Grave concerns for pedestrian safety

Police and council are ruling out a pedestrian crossing on the new Millers Road extension, despite residents’ calls to improve safety for boardwalk users.

People fear a child or animal using the boardwalk that runs through the Carmichael Reserve could soon be injured or killed if greater safety measures are not put in place along the new Millers Road extension.

The Millers Rd extension has been open for around a month and already it has attracted controversy as a popular boardwalk that runs through the Carmichael Reserve is now intercepted by the extension. Concerned members of the public fear a child could be hurt or killed along the Millers Rd extension if safety measures are not implemented quickly to warn traffic of pedestrians and allow them to cross safely.
The $780,000 extension was built to link Millers Rd and Carmichael Rd, allowing easier access between the Brookfield, Otumoetai and Bethlehem communities.
There is no pedestrian crossing, speed-bump, underpass or signage to warn motorists that pedestrians will be crossing the road in order to reach the boardwalk that continues on the other side of Millers Rd, but within the last week Tauranga City Council has built a pedestrian refuge along the road. However residents are still wondering if that is enough.
Ross Brown and his family are regular users of the boardwalk and he believes it is only a matter of time before a child is seriously hurt or killed.
“It would have been nice if they did the job properly. We don’t want to wait until a kid is hurt or killed before we do something,” says Ross.
He believes there needs to be signage erected to warn motorists travelling on Millers Rd that there are pedestrians crossing but says a zebra crossing or underpass would be the most ideal option.
“It’s not a great situation. It’s not cheap to put in something like an underpass but if someone were injured or killed, how do we measure that?”
Carmichael Road resident Tony Grubner says traffic along the road is increasing significantly and estimates the average car travels at around 70km/h along the stretch of road, which is a 50km/h zone.
“It’s pretty concerning. Traffic is coming down quite fast and it’s just a matter of time before someone has a scare and that’s why I would like to see a speed-bump put in to slow the traffic down,” says Tony.
Martin Parkes, Tauranga City Council transportation operations manager, is ruling out a pedestrian crossing or underpass at this stage.
He concedes that warning signs are simple enough to erect but says it is something council has not been asked for. He is now investigating the possibility of putting up signs.
“That sort of site, because it doesn’t have the volume of pedestrians crossing and a high volume of traffic, it would not attract a formal crossing like a zebra crossing or traffic light control,” says Martin.
Senior Sergeant Ian Campion, head of the Western Bay of Plenty strategic traffic unit, says pedestrian crossings are only put into areas where there are high volumes of pedestrians.
“You don’t put a pedestrian crossing in for half a dozen pedestrians a day. There’s no point putting in a pedestrian crossing unless there’s a need for it,” says Ian.


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