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“Piece of Cake” pedestrian improvements

Within the rather robust comments thread which accompanied this post on pedestrian safety I suggested that perhaps a constructive thing we could do on this blog is identify a few really simple improvements around Auckland (perhaps with a focus on the city centre but not necessarily) which would improve life for pedestrians. Some of these improvements may have a safety benefit, some might just treat pedestrians as something a little better than the “scum of the earth” approach that Auckland’s road designs and management typically take. Sorting out things like this:hendry1However, this time we won’t just be highlighting a massive number of situations where huge changes – likely to take years to implement – should happen (although absolutely we need to fundamentally change the way we view pedestrians when designing transport infrastructure). This time we actually want to make change happen. So we’re going to be as constructive as we can possibly be – to work with Auckland Transport, the Local Boards, NZTA (if necessary) and whoever else needs to be involved to make these changes happen.

2013 is also obviously a local government election year, and we think that perhaps the time pressure of politicians wanting to see stuff happen might be a useful ally in our goals here. So we’re looking at specific, quick, cheap, easy changes that can create a noticeable benefit for pedestrians in particular. Things like adding crossing legs onto intersections, removing a particularly nasty slip-lane, changing the phasing of traffic lights to a ‘Barnes Dance’, adding in a pedestrian crossing in a particularly necessary location and other things like that. Perhaps if we pluck out the best five ideas, being as specific as possible about the necessary change and the justification for it, we just might see some of this stuff happen.

And of course, we will follow up on progress and we will shower praise where positive change occurs. Let’s find those “piece of cake” pedestrian improvements and make them happen.

108 comments to “Piece of Cake” pedestrian improvements

  • AC

    Now I’m not in Auckland at the moment. But I grew up near Pah Rd and it used to drive me mental walking home having to run across the road all the time because there is only one painted ped crossing the whole way between greenwoods corner and mt albert rd intersection. Now that might not be the most dangerous thing ever. But I spent most of my life ”jaywalking” across the road at various points because…..well…..sometimes you just aren’t on the right said of the road! And you don’t want to have to walk to the ped crossing that is actually further away than your destination.
    So if AT could whack another painted crossing along there somewhere I bet the whole neighbourhood would LOVE it.
    Also it might calm this very busy arterial road down a bit.
    Glad I finally got that one off my chest after all these years :)

    Oh I thought of another one. As a pedestrian, walking north on the left side of Pah Rd, crossing SELWYN road is absolutely mental because cars zooming north and wanting to turn left into selwyn can zip around VERY fast and fail to see pedestrians (there are no crossings whatsoever at that point) Another pet peeve of mine!

  • Andrew

    The worst thing about that photo (credit: me :P) is that that’s on the route of what is supposed to be the Southern Isthmus Cycleway.

    There is zero provision for cyclists to get from the on-road section that is Hendry Ave to get to the Queenstown Rd / Orpheus Drive link.

    Getting from the on-road section to the off-road section is blocked by a teardrop roundabout blocking straight-ahead (to the cycleway) or right turn access from Hendry Ave, and even if you could go around a normal roundabout, you hit hard kerbs and have to make a 180 degree hard left turn at the next driveway.

    So instead you have to switch to the footpath at the end of Hendry Ave, and you hit that silly sign above.

  • Two improvements I would like to see.
    First painting of all signalised crossings in a different colour to make them stand out. This has been done on the new crossing on Victoria St that goes from the end of Elliot.

    Secondly I think all raised table crossings in town centres should have the stupid, “Pedestrians give way to vehicles” signs removed be repainted as a zebra crossing.

    • +1000. It is INSANE to make a physical environment imply one thing and then seek to enforce the reverse.

      Raising roadway to the level of the footpath so that the footpath is the continuos clearly implies that this is the priority mode at this place, in exactly the same way that the more common continuation of the road level interrupting the flow of a footpath tells us the reverse.

      Surely any legal niceties can be meet by making all raised beds ped crossings with paint added if need be.

      Here’s an example of the fully cocktail of mixed messages:
      -Sweeping curve on the intersection radius to aid vehicle speed
      -but narrowed carriageway suggesting low speed access lane
      -raised pedestrian bed to for ped continuity implying ped ROW
      -yellow raised knobs for the sight impaired implying no ROW for blind anyway
      -cobblestones for rough driving surface that suggest ped area

      Union St, Freemans Bay

      I get that ‘confusing’ or at least environments that require active engagement by all users are proving themselves safer and better for all users but I think it is clear that this from of confusion is just a mess.

      I would add that there should be no right hand turn from Victoria St into this now little lane of Union St. This manoeuvre largely supports rat running and is much less used for local access, is dangerous for those baffled pedestrians as cars rush across as their drivers eye the oncoming traffic [the threat to them] and can miss seeing footpath users, and causes dangerous nose to tails or certainly near ones in the middle of Vic St itself. I note a couple of flouro polls have recently been added to restrict queueing here so it clear there is a problem.

