The NZ Transport Agency and Tasman District Council have identified a preferred solution to improve pedestrian safety in Motueka's busy shopping district along State Highway 6.
NZTA Central Operations Manager Mark Owen says the NZTA and Council have been working together to develop a preferred solution for a proposed safer crossing facility opposite the New World and Warehouse on High Street. Mr Owen stresses that while funding approval will still need to be sought for the facility, the selection of a preferred solution is a great step forward.
"We've been in talks with the council and community over this busy section of road, which experiences high seasonal traffic during the peak summer season - vying with numerous shoppers wanting to cross the road."
“By providing a single designated crossing point, it will make this busy transport and shopping hub safer and less stressful for the motorists and pedestrians that rely on it.”
Mr Owen says the preferred solution is a pedestrian refuge made up of two traffic islands with hand rails to provide pedestrians with a safe place to wait between traffic lanes.
“This means that people only need to negotiate one stream of traffic at a time. This will make a big difference, because on a busy highway you can wait a long time for gaps in traffic in both directions.”
Mr Owen says zebra crossings were considered, as were traffic signals, but ultimately they weren’t the best solutions.
“This section has a number of accessways and turning bays, which means a zebra crossing could in fact make crossing less safe. This is because pedestrians would cross the road thinking they’ve got priority, but drivers turning onto the road may not see them because they’re watching out for oncoming traffic.”
Mr Owen says the NZTA and Council have been heartened with the response from the community to the proposed facility. He expresses his gratitude to the Motueka Community Board for their positive, constructive and informed participation.