This is a Guest Post by Kent Lundberg and originally appeared on the Isthmus Group blog. It is reproduced here with Kent’s permission.
In order to improve conditions for all road users a small design tweak needs to be implemented at most intersections. This simple fix would go a long way to make the city more pleasant and safe for those walking around.
As designed and implemented the current stop line or give way stripe is placed too far into the intersection. The result is that vehicle drivers travel through the “pedestrian” zone before even considering whether a pedestrian may be present. So in effect every intersection becomes a serious peril for people walking and cycling. It also has the tendency to both prioritise and empower vehicular movement which degrades overall walkability/livability.
Below are several examples with red added to highlight this conflict area.
Of course there are some bigger issues with overall pedestrian priority and status in New Zealand as discussed in this Herald article (and in many cases give way scenarios should be changed to full stops). But if Auckland is going spend millions on streetscape upgrades, shouldn’t we be able to get these fundamental design elements correct? And as far as low hanging fruit go wouldn’t reworking these stripes be an effective strategy to make places like the CBD more pedestrian-friendly?
It’s interesting what the opposite side of that Wynard Street above looks like. Was this a mistake? Perhaps we should look at this precedent as an evolutionary design; an unexpected adaptation that may help to change the rest of the city for the better.
And of course we can’t help but suggest that Auckland needs a localised version of Manual for Streets. Below is a simplified graphic that might be appropriate for it.