      Come on AT: Fix it!

      • AC

        Yea! I forgot about those signs! Totally insane!

      • Max

        As a transport engineer, I am not so worried about those mixed messages, though I can certainly see where you are coming from, Patrick. By making both groups (motorists AND pedestrians) wonder who has right of way, you actually end up with a pretty good safety result (sharing the road, rather than one side assuming they own it). I see the same thing at the entrance to the Auckland Domain (Domain Drive / Park Road). Works great in practice. The overwhelming number of motorists give way, without technically having to do so. And the speed table keeps the speeds down with those who don’t give way.

        • I think I concede that point above, but is it done well?, looks more like some kind compromise between new school and old school TEs and urban designers to me. The result of a horse trade. …

          Angry motorists do get shouty and aggressive at these intersections, believe me

          But also this is, like the nightmare Strand intersections referred to in the earlier post a major active mode entry point across Auckland’s extreme motorway severance, or at least should be, but have so little to encourage walkers and rides….

          • Max

            “Angry motorists do get shouty and aggressive at these intersections, believe me”

            Sorry Patrick, but my – personal – experience with these raised crossings (even without zebras) is exactly the opposite. Drivers become a lot more considerate, on average. Examples at Domain Drive, Seafield View Road, the various ones on Osborne Street. They work.

      • OrangeKiwi

        I think there’s a difference in how raised tables are perceived and used, depending on their locations – i.e. at an intersection (the one in the picture above or at Osborne St/Khyber Pass) or in the middle of the road (Nuffield St). My experience with the ones at intersections is that they work quite well, but would ultimately work so much better in combination with right of way for pedestrians going straight – as is common in most other first-world countries. The ones situated in the middle of the road appear to be more problematic: here hardly anyone is willing to voluntarily stop in the middle of a straight piece of road. The raised tables, acting like a speedbump, do slow down traffic which ironically makes for a longer waiting time to see the street clear of traffic before crossing.

      • Patrick D

        From what I can see in this picture it would appear to be a “DRIVEWAY”. Lack of a street sign with the name of said street furthers my impression of it being a driveway. Therefore if it is legally a driveway then according it fits in the shared use category of ALL DRIVEWAYS and motorists must legally yield to pedestrians.

  • Gian

    Tangihua St, between the downtown Countdown and the Docks apartments, a mini highway with slip lanes on all sides and heavy traffic to the port. Cars and trucks turn into Tangihua at high speed and close calls with pedestrians happen often.

    • Gian

      and the solution could be a raised crossing with stripes or a ban for heavy trucks to use it. They don’t need to go to-come from beach rd they can use quay st instead to take the highway. The problem is expecially there when there are shows at Vector Arena

      • Max

        Fingers crossed, the Tangihua intersection will be improved as part of the Beach Road cycleway to come in the next 2-3 years. The slip lanes are proposed for removal, to be integrated into the signals instead. Far from confirmed yet, of course.

        • Gian

          That’s something. Is there any hope heavy trucks could be banned from driving in Beach road?
          Now that I think of it, is there ANY truck ban in Nz?

          • Now remember the millions spent destroying Grafton Gully was sold to us as meaning there would never need to be a truck on Beach and Quay again, outside of local deliveries. Has this happened. Hell no, and it won’t until we down scale the road, and enforce a ban.

        • Max – out of interest, do you know if any cycle and pedestrian counts were undertaken for the Beach Road project?

      • Max

        Hi Tom

        Refer to NZTA’s “pedestrian planning and design guide” – it is available for free on the web (thankfully NZTA doesn’t subscribe to the the “its a standards-type document so you should pay for reading it” philosophy).

        Said design document (in Table 6.4) specifies the average impact of zebra crossings and raised tables and other measures. Zebras without other crossing aids increase ped crashes by 28%, while a zebra crossing on a raised platform makes them 80% safer!

        Of course these are averages – situational context is also important. A painted zebra crossing in the middle of a town centre is safer than one on a deserted, low-light industrial area / rural road.

  • OrangeKiwi

    First thoughts:

    – The raised tables mentioned before cause too much confusion and should be made into true pedestrian crossings by adding white stripes, possibly signs.

    – The white markings at the intersection of Remuera and Nuffield counter-intuitively run directly towards the carpark entrance instead of going straight towards the entrance of Newmarket Station or even somewhere in between. At first glance it looks like they can be adjusted while retaining sightlines for traffic turning right out of Nuffield.

