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Using the new Motueka roundabout safely

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With a new roundabout recently opened to traffic in Motueka, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has some reminders on roundabout use.

The roundabout is at the intersection of Old Wharf Road, King Edward and High Streets. Waka Kotahi Director of Regional Relationships, Emma Speight, says it will help people to travel around this intersection safely.

“Whether you are driving, cycling, or walking across the road, the new roundabout will help people navigate the intersection more safely and at a slower speed. It will also make it easier and safer for people coming from the side roads to access the state highway, and it will help pedestrians get across safely.”

Over the summer period there will be a temporary speed limit of 30km/h while people get used to the pedestrian zebra crossings and the roundabout ramps, markings and signage are finalised in the New Year.

Waka Kotahi will be monitoring the roundabout to ensure it is working well for the community.

“We encourage everyone to take it slowly, as they adjust to the new road layout. The pedestrian crossings at the roundabout are new to drivers, and so we ask both drivers and pedestrians to be careful and watch out for each other,” Ms Speight says.

The new Motueka roundabout with pedestrian crossings at each approach:

The pedestrian crossings are set around six metres back from roundabout – for three main reasons:

  1. It ensures pedestrians are visible to people driving through the roundabout
  2. It ensures the crossing points are located where people would naturally cross the road, therefore reducing the likelihood of jaywalking.
  3. It will mean that vehicles will not have picked up speed while exiting the roundabout before reaching the zebra crossing.

“We look forward to coming back in February 2022, to complete the final piece of the Motueka project, with the installation of the Tudor/High Street traffic signals. Thank you to everyone for your patience during the 2021 construction,” Ms Speight says.

Further information

Using the roundabout as a driver, motorcyclist or cyclist

A roundabout is a central island in the middle of an intersection, where all drivers, motorcyclists and cyclists must travel to the left of the island in a circular pattern.

It creates single-directional travel that reduces the potential for head-on collisions, the contributing factor to many serious injury crashes.

The Motueka roundabout is single laned. When you come up to a roundabout that has only one lane in each direction:

    • slow down as you approach
    • check the pedestrian crossing has no-one waiting to use it
    • bear in mind people/children who may be slow walkers or people using a walking frame will take a bit longer than some people to cross
    • then be prepared to give way to your right – where the traffic is coming from.

Learn more about use of roundabouts here: https://www.nzta.govt.nz/roadcode/general-road-code/road-code/about-driving/giving-way/giving-way-at-roundabouts/(external link)

For pedestrians

There are four pedestrian zebra crossings at the Motueka intersection, at each approach to the roundabout.

Drivers, motorcyclists and cyclists always need to give way and stop for pedestrians who are the most vulnerable road and footpath users.

If you are a pedestrian using the crossing, please check that people driving have seen you and are slowing down and stopping before you step onto the crossing.  Make eye contact with the driver. A friendly wave is appreciated.

Pedestrians should cross as quickly as they are able to.

Pedestrians should not step out suddenly onto a pedestrian crossing without checking for motorcycles or vehicles using the roundabout. They should give the driver a chance to safely slow and stop.

Always look both ways before stepping out on the crossing.

About the new Motueka roundabout

The Motueka High St (SH60) roundabout has been funded as part of the $6.8m investment for High Street(external link) from the Covid-19 Response and Recovery Fund.

Why is this roundabout raised?

The whole intersection - roundabout and pedestrian zebra crossings - is raised, with a gradual ramp onto the roundabout at each approach. Please note, the full height ramps are still to be installed and that is why the temporary speed limit remains in place.

The raised platform encourages safer speeds and helps make people using the pedestrian crossings or cycling more visible to drivers/ motorcyclists. The raised intersection/ roundabout is increasingly being used to improve safety through intersections and at pedestrian crossings.

The raised roundabout at this location also helps to reduce speeds, making it easier for drivers to choose the right time to enter flowing traffic.

Further information on the wider work for Motueka, construction dates

In February 2022, the last piece of this safety project will be started, with the installation of traffic signals at the Tudor and High Street intersection.

Waka Kotahi is pausing construction during the peak summertime (from 17 December 2021 to 11 February 2022) to ensure minimal disruption to businesses along High Street and to the Motueka community.

More about this roundabout project and other safety improvements underway and completed in Motueka here: https://www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/tasman-transport-investigations/sh60-motueka-safety-improvements/(external link)

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