Newsletter #52 - 14 September 2017
When we published our first issue on 22 September last year, we didn’t expect it to be 366 days until the election. Next week’s issue will mark a year since we threw down the gauntlet and challenged local and central government officials to Fix Hill Street Now.
So, what has the NZ Transport Agency and Auckland Transport got to show for their efforts? They’ve trialled this, promised that, and delivered… well… a road sign.
Yup, head down to the intersection and bask in the glow of the shiny new Sandspit Road sign. Confused? You should be.
Well, you were confused. That’s why they changed it. You should be less confused now, right?
The State Highway 1 intersection at Hill Street is also with Sandspit Road. At the intersection with Matakana Road, the alignment of Sandspit Road continues onto Matakana Road, making the rest of Sandspit Road give way to Matakana Road traffic. To avoid confusion at the traffic lights, a Matakana Road sign was erected. (See the image below.)
The problem is that the stretch of road is still called Sandspit Road on GIS and GPS navigators. (See image below.) Tourists were confused by their Navmans telling them that that road was Sandspit Road even though the signs read Matakana Road.
So, the Matakana Road sign was replaced with a sign saying Sandspit Road. And all the confusion of the Hill Street intersection has disappeared, not.
Well, at least it is a start. We’ll take this as a win.
We needed to find out whether Auckland Transport and NZ Transport Agency could actually deliver anything. And they have. It just took delegations to every level of NZ Transport Agency, Auckland Transport, Parliament, and Auckland Council to get it done.
Although the intersection requires a major reconfiguration, we know that small changes can make noticeable improvements.
We’ve suggested all sorts of small changes to the intersection of Sandspit Road and Matakana Road.
Auckland Transport won’t even consider realigning the kerb. Our latest suggestion is to reconfigure the traffic islands and lanes. Here is a sketch:
The benefit of this simple change is that vehicles heading towards the traffic lights stay right to allow traffic past heading towards Elizabeth Street. Also, it prevents traffic turning into Sandspit Road from cutting across the lanes coming out of Sandspit Road. Considering how little traffic turns right, this idea should utilise the right lane more efficiently. Let’s hope that this idea is adopted.
SHOW THEM HOW IT’S DONE
Auckland Council Community Facilities Department has almost finished the Kowhai Park upgrade. The smell of fresh black top invokes mixed feelings.
The reason why the council had to spend the money was due to the council’s “use it or lose it” policy where accumulated depreciation of the council’s delayed upgrade of the park was about to expire.
Effectively, the redesign shrinks the carpark and moves all the facilities closer to the intersection. Although we would’ve preferred if the facilities were relocated to the northern end of the site, what the works has proven is the scale of works that can be undertaken close to the intersection without causing disruption or damage.
Although it has taken six months to build and one year to plan, the Kowhai Park upgrade might only be there for eighteen months. That’s if politicians’ pledges to fix Hill Street within eighteen months are delivered.