    – This: http://goo.gl/maps/W4GFm is a possible solution to narrow down the oversized ‘mouths’ of side streets while still retaining wide vehicle access. It would make for shorter crossing times for pedestrians and slow down approaching vehicles. Don’t know how cheap it would be > engineers…?

    – Manukau Road, like Pah Road, has very little crossing opportunities. I do realise it’s a major arterial but some places just ought to have crossings like the Epsom library, exactly 350 metres away from both the Ranfurly and Owen lights and the latter has only two out of three legs in place. This is a place attracting young and old alike, why aren’t there any crossing opportunities?

  • Tom

    It has been said on previous posts that zebra markings actually lower safety. Could anybody point to a study that supports these claims? All that I could find with a quick search is comparisons between various traffic control systems, they don’t even consider the possibility that unmarked crossings are safer then marked ones.

    • The only answer can be that it is accepted that drivers often ignore or ‘do not see’ ped priority so TEs conclude it is safer to not have them as they are ignored and instead rely on the vulnerable pedestrian to be so consistently terrified and super cautious as the primary means to lower accident rates. Added bonus; peds will probably avoid returning to these intersections without their car thus making them even safer and even more traffic dominated.

      My contention is that having no consistent application of road design that demands driver care and responsibility for more vulnerable users creates the climate that drivers can then reasonably claim to have no expectation to have to give way to pedestrians and therefore are not expected by road designers or the law to be able to see ped priority clues.

      What is the difference between hitting a pedestrian on a marked one or an unmarked one? None for the ped, but blame for the driver only in the first case. So removing or not having white stripes largely just absolves drivers from responsibility for maiming and death.

      I’m sure no one sets out to achieve this but if the over-ridding philosophy behind intersection layout and road design is to speed vehicle movement [and it is] then this will certainly be a consequence [and it is].

    • Max

      Sorry Tom – the comments form is really screwy in Firefox. My answer to your question landed further above at another query.

    • Bryce P

      I have been trying to see if there are any stats out there on the difference the new blue flashing Catseyes make to safety at pedestrian crossings but cannot find any. Probably too soon to have that data, but if you are out driving around town, head to Lower Hobson St (beside the Downtown carpark) and tell me if you can miss that pedestrian crossing – day or night. Does anyone know of other locations with these?

  • JJay

    Footpath maintenance is a big thing and simple too. Our area has (once) lovely paved footpaths
    but they are not well repaired with gaps and very uneven bits where the path was dug up for electrical work etc etc
    and the bricks just shoved back in. Also the paved areas don’t take well to cars and by the McDonalds exit they are in extremely
    poor condition – the repair job was to take a few out and replace with tarseal so some bits now tarseal some brick – it forms
    little hills and troughs and little ponds form in winter. Also lots of cracked concrete near kerbs by the pedestrian walking part
    -which makes it easy to trip as you go onto the road and is terrible for strollers, etc. Not ideal for pedestrians in general esp not little ones, older people with mobility scooters and walkers etc.
    I think that it would be fairly simple to keep the pedestrian areas well maintained as part of a pedestrian friendly Auckland
    – we can’t seem to get much done to fix it – actually an Auckland wide register where pedestrians (who would notice this stuff most) could flag things for repair would be great.

  • Britomart Place, between Takutai Atrium and Scene Lane. Nobody, pedestrian or motorist, knows how to behave here. The road surface has been cobbled and there are silly orange poles to delinate a pedestrian island, but it doesn’t work. There really should be clear pedstrian priority here, given the number of people who cross. Also it is a particularly nasty end to the public space from Takutai Square.

    • Max

      Yep. That’s a bad one, alright. Too much change in the area without a subsequent re-think of the road-space.

    • Gian

      yes, there’s an invisible and informal pedestrian highway starting from behind Britomart station to Vector Arena, intersected by a number of small streets where pedestrians have mostly gained right of way by the power of numbers. Drivers mostly stop in front of the westpak building, even though they have priority. I think they feel in the wrong place when surrounded by big numbers of pedestrians, cyclists and they give way. Not always, though.

  • JJay

    Oh and the Auckland Regional Botanical Gardens on a very busy road (Hill Rd) has NO provision for pedestrian crossings.
    As someone who uses that area – walked there many times its a pain to cross and a few of my friends
    won’t walk there but drive instead as its easier than crossing even though they live close – but we can’t seem to get lights
    there despite it being a major regional attraction. And despite them having put lights for cars at the off-ramp further up
    they did not include a pedestrian set to cross Hill Road (they did for across the on-ramp but not Hill Rd).
    The road has got busier and busier in recent years
    as the Gardens and other areas have been developed (e.g. Alfriston and Takanini/Addison). All the new houses have added lots of traffic to this
    road. There is also a community
    centre further along the road with no proper crossing provision (unless you want to use the little traffic island thingy
    positioned at poor visibility in a curvy part of the road which I tried only a couple of times before I realised it wasn’t a smart thing to do !).
    However that road is a bit of a local sore point with the Cambell live piece highlighting the Hill Rd/Grand Vue to motorway on-ramp chaos when the turning rules changed and
    the community board trying for years to get lights at several intersections around it (Claude Rd/Hill and Claude Rd/Alfriston -where there is a high accident rate). Both those intersections
    are a pain to cross as a pedestrian.

