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The Gauntlet: Issue #18



Newsletter #18 – 19 January 2017


As people are returning from their summer holidays, there has been an increase in online petition signatures and activity relating to the Hill Street intersection. To the surprise of many, the traffic counters installed on Sandspit and Matakana Roads are not Auckland Transport’s. Auckland Transport suspect that the NZ Transport Agency laid them. Go figure.


Meanwhile, Auckland Transport are arranging a series of meetings relating to the Hill Street intersection. It seems that the council is leading the way. Watch this space.


SINCE IT WAS BROUGHT UP

There were several letters to the editor printed in the latest edition of Mahurangi Matters mentioning the Hill Street intersection. Check them out here: http://bit.ly/2juF4D3


Our campaign didn’t intend to stage protests at the intersection. We know that people are already annoyed at the length of time they spend there. Knowing the effect that protests have with raising awareness, however, we are happy to assist any way we can.


So far, there has been several meetings, petitions, and protests independent of our campaign raising concerns about the Elizabeth Street trial. Frustrated by the lack of action to fix Hill Street, Tony Arthur plans a protest at Kowhai Park on 1 February between 7am and 9am. We’ll be there to support him. Watch this space.


OUR CHALLENGE

We’re a group of experts challenging the NZ Transport Agency and Auckland Transport to abandon their excuses and come up with something better than us to fix Hill Street now before it gets worse. We dare them to do better than this: http://www.fixhillstreetnow.org/discussion


APPLES WITH LEMONS

Rodney Local Board Chair Beth Houlbrooke posted a link to Deputy Chair Phelan Pirrie’s Muriwai Roundabout FAQ (at Waimauku) on the Rodney Traffic Issues page. See for yourself: http://bit.ly/2iD61Ff



So, we have a state highway intersection with an arterial and local road, several roads nearby, and an adjacent school. Recent local traffic growth has raised concerns about pedestrian and vehicle safety and congestion.


Sound familiar?


The above diagram is what is proposed at the intersection of State Highway 16 and two other local roads. Visit the NZTA project website here: http://bit.ly/2jam1KX. Find the intersection here: http://bit.ly/2jAs3Ye.


To justify the roundabout, NZTA worked out that “Nearly 40 deaths and serious injuries are predicted on State Highway 16 in the next decade without safety intervention.” (See for yourself: http://bit.ly/2iKSCWR)


Waimauku residents have suffered. “Residents claim it has been over 10 years since they were promised a roundabout and the time has finally arrived.” (http://bit.ly/2jajCzJ)


By now, have you been making any comparisons with the Hill Street intersection? We have.


Let’s recap. Kumeu and Waimauku wanted a bypass and got a roundabout. Warkworth wanted a roundabout and got a bypass. (See for yourself: http://bit.ly/2k1DAgb.) After a period of consultation, locals settled for a template roundabout, costing $6million. With a petition and lobbying of their local Member of Parliament (who just happened to be Prime Minister John Key), NZTA pushed planned works forward from 2022-2023 to 2016.


Here is a graphic comparing the locations of the intersections and the annual average daily traffic (AADT) of the connecting roads. (The Muriwai Road traffic volumes have undulated over the past five years so we chose the highest of the traffic volumes for that period. We couldn’t find any traffic data for Waimauku Station Road.)



Even though Waimauku got their intersection fast-tracked, Phelan Pirrie felt it necessary to provide a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) memorandum to dispel rumblings in his community. He makes some interesting points. Please read it.


Most of his points is to refer “armchair experts” to red tape sites. Fortunately, our team are experts. We know what we’re doing and, when council and ministry officials refuse to look at fixing Hill Street, we are showing what can be done.


Some of Pirrie’s points don’t apply to the Hill Street intersection. Here is a rundown:

  1. The Waimauku intersection is administered solely by NZ Transport Agency. The Hill Street intersection, however, is five intersections with 30 metres where the State Highway 1 intersection with Hill Street and Sandspit Road is administered by the NZ Transport Agency and the Matakana Road, Millstream Place, Kowhai Park, and Elizabeth Street intersections with Sandspit Road are administered by Auckland Transport. As NZTA refuse to look at the intersection until after the completion of the Tollway, Auckland Transport has taken the lead to look at a design for the whole intersection.

  2. The Waimauku intersection initially wasn’t part of a project fund. The NZTA, however, have a fund to fix Warkworth intersections. They just aren’t spending the money on fixing Warkworth intersections – focusing on other pet projects.

  3. “Prioritisation of activities” doesn’t mean much when a petition and pressuring politicians can push a project to the head of the queue.

  4. The Waimauku intersection site is narrow and the Public Works Act was used to acquire land for a roundabout. The Public Works Act, however, doesn’t need to be used to acquire private land at Hill Street as the Crown already owns the land on three sides of the intersection. Our designs won’t require purchasing land. If the NZTA and AT want to build a bigger and better intersection than our designs, that is a very bold move. They will, however, need to apply for resource consents and follow procedures to change a reserve to a road reserve.

  5. As the Waimauku intersection is a tight site, the risk of construction disruption is high. Our designs for the Hill Street intersection effectively build a new intersection on Kowhai Park without interrupting existing traffic flows.


We would like to see what crash statistics the NZTA used to identify the Waimauku intersection as dangerous. The general theme of several news stories and reports was “One day, someone is going to die.” The same thing has been said about Hill Street since the 1970s!


WHAT ABOUT US?

Rather than be discouraged by Waimauku getting their roundabout fast-tracked, our team is encouraged. Hill Street has higher traffic volumes, more congestion, higher growth, is more dangerous, and is vital junction for a larger population. If Waimauku can be fast-tracked, so can Hill Street.


The Rodney Local Board has also learned how Hill Street can be fast-tracked. We understand that Phelan Pirrie, who is in the Rodney First team, was instrumental in applying pressure through lobbying and the petition.


We’re optimistic. We can’t wait to see what the Auckland Transport engineers are working on.


THANK YOU

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.

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