Speeding through our streets must stop
Vehicles using our residential streets as through-roads, and travelling at high speed, is a serious and pressing issue in Onehunga and surrounding suburbs. (Crash site – the Mesarich’s car was written off by the collision)
Late last year, local business owners, Mark and Tania Mesarich, narrowly escaped serious injury after a car sped through a Stop sign at the intersection of Alfred Street and Grey Street. The car was going so fast, that when it hit them, their air bags were activated, and had they entered the intersection a second or two earlier, police told them there would have been fatalities. Mark and Tania contacted Onehunga Community News to highlight the problem.
Mark says there’s three separate issues. The first is vehicles travelling at high speeds down our residential streets, the second is people using compulsory Stop signs as Give Way signs, “which is rampant all the way through Onehunga”. The third is the ‘rat running’, and Mark says he thinks this is directly attributable to the congestion in Neilson Street – “we need the East West Link,” he says.
This is not a new issue. Residents who live near the intersection and who witnessed the accident, told the couple it was the third such accident in recent months. Last year, a roundabout was finally put in place at the notorious accident blackspot at the intersection of Victoria Street and Church Street. But Mark says you don’t need expensive roundabouts. “Simple solutions – calming measures such as speed bumps could work,” he says.
The Maungakiekie-Tāmaki Local Board say they are well aware of the road safety problems in and around Onehunga, and improving safety is a priority for them. They have recently received a $500k grant from the Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s Innovating Streets programme, to run a Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) pilot in Onehunga. LTNs are areas where through-traffic is discouraged. Instead, buses, trucks, and other vehicles stick to the main roads, and car access is reserved for residents, deliveries, and emergency services. See our separate story about the LTN on page ??
When contacted, Auckland Transport said their main focus is improving the safety of the Royal Oak Roundabout because “data shows clearly” that is where people are getting hurt. They also say they are “investigating” the intersections of Neilson St/Alfred St, Grey St/Mays Rd, Arthur St/Selwyn St and Trafalgar St/Selwyn St. They are not planning any other initiatives, apart from a possible pedestrian crossing on Church Street.
The Onehunga Community News has requested further information from Auckland Transport, and local MP, Priyanca Radhakrishnan, about the progress of the East West Link, and will continue to press for further information about traffic safety in our streets.