    I doubt much will change but I do hope one day if do get lights somewhere on this road they actually include proper pedestrian controls at them
    – make them not just for cars but for walkers too. But at the least the Botanical Gardens as a regional attraction where people go for recreation should have
    pedestrian friendly access.

  • Fix the light phasing at EVERY intersection where the red arrow for left-turning traffic disappears before pedestrians have crossed the road. Absolutely hate having cars creeping forward at me when I’m not done crossing the road.

    And just a couple from around my work – 1) Queens Wharf/Princes Wharf – I hate that traffic exiting the wharves gets it’s own traffic light phasing – it legitimates the disease-like presence of cars on the wharves and poses a bit of a danger to pedestrians trying to cross along Quay St; and 2) The Hobson/Quay St intersection – massive left-turn slip lane here – nearly getting run over by traffic doing 60-odd km/h is a lovely way to get to the Viaduct/Wynyard… Quay St boulevard/removing the Hobson viaduct can’t come soon enough!

  • Max

    Funny – I have literally spent dozens of hours getting AT and NZTA to fix that exact spot on the SH20 cycleway. They wouldn’t budge, even with an official CAA complaint. “Straight off the motorway, speed to high etc…” – all we managed to get was some stupidly high planting replaced with low planting to improve the sightlines.

  • Sacha

    Pastrick, you said: “yellow raised knobs for the sight impaired implying no ROW for blind anyway”.

    Those tactile indicators simply mean there’s a potential hazard to be aware of (in this case, crossing vehicles), not a prohibition of access. It’s the equivalent of a sign saying “watch out”.

    • Max

      I actuall agree, though, that they IMPLY something – and not only to the visibility-impaired. Those studs say: Don’t just walk out here. Whether that is appropriate for a pedestrian-friendly city is really what we are discussing, aren’t we? What level of care SHOULD the pedestrian still have to have? SHOULD it be okay for them to simply walk out?

      • Important question Max, the point really.

        It seems pretty clear to me that a step down a curb suggests carriageway and that maintaining footpath level continuity suggests footpath. Not that hard really, intuitive, and reinforced by decades of repetition. So if it’s raised then it should have ped priority, always, no confusion, and this default position is the safest one too. And then the road design is teaching us all.

        No need then for the yellow dots which are only there [legal arse covering aside] because they have built a contradictory amenity; if the ped had priority then they would be no more needed there than at every driveway that crosses a footpath.

        I’m sorry but this little intersection is a confused and dangerous sick-up.

        • Max

          I don’t necessarily disagree with you on what we SHOULD do. Though legally speaking, until we change the side-road priority rules, we will have to mark zebra across all of these to ensure things are appropriate both legally and practically.

          What I disagree with you is simply the comment about the “dangerous”. As per my understanding, the situation in the picture isn’t particularly dangerous. As we discussed, it isn’t as good as full pedestrian priority, but it is a lot safer than a simple side road. Therefore, it is BETTER than the status quo we had/have in almost all roads across town and NZ, and as such, I applaud it, for being a step forward.

          I am NOT sating we need to stop at that step.

        • qwerty

          the yellow dots are not purely @rse covering Patrick. They are also there to alert blind people that they are possibly coming into conflict with road vehicles. You will note that these little dots are also there when there is a pedestrian crossing facility such as a zebra crossing. stop being obtuse.

          • We don’t put yellow dots over every driveway, if we are treating this as a continuation of the footpath then why should we have yellow dots here too?

          • Max

            Because LEGALLY, this ISN”T a continuation of the footpath. It is a side road, with a SPEED REDUCTION feature in the same location where pedestrians cross. Not a “pedestrian priority” feature.

  • Sacha

    “By making both groups (motorists AND pedestrians) wonder who has right of way, you actually end up with a pretty good safety result (sharing the road, rather than one side assuming they own it).”

    Max, that might work if it was a level playing field in the first place – only it’s not, is it? Otherwise shared spaces would not require any additional design treatment. And we’d all walk blithely in front of vehicles like those crazy inner-city Wellingtonians.

  • hang on a minute….. if it’s alright for Amsterdam to blur the lines of priority to increase road safety….. or has Transport Blog shifted allegiance?

    • So to summarise your two comments so far, you are trolling and have nothing useful or constructive to say?

