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A hair-raising experience

October 2, 2019

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A hair-raising experience

Walking or cycling across the busy intersection of Onehunga’s Pleasant Street, Arthur Street, and Beachcroft Avenue, can be a dangerous undertaking, with many students from Onehunga High School and Royal Oak Intermediate experiencing this first-hand on their way to and from school.

Earlier this year, Royal Oak  Intermediate principal,Tony Coughlan, contacted Auckland Transport for a solution. He had already raised concerns during his time as deputy principal at Onehunga High School, after witnessing many close misses involving students and drivers. Worried school staff had also requested some form of a pedestrian crossing in the past, but instead, warning signs were installed at the intersection to help improve driver awareness.

Tony says, “I can say that as an adult crossing Beachcroft Ave on foot or bicycle, it can be a hair-raising experience. When you come off the blue and white pedestrian overbridge from Orpheus Drive/Seacliffe Ave to Beachcroft Ave, there is simply nowhere to go but to turn a hard right into the wrong direction towards Onehunga Bay.

Auckland Transport recently responded to his concerns. Following traffic and pedestrian counts, the results confirmed that a pedestrian crossing facility would be beneficial at the location. The intersection is set to include a raised zebra crossing on Beachcroft Avenue, and will be prioritised in the Minor Improvements Programme for delivery in the 2020/21 financial year.  Time frames on the proposed project will be confirmed after consultation with nearby schools are completed.

As a Onehunga Bay resident for over eight years, Andrew Wellgreen has noticed a significant increase in traffic along Beachcroft Road, and agrees it can be a challenging street to cross at peak and off-peak times, due to the volume of traffic and lack of visibility for both drivers and pedestrians.

Andrew says, “Traffic calming measures are greatly needed, but my concern is that a solitary pedestrian in isolation is dangerous ,as the line of sight is restricted and vehicles often travel at speed coming off the Onehunga High School and Queenstown Road intersection. I believe a planned safety strategy from Queenstown Road to Church Street needs to be considered, not just a single crossing.”

The Maungakiekie-Tãmaki Local Board also has concerns about the safety of putting a pedestrian crossing at the suggested location., and they have requested a safety audit of Beachcroft Avenue.

However, Tony Coughlan is relieved that his concerns have been addressed and prioritised by Auckland Transport.

He says “I’m absolutely thrilled and grateful to everyone involved. We are trying to encourage children to walk and cycle to school, so we need to make our roads as safe as possible. The improvements will definitely help prevent accidents in the future.”