidence-based risks.

“We believe the money should be reallocated to other locations where there is greater risk of [traffic] accidents, thus providing a better return on investment.”

Cockle Bay School principal Dorothy Bigwood says she’s “very concerned” about the safety of her pupils around the school, “due to congestion on the roads before school and particularly after school”.

“I’m aware of the proposed change under consultation at present and know there are parents with concerns about the current status quo on the corner of Avoca Road and Alexander Street.”