      • Ari

        he has a point though. on one hand we praise the idea of shared space where there is little signage or delineation between road users then in the same breathe we are criticising road features that lack clear delineation between road users. make up your minds people. safety has more priority than convenience, so this is reflected in what traffic engineers do. you don’t usually get increased safety and convenience with the same solution. its a compromise between the two.

        • No Ari there is no intelligent point there. Shared spaces do work through ‘confusion’ in detail, but not through any confusion that they are shared. An enormous amount of thought and work goes into signalling that that is the kind of place you are using. The problem with these raised tables is that they are so isolated as to be confusing at the meta level as well as the detail level.

          The comment above is one of those childish ‘nah, nah, nah’ ones that unfortunately seems to be the cost of gaining an ever growing readership and influence by this blog. So it goes.

          You are right of course about the trade off between safety and convenience. It is our view, on city and suburban streets that slip lanes generally tip that balance in favour of driver speed and convenience and away from safety, especially pedestrian safety, to an excessive degree.

          • Max

            Well, Patrick, we may have to agree to disagree, because “safety through uncertainty” is even a named concept. And shared spaces exactly create that type of positive uncertainty (saying “YOU don’t own the road – look out for others”).

            It only works in lower-speed environments of course, because otherwise you are just screwing up pedestrians enjoyment of the space (and their safety) at the same time. And I remain of the opinion that that is exactly what the speed tables are doing – locally bringing the speed down to “share” (in practice, if not legally) the roadspace better in the crossing area, and if either the pedestrian or the driver screws up, reduce the impact (literally and metaphorically) of any bad result.

          • Max, there is no disagreement, read what I wrote above. I understand and agree with ‘safety through uncertainty’ but that doesn’t mean that all uncertainty is always an improvement. In my, view, and here we do disagree, these isolated moments of confusion are poorly executed.

  • The ticking time bomb fro me is the Shortland Street/High Street/Jean Batten Place intersection.

    With the fantastic new shared space in the Fort Street/Jean Batten Place zone, a lot of people are walking around this intersection and crossing from Jean Batten Place to High Street. In then meantime, cars are racing down the Shortland Street hill at crazy speeds, especially couriers to whom of course the laws of man (and apparently physics) do not apply.

    There really needs to be some traffic calming measures or at least a clear pedestrian crossing facility, maybe lights. Of course ideally, Shortland street should be closed off and we could tunr the whole precinct into a walking area. But of course this is Auckland so that wont happen any time soon.

    As for High Street, the sooner parking is removed and the footpaths widened, the sooner we can all start enjoying the potential of that great little street.

    • Max

      What you propose for Shortland Street has been designed for, but not (yet?) been built:

      • Cars out of Queen St, Shortland below High St and High St become shared spaces. And O’Connel.

        • Gian

          Maybe we could start just on Sundays. It’s dead anyway down there on Sundays because cars are hangover and don’t buy stuff on Sundays. Block off Queen from Aotea down and High st with some road cones. Can’t be so hard. Some cities block the whole city every Sunday

        • My vote is for cars out of Queen St, High St becomes a shared space and O’Connell is pedestrianised entirely (no real need for vehicle access there as long as there are a couple of loading zones near each end).

          Then Shortland St below *Fields ln* becomes shared space, as does Courthouse Lane and the western section of Chancery St.

          So effectively Kitchener St, Fields Ln and upper Shortland St become the traffic road, while everything west of there has very high pedestrian priority. Marking Kitchener St (between Victoira and Wellesley) as one lane each way instead of two lanes one way might be appropriate, especially if the rest of Lorne St is shared space’d too.

      • I will wander down there now for lunch but I am pretty sure nothing like that now. It looks good but I still wonder of that will really stop the crazy speeds down that hill.

        I think the only real answer is to block Shortland Street before O’Connell Street and make that whole area a pedestrian zone. Cars are able to access the motorway from the other direction using Princes Street.

      • Luke C

        Customs St’s crazy 7 lanes really standout on that drawing. I hope the next step after shared spaces is shrinking some of these ridiculously oversized city streets.
        Definitely agree with pedestrianisation of Queen St on Sundays to start building support for longer term full pedestrianisation too.
        Maybe space for a guerilla group, all you need is a few cones!

        • I would rather see Customs St given the boulevard treatment, with nice big sidewalks and street trees, dedicated bus lanes each way and still two traffic lanes each way. We will need a good east-west arterial downtown, especially if Quay st is to be largely turned over to pedestrians.

          • Yes: Customs, Wellesley, Mayoral are the cross town routes. The first two as big leafy Boulevards with uninterupted buslanes as Nick says. Beautiful and efficient.

            And how much better they will all flow with their intersections with Queen St being simplified.

