Pedestrians have been keenly awaiting a safer way to get across Chapel St. PHOTO/HAYLEY GASTMEIER

HAYLEY GASTMEIER
Hayley.gastmeier@age.co.nz

Pedestrians will soon have a safer route across one of Masterton’s busiest roads.

The New Zealand Transport Agency is installing a “pedestrian crossing point” near Pak ‘n Save on Chapel St.

NZTA’s Mark Owen said the crossing would not be a formal pedestrian crossing with zebra stripes, but it would have slopes from the kerb to the road and a safety island in the middle.

This means pedestrians will only have to navigate traffic from one direction at a time.

Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson welcomed the move but hopes for a full pedestrian crossing in future – though the move has already won praise from at least one local.

Janet, a retired woman who only wanted to be known by her first name, lives near the site and says she crosses the road almost every day.

The traffic on the road was “really terrible”, she said.

“I just think it’s a very opportune thing to happen, putting in the crossing [point].

“The traffic is enormous on Chapel St – about 13,000 vehicles come down it each day and trying to get over with all the cars is tricky.”

Janet said she was very grateful to NZTA, which manages the road as part of its national highway network.

“This stretch is very dangerous, and for a small town, the traffic is incredibly busy.”

Mrs Patterson said the safety of that stretch of State Highway 2 had been on the radar for years, with residents and businesses pushing for a pedestrian crossing.

“For now there’s a safe haven, but I hope in the future we can have a full pedestrian crossing – I see the safe haven as the first step.”

The crossing point would provide people with better access to the supermarket and to the Kuripuni shops, Mrs Patterson said.

“It’s a pretty wide road and trying to get across it in one hit is pretty challenging and dangerous.”

The crossing point is expected to be completed by the end of the month.