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The Gauntlet: Issue #16



Newsletter #16 - 5 January 2017


Welcome to our first issue of 2017. As heavy as the road traffic has been at the Hill Street intersection, so has the web traffic at our website. There is a strong correlation between clusters of petition signatures we’ve received from tablets and smartphones and when the traffic queues have backed past our billboards.


We’ve had a surprising amount of messages of support from people from throughout the country – even offers of donations. And, yes, people have said that they have been there and want the t-shirt.


Still, the congestion isn’t good enough, is it? We’ve seen northbound ambulances driving on the southbound lane on four occasions in the past week to avoid queues.


LEARNING CURVE

The past fortnight has presented some interesting scenarios. There have been many accidents at many places from Waipu to Windy Ridge, from Woodcocks Road to Matakana Road. Diversions have been put in place. What has been fascinating is how little those diversions have had on congestion at the Hill Street intersection.


Traffic patterns as a result of the Windy Ridge accident was telling. Although there were diversions in place through Woodcocks Road and at Wellsford, town centre traffic was still booming. Traffic still queued in the southbound lane of Great North Road (SH1), wanting to enter Elizabeth Street via the ridiculously short left turn slip lane.


The diversions have been a good indication of the proportion of through traffic compared to local traffic. In many ways, it could give a good indication of what life might be like when the Tollway is built.


Summer dwelling occupancy warns of what the effects of the future 1800-2200 dwelling Northern Growth Cell might be like. Although Omaha Beach has ~1300 dwellings, during the 2013 Census there were 888 unoccupied dwellings. Of the 276 occupied dwellings, there 624 permanent residents (http://bit.ly/2hTgpbq). During summer, however, the population can easily swell to over 5000.


Over the past fortnight, queues from the Hill Street intersection on Matakana Road have been regularly past the Melwood Drive, Red Barn (1km), and even Trio Soy Candles (2km) – the longest queues being back to Sharps Road.


Next time you drive past Trio Soy, remember that is the future urban perimeter. Clayden Road is where the proposed Matakana Link Road junction will be in 6+years. If an increase of 888 occupied dwellings over summer can cause that amount of congestion, imagine what 2200 dwellings could cause – before the Tollway and Matakana Link are built.


LIGHTS ARE ON...

But, as you guessed, while the lights are on in Omaha, no one is home at Auckland Transport or the NZTA. Auckland Transport have laid traffic counters on Matakana Road near the intersection with Clayden Road and on Sandspit Road near Hamilton Road. And that’s it. They haven’t bothered with Elizabeth Street nor Hill Street. The NZTA don’t have counters besides their existing telemetry sites miles away from the intersection.


It would be helpful to all involved if, for once, a full picture of the traffic patterns at the Hill Street intersection could be obtained. At no other time has every artery of the intersection had traffic counters simultaneously. So, in other words, considering the many different seasonal, weekly, and daily patterns at the intersection, there is no authoritative measure of how much traffic uses it at any one time.


As the intersection acts as a major distributor of traffic flow, think of it as a heart connected to arteries. When there is a blockage – such as a stroke or heart attack – doctors attach electrocardiogram (ECG) sensors to limbs and points on the chest to identify where the blood pressure is high, where there is a blockage, or where the timing of the heart beats is off. A doctor can’t identify the cause of the problem if only a couple sensors are checking blood flow.



GET INVOLVED Thank you for subscribing and thank you to donors and volunteers who have got our campaign into full swing. Please contact us if you would like to donate, volunteer, or have any suggestions.


Please contact Alan at (027)2419033 or alan@fixhillstreetnow.org if you have any time available to help us collect signatures for our petition.


To make a donation, our bank account details are:


Account Name: “FixHillStreetNow Action Group” Bank Account Number: 12-3095-0042062-00.


#research #petition #holidaytraffic #NZTA #AucklandTransport