Roundabout ‘gauntlet’ irks drivers

A new roundabout at a Cockle Bay intersection is frustrating locals. Times photo Wayne Martin

A roundabout installed as part of a $300,000 upgrade to an east Auckland intersection is drawing criticism from motorists who say it’s hard to navigate and is damaging their vehicles.

The Times reported in April last year Auckland Transport (AT) planned to install the roundabout at the intersection of Advene Road, Avoca Road, and Alexander Street in Cockle Bay.

AT also wanted 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 were to be installed on each pedestrian approach at the roundabout and crossing points would be constructed at each corner of the intersection, including yellow tactile pavers to help visually-impaired people cross safely.

AT spokeswoman Natalie Polley said at the time the estimated cost for the work was $295,000.

The intersection is near Cockle Bay School and Howick College, both of which have pupils who use the intersection daily, she said.

The upgrade was expected to provide “significant improvement to pedestrian safety … especially for schoolchildren and parents, as well as improved safety and accessibility for people with mobility scooters and prams”.

The Cockle Bay Residents and Ratepayers Association opposed the plan for multiple reasons.

They included its cost, the fact there had been no vehicle crashes at the intersection in the previous five years, and low traffic volumes of about 1000 vehicles per day, association chairman Laurie Slee said at the time.

The roundabout has since been built and some motorists are unhappy with the end result.

Slee says the association has received a small number of complaints about it, in particular its “extremely tight turning circle”, and associated damage to vehicles’ wheels and tyres.

“More importantly, two of our committee members, on separate occasions, have observed a vehicle and motorcycle going the wrong way around the roundabout, presumably to avoid the tight turning circle and associated tyre or wheel damage by using a more direct track.”

Slee’s concerns are shared by another Cockle Bay resident who wishes to be identified only as Tim.

Tim says the roundabout’s “high-kerbed, off-centre construction has been dealing many a kerbing blow to local residents who attempt to carefully drive this new gauntlet.

“Any car bigger than a Mini Cooper will struggle to get around one half while the other could take a stagecoach,” he says.

Tim says he hopes work will be carried out to raise the road level so the roundabout is flat.

Polley says the roundabout has been constructed as per its design, which is “intended to ensure vehicles have to slow down as they approach and navigate through the roundabout”.

“The size of the roundabout helps encourage lower speeds through the intersection.

“Vehicle tracking assessments were undertaken to ensure a regular-sized vehicle could safely manoeuvre through the roundabout without mounting it.

“However, the roundabout itself has been designed so trucks or vehicles with trailers can safely mount it should they need to.”