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Metered lights have improved safety and efficiency at Paremata roundabout

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The introduction of metered lights at the Paremata roundabout has resulted in improved overall journey times and a safer experience without significantly affecting northbound road users, according to data from the NZ Transport Agency.

The State Highway 1 (SH1) lights, installed just south of the roundabout, stagger the flow of northbound traffic, and allow southbound and Paremata train station Park & Ride users to safely and easily enter the roundabout during peak periods. While the signals operate between 4pm and 6.15pm weekdays, they are only triggered once southbound or Park & Ride queues reach a certain length.

Prior to the installation, lengthy evening delays for southbound traffic were common due to a constant flow of northbound traffic turning right from SH1 towards SH58, which also caused safety concerns for vehicles exiting the Paremata Park & Ride.

Since the signals were activated on 1 July, the Transport Agency’s monitoring shows:

  • Travel times have significantly improved for southbound traffic heading through the roundabout, with approximately 1860 vehicles during the 4-6pm evening peak experiencing an average five-minute reduction in journey times
  • Drivers from other directions, including approximately 2330 vehicles travelling northbound on SH1 and 1360 vehicles travelling west onto SH58 between 4-6pm have not been significantly affected – with a negligible increase in journey times
  • The smoother operation of the roundabout has improved safety for all users
  • There has been no noticeable increase in “rat-running” along local roads to avoid the SH1 lights.

Transport Agency Regional Transport Systems Manager Mark Owen says the lack of impact on northbound drivers is because the red light is only triggered roughly half of the time that the lights are operating.

“During peak hours, around half of the northbound and westbound traffic doesn’t have to stop at all and the other half of vehicles are only being delayed by up to one minute,” Mr Owen says.

“We’ve also had positive feedback from the Paremata Park & Ride users. They now feel much safer and confident exiting the car park, which we’ve also noticed from our real time monitoring.”

Because the system is running so well for Park & Ride users, the Transport Agency has extended the operating period to cover the train arriving at 6.15pm when there is high demand to exit onto the roundabout.

Porirua City’s Transportation Manager Darrell Statham says the project is a good example of the Transport Agency and the Council listening to local residents and users, and working together to find a solution for all parties.

“It’s really pleasing to see what a positive impact the lights are having on the safety of commuters using the roundabout, and in cutting waiting times.”

The 72-carpark extension to Paremata Park & Ride by Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) is due to be completed by early November.

“The Park and Ride extension, coupled with the lights, will improve the travel experience for both state highway users and Metlink customers. The lights are already making it safer for train users to exit the carpark,” says GWRC Public Transport Committee Chair, Barbara Donaldson.

Following completion of the extension, the Transport Agency will continue to monitor performance at the roundabout to ensure maximum efficiency and safety for users.

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