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:However, 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.