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‘Waka Kotahi ignored my advice’

Local traffic planner Roger Boulter said Waka Kotahi NZTA did not act on his warning that the under-construction SH2 roundabout at Norfolk Rd will endanger cyclists.

“I fully expect a cyclist to be killed or seriously injured within six months to a year of this roundabout being opened,” he said at a recent Carterton District Council [CDC] public forum.

Boulter also told the forum that a Waka Kotahi official laughed at him after he submitted on behalf of CDC asking for separate cycling paths and underpasses at Norfolk Rd and Wiltons Rd.

“I would suggest the official was insulting not only me but also CDC,” he said.

Boulter – who has consulted with governments on cycling as a form of transport for several decades – said he was concerned by trucks’ large blind-spot areas, where a truck driver cannot see a cyclist.

He said the roundabout will be unsafe because of the high volumes of turning trucks, combined with significant commuter cycling and recreational and leisure cycling.

“There is only a single bridge over the Waingawa River, meaning cyclists have no alternative route,” Boulter said.

In response to Boulter’s original submission, Waka Kotahi said it does not have funding for underpasses or other cycling infrastructure along much of the SH2 corridor.

The transport agency also said that the roundabout will support a slower-speed environment by slowing vehicles down to 40kmh.

In reply, Boulter pointed out that, according to Waka Kotahi’s own Cycling Network Guide, 30kmh is the safe threshold impact speed for cyclists and that injury crash rates for cyclists at roundabouts are typically higher than at other intersection types.

Boulter told the public forum that Waka Kotahi’s failure to respond substantially to the safety concerns raised in his submission reflects a larger “consultation deficit” within the agency.

He said he has found a common cause with locals who are angry about the recent speed review consultation and noted that Waka Kotahi is subject to less rigorous consultation requirements than local governments.

“Local government processes allow for the right to submit, the right to be heard, council deliberations, documentation – all in public before any decision is made.

“Waka Kotahi has none of this. Although it has a local office, decisions on funding and substantive content of programmes are not made locally,” Boulter said.

“The process has been such that Waka Kotahi has not fully explained the reasoning behind its proposed changes.

“Some on CDC got very loud about the speed limit changes.

“I challenge them to get equally loud about the cyclist danger issue at the Norfolk Rd roundabout before someone is killed or seriously injured,” Boulter said.

A spokesperson for Waka Kotahi said it had been upfront about the project having insufficient funding for the construction of separated cycleways or shared paths, particularly given the property purchase that would be required.

“The roundabouts and approaches included in the project have been designed to improve safety for all users.

“Planned reductions to speed limits are also intended to create a safer environment for people riding bikes.

“All ideas and feedback raised during the consultation process were carefully considered by Waka Kotahi,” the spokesperson said

The agency received over 1300 community responses to its proposals for SH2 safety improvements between Featherston and Masterton.

Despite the feedback – the vast majority of which was against the proposals – Waka Kotahi did not change its plan after the consultation period.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Waka-kotahi should held accountable for all these road closures the stall goods and service vehicles trying to fulfill there delivery demands, all the unnecessary patch work that’s going, on and the real damaged roads left to get worse. Auckland from the Bombays north are a real financial eye sore. Again motorway closed at nights, it’s one thing to say that transmission gully was over budget, when Papakura to Manukau has been in repairs, extensions alot longer than transmission gully from day one.

  2. Apparently when the Waingawa industrial estate was first marketed about 10 years ago a levy of $10,000 from every section sold was paid to Waka Kotahi to fund the roundabout at Norfolk Rd. What has happened to this money?

  3. There is also a legal distance between the road and barriers that hasn’t been met down past Norman Ave. Those are also NZTA own rules. Lucky if a cyclist has a metre between the lane and barriers. A driver drifts left and the cyclist is dead.

Comments are closed.

Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age who regularly writes about education. He is originally from Wellington and is interested in environmental issues and public transport.

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