Royal Oak Roundabout upgrade to go ahead2 min readReading Time: 2 minutes
The long-awaited safety upgrades to the Royal Oak Roundabout are expected to take place in the first half of 2021, but people are saying that their views have largely been ignored and the upgrade does not go far enough to address the issues raised.
Royal Oak Roundabout is one of the top 25 most dangerous roundabouts in Auckland, with approximately 39,000 vehicles using it per day. There have been 69 collisions in the last six years (2014-2019) within a 50-metre radius; seven fatal and 62 serious injury. There are also a high-number of unreported near-misses. Most of the injury crashes are related to vulnerable road users, which include pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.
This project has taken a long time to come to fruition. AT explains the reasons for the delay are due to the complexity of feedback responses, and reductions in the road safety budget due to Covid-19, which cast doubt on the viability of the project. However, with the high level of accidents in this area, AT has prioritised this project over the many safety upgrades needed on our streets.
Main feedback themes
AT’s proposed improvements include: changes to the shape of the roundabout, with a new island design that directs traffic to stay within the lane; allowing road users to choose their lane prior to entering the roundabout; replacement of painted median markings with raised traffic islands; construction of raised speed tables at zebra crossings; new road markings and signage.
Out of 215 submissions, the strongest themes were improvements for cyclists (40%); pedestrian safety (33%); suggestions for a one-lane roundabout, making it safer for drivers, as well as people walking and cycling (27%); and moving pedestrian crossings closer to the roundabout (26%).
People expressed frustration that it did not include any safety improvements specifically for people on bikes or scooters. They also argued that it did not go far enough in improving safety and access for people walking around – as a town centre, access for pedestrians should be prioritised over other modes.
Decision – a “letdown”?
Much to the frustration of many, AT is proceeding with its initial design proposal with some very minor amendments. Greater Auckland (greaterauckland.co.nz) called it The Royal Oak Letdown, saying that AT is “pushing ahead with largely unaltered plans.” Despite claiming to be focused on safety, AT is ignoring the two largest requests – making it safer for people on bikes, and pedestrian improvements.
AT acknowledges that more transformative change was requested but they couldn’t deliver a more “comprehensive proposal” due to reduced budgets. They say that it’s an “interim project” to address safety, and a wider plan will be investigated in the coming years to improve Manukau Road for all road users, including those walking or biking.
To read the report go to at.govt.nz/projects-roadworks/royal-oak-roundabout-upgrade