Traffic signals will be installed outside Woodend School later this year, to increase safety for school children crossing SH1 on the pedestrian crossing at peak hours.
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s Director Regional Relationships Jim Harland say the signalised crossing will replace the existing kea crossing run by the school community. The kea crossing uses Stop signs on poles to get traffic to stop for children to get across morning and afternoon.
Given the increasing number of vehicles using SH1*, the kea crossing is no longer an ideal option to ensure all traffic stops for children to cross safely.
“The signalised crossing was identified by the Woodend School community as their priority during community engagement conducted as part of the “Woodend Corridor Safety Improvements” investigation over the last year or so,” says Mr Harland.
“This work will form part of the Safe Network Programme for SH1 around Woodend.”
Waimakariri District Council Mayor Dan Gordon says the traffic signals are a great starting point in making Woodend, Ravenswood and Pegasus communities safer.
“This is one part of a programme of work which will make the current road through Woodend much safer. I know the community have expressed their views over a number of years and am sure they will be happy to see they’ve been listened to in the short term while continuing to advocate for further safety improvements and ultimately the Woodend bypass.”
Te Kura Tuatahi o Pakiaka, Woodend School Principal Adrienne Simpson is also pleased at the funding decision for the traffic signals.
“As a school, we have obviously advocated for the signalised crossing to be fast tracked when discussing the proposed safety improvements, as this would make a significant difference to the safety of our students coming to and from school each day. With the huge increase in traffic flow through Woodend over recent times, this would benefit not only the school families but the whole community. It will be a great assistance in the short term, but ultimately longer-term safety measures as well as the bypass are also needed for Woodend.”
The wider Safe Network Programme work around Woodend
The Transport Agency is working with the Woodend community on other safety improvements around Woodend.
The Agency also has funding for design of safety features, including a roundabout and median barriers, on SH1 between Williams St, south of Woodend, and Tram Road, Belfast. Construction is planned in this three-year funding cycle, 2018 – 2021. We will issue further notification of when any of this work will be done as soon as we have more definite dates.
“We are currently finalising our analysis of technical data along with the submissions we received during formal consultation on the SH1 Waikuku to Lineside Road speed review. Changing speed limits is a legal process and it is important due process is followed. We hope to be able to confirm the outcome of the speed review within the coming months,” says Mr Harland.
Background on Road to Zero and Safe Network Programme
Road safety is a priority for the Government, described in Road to Zero: NZ’s road safety strategy 2020-2030. This strategy looks at strengthening every part of the road system with people’s safety as the one priority.
Waka Kotaki NZ Transport Agency is working on the Safe Network Programme in line with this strategy. The Safe Network Programme will deliver proven safety interventions on high risk routes across New Zealand. More information is available at www.nzta.govt.nz/snp
Woodend bypass in the future
A bypass to the east of Woodend township has been identified as a long-term planning need. The Transport Agency will be considering its priority nationally when planning for the next National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) 2021-24.
In the interim, the Agency is completing a business case to improve safety and access in the Woodend township, then agreed improvements will be progressed through the NLTP.
For more information about Road to Zero: NZ’s road safety strategy 2020-2030, you may want to read the Government’s strategy and initial action plan, which is available at: www.transport.govt.nz/multi-modal/keystrategiesandplans/road-safety-strategy(external link)
* Traffic growth Woodend over recent five-year period:
SH1 Woodend:15,250 average vehicles per day in 2014, 17,399 in 2018.
SH1 South of the junction with Woodend Rangiora Road:16,795 average vehicles per day 2014, 19,902 2018.
From 2014 to 2018 traffic volumes increased by 14% SH1 Woodend and south of the town, 18.5% growth SH1 south of the junction with Woodend Rangiora Road.
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