            For example Queen and Customs general traffic east and west on Customs only, no turning into and out of Queen [as is already the case on one side]. Buses on bus lans on Customs and Queen but this would still make the cycles way quicker at the lights.

          • conan

            And why oh why do the two sides of Commerce St at Customs St East each need their own light cycle. This is repeated across town- long light cycles that offer just about every conceivable traffic movement without counterflow. Are our drivers so bad that they need this?

          • Too many opportunities to turn right across the traffic in Auckland. These snafu the efficiency of the whole system. The land of the free, the great US, has many a city with very few left turns [cross traffic] allowed. Way better for all. Same with Ponsonby rd, it would flow better and be safer without so many of these ‘conflicts’, to use a rail term.

          • Luke C

            Agreed the boulevard treatment would work well, although would probably have to remove the dedicated turning lanes to do this, maybe remove some of the turns altogether. Do we really need the right turns into both Gore and Commerce St for both directions of traffic?
            Guess it depends on how the bus stops will be configured, but hopefully with RTPT they will be reduced and simplified.

        • Gian

          Not much guerrilla to do, I went up queen st last Sunday at 9 am and I could have walked in the middle of the road as there were no cars at all. Everybody was crossing everywhere.

      • Max

        Looking closely at that Shortland Street crossing / road narrowing circled in the plan – it says in tiny print “subject to funding”. Oh yeah, the bane of so many good proposals in Auckland

  • Sacha

    “if we are treating this as a continuation of the footpath then why should we have yellow dots here too?”

    That particular crossing takes vehicles off a relatively fast and busy road, hence the big curve (to get turning vehicles away from others faster). I agree that it conflicts with the continuous footpath treatment in this case. However, even if this was a kerbed crossing, the tactile dots would be needed.

    • Max

      The big curves are often added not to allow speeds to be fast, but because we have an obsession with keeping every little side street easily accessible to even large trucks.

      The downsides of that are that vehicles smaller than trucks can turn faster, and that pedestrians have to cross further. It is one of my pet peeves – until we get an acceptance among the decisionmakers that large trucks cannot always be the smallest denominator (funny statement, isn’t it?) then we cannot do a lot of things we want to do.

      • So what, we just assume that these occasional large trucks will have to swing across a lane or two when they turn? I can live with that.

        • Max

          You can, I can – lots of our current engineers can’t.

          I raised this issue with the 2 presenters of a geometric road design course sponsored by NZTA / AUSTROADS recently. One flat-out said that a truck swinging across the opposing side street lane when entering a minor side street was pretty much never appropriate (!). The other guy actually admitted that they had intended to have a warrant (guideline-within-a-guideline) as to when that would have been appropriate – but in the end it hadn’t been included / forgotten to be included but might be in the next revision. So we have a lot of work to do in the profession.

          • Kent Lundberg

            The FHWA in the States is training engineers to do what Nick suggests. This is where common sense needs to reign supreme. People making these decisions would rather refer to a code than to common sense. Ironically, said decisionmakers often live in the neighbourhoods that their profession would never allow to be built today. Not to point fingers.

          • i didnt think (at least in NZ) that there was a requirement that all vehicle movements had to be accounted for at every location, i thought that they had to be designed for the likely traffic mix, i understand that there are minimums of course. Without additional controls such as bollards, vertical kerbs etc it is difficult to physically restrict certain movements as people will generally just do what they want.

            to effectively restrict vehicles, particularly HCV types it is a pretty drawn out process and is quite a different animal. And as far as long vehicles having to cross the centre line so that they can swing into a tight side road is a pretty dodgy manouvre.

          • Jjay

            whats the turning radius on a bus like compared to a truck ? I have seen buses struggle turning at some of our local intersections

      • Bryce P

        What about using cateyes (or similar) in rows radially, and from the kerb, to reduce the radius and narrow the crossing? These are pretty cheap in the grand scheme and would encourage drivers to go around them perhaps. Been done elsewhere I wonder? Will do some searching.

  • Sacha

    Totally agree that “large trucks cannot always be the smallest denominator” is really important to get across. Forcing sharper turns slows vehicles down which helps pedestrians.

  • Steve D

    Five from me:

    1. Add the missing leg across Beach Rd in the intersection with Fort/Britomart/Customs.
    2. Add the missing legs for a Barnes Dance at Kitchener/Bowen
    3. Barnes Dance for Albert/Customs
    4. Remove the slip lanes at Symonds/Khyber Pass
    5. Kerb extensions for each end of Short St.

    And this is not cheap, but a bonus:

    Rip out all the roads and parking in the domain. except the road from Park Rd to the kiosk, Wintergarden etc. which would be narrowed to one lane and open only to service vehicles. We replace some of the spaces that are missing with metered angle parks on Titoki St, George St and Park Rd.

