An “insane” solution to making a redundant pedestrian crossing safe by jamming northbound traffic leaving Masterton into a single lane may yet be averted.
A last-minute outcry from Masterton District councillors has prompted the New Zealand Transport Authority (NZTA) to put on hold work due to start this week to reduce northbound traffic to one lane leaving the roundabout on Chapel St, at the north end of Masterton.
The aim of the work was to improve safety on the pedestrian crossing near the turn off to Te Ore Ore Rd – but Mayor Lyn Patterson told the full council meeting that crossing was not now needed.
NZTA is responsible for State Highway 2 and believed it had support of the council’s Infrastructural Services Committee, which noted the plan without discussion at its meeting two weeks ago.
But the idea was slammed at this week’s full council meeting, including by the committee chair Gary Caffell and the mayor, who attended the meeting.
Feedback from the community since then has clearly energised the debate.
Cr Deborah Davidson was astounded at the planned work and its likely impact on traffic flow, creating a backlog towards the roundabout at peak times.
“That is insane.”
She said traffic problems were worse on the southbound side of the road.
“That is where the chaos happens.”
Mrs Patterson said there had been “quite a bit of pushback” about the planned changes.
“I think it’s better to say we would like them (NZTA) to revisit that,” she said.
“I just think the option of moving the crossing is a better one. That crossing doesn’t need to be there.
“Historically, it’s there because Lansdowne School [now closed] was there.”
Cr Caffell was blunt in his assessment.
“These sorts of decisions give me the crappers actually,” he said.
“They obviously have a brains trust but I sometimes think their brains trust operates without a brain.”
NZTA regional transport systems manager Mark Owen said: “While the plans for the change of road layout near Te Ore Ore Road were supported by the council’s infrastructure committee, we have agreed to defer this work to consider the questions raised by councillors.”
The council is likely to meet with NZTA representatives within the next two weeks.