Pedestrians and motorists in Katikati now have a fairer go thanks to the NZ Transport Agency’s (NZTA) new light-controlled crossing installed on the town's main street.
The new traffic lights were completed late last month and have been welcomed by the community and motorists.
Safety had long been compromised by the random nature of pedestrian traffic across the former zebra-crossing. The stop-start flow of traffic caused by individual pedestrians crossing created frustration among motorists and slowed through traffic.
The traffic light controlled pedestrian crossing operates by a push-button to signal traffic to stop. The system will enable a more consistent traffic flow and enable groups of pedestrians to cross together.
Pedestrian waiting time has been set for peak traffic flows but this is being monitored, so the traffic flow/pedestrian demand can be adjusted if required.
The NZTA’s State Highway Manager, Rod James says everyone in the town seems pleased with the lights but he says it will take some time before ‘old habits’ of motorists are overcome.
Some motorists are still tending to slow and stop when they see a pedestrian waiting to cross – irrespective of the lights being on green.
Likewise, pedestrians need to get used to the new system, says Mr James.
“They need to remain standing on the yellow pads. The pads are weight sensitive so if they move away from the pads the pedestrian waiting signal will be cancelled,'' he says.
The signalised crossing project was funded by the NZ Transport Agency. Its construction was managed by Inroads - the roading contractor for Western Bay of Plenty District Council.
The lights cost $162,000 of which Western Bay of Plenty District Council contributed $16,000 to the landscaping on each side of the crossing. The landscaping was done by Katikati Landscape Design Company, employing local labour.