    Access to the museum would be only from Maunsell Rd. Only the parking at the south end would stay, and the strangely spread out parking area by Titoki St would be replaced with angle parks along the entrance from Maunsell Rd.

  • conan

    Close in on streets like this: http://goo.gl/maps/xnDDe

    A 24m wide mouth for an 8m wide road. I know this isn’t cheap or simple, but we have to at least stop making streets like this.

    Also stop developers from stealing footpaths by reshaping them into pseudo roads for access.

    • David O

      I completely agree, although I had to laugh when I zoomed out from that linked map and saw the amount of roading with 100m of that location. 24m wide mouths for 8m wide roads are the least of the problem around there!

  • James M

    One that I’ve mentioned on this blog before, but the Park Road & Park Ave intersection in Grafton needs attention. Should be a raised crossing, given the volume of foot traffic coming from the university campus, Auckland hospital and the Domain – particularly since hospitals tend to have a lot of sick people, who are often mobility impaired.

    Instead the multitude of pedestrians must give way to the minority of cars either skipping through Park Ave or bowling through the stop signs onto Park Road.

  • Chris Werry (@chriswerry)

    I asked AT for a pedestrian crossing across Fleet St in Devonport. It’s a major pedestrian route from the ferry to Devonport School and Vauxhall / Cheltenham area of Devonport. Surprisingly they didn’t say no but they did put it in the “Further Study” basket where I presume too hard ideas go to die.

    We have completed an initial pedestrian count and believe there are a sufficient number of pedestrians to warrant further study. The required investigative work and any resultant construction may be significant, and will require detailed planning and design and if pedestrian facility improvements are recommended, then any proposed works would need to be prioritised against other projects within Auckland and it will be subject to allocated resources and funding.

    • have you tried getting anything past the “consultation” phase with the local community boards when it relates to anything regarding safety or parking. i think that AT sounds as if they have treated your proposal pretty well, Further Study is probably what they will be doing, not putting it in the too hard basket. You cant expect them to act on every proposal that they get sent in or complained about.

      prioritising projects across the region is a sensible approach but is a difficult task when you think that for a long time a lot of the areas were used to doing their own thing, including blowing money on wasteful projects at the end of the year to ensure they spent their budgets.

  • Auckland Medic

    Couple of Grafton examples:
    1) Park Rd/Grafton Bridge/Grafton Rd intersection – ‘Barnes Dance’ pedestrian crossing needed: big pedestrian numbers commuting to from hospital/medical school/domain and the city across different sides of Grafton Bridge.

  • Auckland Medic

    2) Incredibly poor pedestrian amenity on southern bend of Park Rd (just around corner from hospital) due to:
    a) new hospital car park spewing cars onto Park Rd
    b) lots of car movements at domain entrance

    There is no pedestrian crossing in this area despite
    a) new Medical School with bigger staff/student numbers across the road from hospital. Lots of interaction between hospital and medical school staff and students (ie many people J walking).
    b) new series of shops beneath new carpark – well serviced by medical students/staff from across the road yet no pedestrian crossing
    c) extended bus shelter (part of Central Connector) adjacent to new shops – large numbers of medical school students/staff alight here and have no safe way of crossing road

    The closest pedestrian crossing is to the west of the road entrance to Auckland City Hospital prior to the bend, despite the main staircase to the fifteen floor support building (ie large numbers of people work
    here!) being on the corner mentioned above. Park Road is extremely unsafe to J-walk yet that doesn’t stop people as the only alternatives are incredibly inconvenient.

    • Kent Lundberg

      Wow Auckland Medic that is shocking and embarrassing.

      • Max

        To put it a bit in context, the signalised pedestrian crossing is 50m west of the point that Auckland Medic describes, and directly at one of the main entranceways to the hospital respectively the medical school. I would also not describe crossing the road (no “jaywalking” misdemeanor exists in NZ, thankfully!) opposite the car park buildings as that horrible. Nothing compared to the hassle of crossing Queen Street south of Mayoral Drive or crossing, by gosh, Mayoral Drive itself. Walk in the park, in comparison.

        But yeah – more crossing locations here would still have my vote – just because a road isn’t creating injured and dead peds doesn’t mean it can’t be better.

      • Auckland Medic

        Indeed. Will try to take some photos next time I sneak away from the wards. Cars entering/exiting the domain and hospital think they own the road.

    • Auckland Medic

      Here’s a satellite image of the offending area, obviously taken during a quiet time: http://goo.gl/maps/CXAAB
      No pedestrian crossing or safe median in sight.
      The big ugly grey thing next to domain drive is the new dressed up multistorey carpark, as you can see cars leave here right next to the broad entrance to the domain.
      Also of note: the new med school has a multistorey basement carpark which spews out cars onto quiet Boyle Cres.

