Wgtn Walkers Priority Over Cars


Wellington’s council is to spend $800,000 to make pedestrians in the downtown inner city safer.

It’s started work on the installation of 20 pedestrian ‘platforms’ at intersections along Cambridge Terrace, Taranaki Street and Tory Street. The platforms are a combination of raised pedestrian facility and speed-hump - and aim to slow vehicles down in the likes of Ebor, Holland, Haining, Frederick, Tennyson, Lorne, College and Jessie streets.

The new Greens Mayor Celia Wade-Brown - who turned up top meet Hillary Clinton today on her bicycle-  says the area has changed, especially with the arrival of many apartment dwellers and so motor vehicles shouldn’t now always have priority.

The safety project will also include the installation of ‘mast arms’ for traffic lights at the busy Tory Street-Courtenay Place intersection. The mast arms permit traffic lights to be located out above the middle of the road - greatly increasing their visibility to approaching motorists. Similar mast arms were recently installed at the nearby Taranaki Street-Courtenay Place intersection.

City Council Infrastructure Director Stavros Michael says over the past five years there have been 37 serious crashes involving injury in Te Aro. Of those, 34 have involved pedestrians or cyclists ‘versus’ motor vehicles - many of them at intersections.

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  1. antz says:

    remind me again why Auckland isn’t doing this sort of thing?

  2. Chris says:

    Another reason to move to Wellington.

  3. karl says:

    “It’s started work on the installation of 20 pedestrian ‘platforms’ at intersections along Cambridge Terrace, Taranaki Street and Tory Street. ”

    Sweet. They are pretty awesome things - a rare example, in my view, of a traffic calming feature which has little negative impact on any road user (including motorists). Much more pleasant than speed humps.

    “remind me again why Auckland isn’t doing this sort of thing?”

    They are, just not in such a large-scale schemes. Recent Auckland examples (i.e. within the last 2-3 years) include the left turn from Remuera Road onto Broadway, the pedestrian crossings over Domain Drive off Park Road, Seafield Road off Park Road, three locations along the new Osborne Road in Newmarket, the new service roads along Glenfield Road in North Shore (coming soon)… I also understand that some of the entry points to the coming shared space areas in the CBD may be treated in similar ways.

    Older examples include quite a few in Point Chevalier, one in Nuffield Street in Newmarket, Ireland Road between Silvia Park and Panmure…

    Moral: Don’t slam Auckland just by reflex. It’s getting better too, and the new Council should be more open to such things too.

  4. greenwelly says:

    But “platforms” are confusing for pedestrians as they do not change the legal right of way. Unless these platforms are legally marked as zebra crossings, they have no ability to make vehicles stop for pedestrians.

    While I am sure it is hoped that these oversized judder bar will see cars give way to pedestrians, they are under no legal reason to do so.

    However pedestrians will be tempted into thinking the raised area is an extension of the footpath with the expected protection from vehicles,

    Sure, put in these raised crossings, but give the pedestrian the right of way, otherwise it is simply a recipe for confusion and possible more accidents.

  5. Matt L says:

    There are raised platforms in Henderson as well but there are also signs on them saying “Pedestrians give way to traffic”. I do notice however that it does help to slow cars down and often they will stop for pedestrians anyway

  6. ingolfson says:

    Greenwelly, experience and studies show that the confusion you talk about is actually not necessarily a bad thing. There is, literally, in traffic studies the concept of “safety through uncertainty”.

    The idea is that giving everyone harshly demarcated zones (THIS is the footpath, THIS is the road, never the twain shall meet) you are absolving people from their duty to take care. Similar to shared space, raised crossings without clear priority (technically, without ped priority) add that little “Well, I better be on my guard” element for both the motorist and the pedestrian.

    While I agree that where zebras are added, the resulting combination is the most beneficial for pedestrians, the fact is that even if you do not give pedestrians priority, they are immediately much better off with speed tables / raised crossings, because drivers DO slow down, even if they don’t give way or even if they don’t give a hoot about peds (applies especially to the hoons going through a 50kmh zone at 80 km/h). Also, many drivers DO give way voluntarily, as I experience daily at such crossings.

    A great win for a “share the road” culture that is based on interaction (“what is he/she doing?”, rather than “who is in the right?”).

  7. Matt says:

    There are similar raised pedestrian platforms on the Square in Palmerston North. Some drivers treat them as pedestrian crossings, but not all drivers do. Step onto one in front of one of Palmy’s lower IQ residents aka boy racers and incur the full wrath of a limp-wristed teenager with a fat exhaust. I’d upgrade them to pedestrian crossings and make the bloody cars stop.

  8. ingolfson says:

    “I’d upgrade them to pedestrian crossings and make the bloody cars stop.”

    Would the limp-wristed boy racer treat you any different if it was a zebra crossing, rather than a raised crossing? I think not.

    I think they point is - they are good either way, with or without zebras. Because they slow down traffic. Nothing does as much for safety and pedestrian amenity (and cycling amenity, I see your icon) like slower (average and slower top) speeds. And the good thing about raised tables is they need no enforcement. They work even if the police aren’t around.


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