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AT suspends Hill Street trial

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Auckland Transport will be suspending the trial closure of Elizabeth Street before Christmas and anticipate that the turn movement will be back in place for this weekend, Auckland Transport spokesman Mark Hannan says.

"There has been a range of feedback to the trial, both positive and negative," Hannan says via email.

"At a recent meeting with business association representatives and retailers from Elizabeth Street, AT committed to considering all the feedback and undertaking to remove the trial if there was sufficient data to inform a decision."

Hannan insists the initial results from the trial show that there have been traffic improvements, with reduced congestion in the morning peak. However, he says it's clear there isn't enough information to assess all the impacts, together with the feedback received from the community.

"AT staff will continue to investigate further options to support traffic movements in the interim, before the longer term solution for Hill Street is developed. Ideally, they are seeking a more dynamic approach to managing traffic flow at the intersection and will be looking to implement this after the holiday period, sometime in 2017."

AT and New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) started the trial at the beginning of November, which banned cars from turning right onto Elizabeth Street in the hope to reduce one set of traffic movements and help vehicles move easily through the intersection.

At the time, fire station officer Peter Connell said the changes may lead to the fire service not being able to attend jobs.

"By blocking off the entry to Elizabeth Street it delays our volunteers times in getting to the fire station to attend an incident. It is definitely going to slow down our turnouts and could even lead to no turn outs"

"We have six volunteers living on Hill Street and another five live on Whitaker Road. There is already a heavy traffic flow at the intersection and it now means the Hill Street residents have to take a detour to get to the station on Church Hill Street."

During the trial, drivers on the state highway entered Warkworth town centre at Whitaker Road (south of Hill St), drivers exiting Hill Street turned right onto the state highway and entered Warkworth township via Whitaker Road, and drivers exiting Warkworth at Elizabeth Street continued to have unrestricted movement at this intersection.

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