    • mm

      actually, the main entrance doors to the medical school have been moved and are now directly opposite the Domain entrance and not close to the traffic light crossing at the main hospital entrance at all. so, people exiting the medical school to go to the shops or bus stop across the road are more likely to cross near the domain entrance rather than detour through the traffic lights (myself included). Luckily there is a median strip in the middle of the road which makes it easier but a pedestrian crossing or even some concreted median somewhere suitable would be handy as you are unlikely to change pedestrian behaviour that easily…

      • mm

        and, as I’ve mentioned before, those traffic lights at park road/main hospital entrance need to be a Barnes dance – put the extra traffic light signal in on the east side (closer to the shops/carpark building/bus stop) where there is none

  • And in general if there are any worries that any of these changes are just too ‘anti-car’ read this:
    http://www.theatlanticcities.com/commute/2013/02/cars-and-robust-cities-are-fundamentally-incompatible/4651/

  • Max

    I’d happily support a pedestrian crossing here (at least a bloody refuge island just north of the Domain entrance) but walking across – exactly in that location – twice daily, I can’t quite agree that it is among the really bad spots, as the flush median helps enormously when crossing. Improvement-worthy? Definitely.

    • Max

      Whoops, again the comments field transplants me somewhere wrong. This was related to Auckland Medic’s comment re the bend of Park Road (which I will now go home across).

    • Auckland Medic

      By the sounds of it you cross this area during the morning and pm commuter peaks? But with NZ’s largest hospital and a university campus across the road from each other, it’s actually busiest during the middle of the day

      • Max

        HI Auckland Medic – yes that is correct, though I do occasionally cross at other times. Don’t get me wrong – could be a lot better, Just that there’s so many obvious, important places elsewhere where it already is a lot worse. Don’t take my words as disagreement in principle.

  • Sacha

    “The turning radii on that street look like it’s designed for a truck hauling wind turbines.”

    I see you’ve tumbled the secret workshop in the Museum basement, Kent.

  • Bryce P

    Here is my local favourite. http://goo.gl/maps/zSGCd
    Looks like a crossing. Square kerbs. Right turn lane in the middle. Shading from trees. 12k VPD. Nightmare to cross. Standing in the right turn lane, waiting for cars to pass, is hair raising.

  • Luke C

    Anyone tried out this handy tool to report any issues to Auckland Council?
    http://fixmystreet.org.nz/home

    • why dont people just phone the councils call centre. i phone them all the time. i reported a trip hazard on a footpath and they phoned me back two days later to let me know they had fixed it. turns out it was Watercare hadnt rebuilt their trench properly.

      i thought that was great.

  • The pedestrian crossings at the north and south ends of the Elliot Street shared space seem to run a 60-second period at best. They ought to be much quicker (10-15s), given the volume of pedestrian use, which currently ends up with people crossing against a red light.

    I recall that it was much quicker to cycle when first installed (but presumably readjusted for being too friendly to people). The Victoria Street crossing even has an inviting red-carpet painted surface to contradict the light phasing. Furthermore, the light may stay red even when the nearby Queen Street Barnes dance is on.

    For other piece-of-cake improvements, I’ve photographed and posted couple of hundred little situations (including the location in the parent post :-) that I could offer to be fixed relatively easily. As others have commented, it has mostly to do with removing motor priority, indicating pedestrian/cycling right-of-way with design cues, and retaining continuity of surfaces and simplifying paths for people.

    • Ari

      A 60 sec delay for pedestrians is pretty impressive for Auckland. A 15 sec delay is a bit crazy as that equals something like a 5 sec green for cars. that is barely enough for one car let alone a bus going uphill. you will just end up with crazy drivers running the red and hitting an oblivious pedestrian. you could probably get it down to a 30 second delay but you will get bad coordination between the traffic lights

      • Quoting NZTA: “The longest average waiting time should be 30 seconds to avoid pedestrians choosing their own gap and trying to cross”, in reference to mid-block pedestrian signals in general.* This is clearly failing in the cases mentioned.

        Further, “[c]onsider the wider area and determine if the system reflects the road user hierarchy. Shorten the cycle times accordingly”.*

        In such a high-demand pedestrian area as Auckland CBD, at the geometric end of a successful shared space, and 80 metres from Queen Street, it is certainly reasonable to expect a much shorter waiting period.

        Would the signal cycle time be too quick for cars, or are the cars too quick for the area? Both main roads are posted at 50 km/h feeding directly into the shared space and Queen Street, which is mismatched and creates an unreasonable expectation of quick passage by car. Some overt calming may be in order. I concede that for buses, however, granting extraordinary priority is only fair.

        * Source: Land Transport NZ, Pedestrian Planning and Design Guide (2007), Ch. 15, p. 18; http://www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/pedestrian-planning-guide/

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