Proposal status: Feedback closed 31 August 2021
Reference number: RSU2021-046
In August 2021, we consulted the community on a proposal to improve road crossing safety for pedestrians on Cascades Road in Pakuranga. After reviewing all the feedback, we are proceeding with the work as proposed. These works will help support our Vision Zero goal.
What happens next
We expect these changes will be constructed during this financial year, which runs through June 2022. We will be in touch to confirm construction start dates with nearby residents and businesses prior to any construction taking place.
Thank you for adding your voice to this proposal. Your local knowledge has helped us make this decision for your neighbourhood. The majority of respondents supported the crossing upgrade. The most common theme in the consultation feedback was the high driving speeds on Cascades Road, and residents’ belief that the new crossing would help to slow these drivers. Residents expressed concern about the high driving speeds because of the early childhood centres and the children living in the neighbourhood. Multiple respondents noted that drivers do not stop for pedestrians at the existing crossing.
Some respondents told us that the proposed crossing is not necessary because the existing crossing is so rarely used, while others requested an additional crossing farther north on Cascades Road. We received multiple responses suggesting that a traffic lights-controlled crossing should be installed instead of a raised zebra crossing. We have responded to these comments, suggestions and concerns, and all others raised by the community, below.
Raised Zebra Crossing
- Suggestion that traffic lights are installed instead of a raised zebra crossing. Based on the pedestrian demand and the relatively low volume of traffic in this area, our engineers have determined a raised zebra crossing is the most suitable traffic-calming measure. All vehicles must slow down to a safe speed while driving over the crossing’s speed bump, and traffic can continue to flow along Cascades Road. Traffic lights are not preferred because they do not provide a physical obstacle to make drivers slow down, so drivers would not slow down or stop unless there is a red-light phase.
- Suggestion that the proposed raised zebra crossing is unnecessary because few people use the existing crossing. As part of our investigation, Auckland Transport carried out a pedestrian survey. We observed a high level of pedestrian and cyclist demand at the crossing location during peak hours.
- Concern that the existing crossing does not need to be raised, and that the proposed crossing is a waste of money when there are other roads that require maintenance and improvements. We received requests from the community to address the speeding issue around this crossing. Based on the surrounding environment, Auckland Transport believes this crossing requires the approaching drivers to lower their speeds, and a greater awareness of the crossing. This raised crossing with the additional signage and road markings should help address both issues. Before designing this project, Auckland Transport investigated this area and found two primary concerns: drivers appeared to have low awareness of the crossing, and the vehicle speeds when approaching this crossing were too high for pedestrian safety. To understand the typical high speed on roads, traffic and road safety engineers use the 85% percentile speed as a standard measure. On Cascades Road the 85% percentile speed is 57km/h which is considered very high for this type of road and, in the unfortunate event of a crash, it is not a survivable speed for pedestrians. Auckland Transport is guided by the Vision Zero principles, which aim to have zero deaths or serious injuries on our roads by 2050. A proposed raised zebra crossing provides a priority crossing point for pedestrians and helps to ensure drivers reduce their speed to a safer level.
- Concern that speed bumps are too big. The proposed raised table has been designed based on existing standards which enables all road users and vehicle types to travel across it effectively.
- Concern that the crossing is uncomfortable for motorcyclists and may be damaging their motorcycles. The proposed raised crossing would make the road safer for vulnerable road users, including motorcyclists. The proposed crossing will encourage drivers to slow their speeds to approximately 30-35km/h which will make it easy for motorcycle riders or cyclists to negotiate the speed bump comfortably. The type of speed bump in this proposal has a gently sloping exit ramp for a comfortable ride.
- Suggestion that the lighting near the crossing is improved as the existing lighting is poor, which makes it difficult to see people crossing the road. Auckland Transport confirms that the street lighting at the proposed crossing will be upgraded to provide sufficient lighting so that drivers can see pedestrians at the crossing.
- Suggestion that traffic lights are installed at the intersection of Hope Farm Avenue and Cascades Avenue instead of upgrading this crossing. Hope Farm Avenue is a local residential road with low level of traffic, so traffic lights would not be considered for this intersection, especially as there are no reported crashes relating to crossing and turning at this intersection in the last five years. Signalising the intersection would add significant delays to Cascades Road.
- Concern that when cars are stopped on the painted median to turn into the shops' parking lot, drivers heading north or south on Cascades Road would not be able to see pedestrians. Based on the approaches to the crossing, the additional lighting proposed, and the signage provided we expect there would be sufficient visibility of the pedestrians at the crossing for drivers.
- Suggestion that additional signs are needed leading up to the proposed crossing (~25-40m) so drivers do not slam on their breaks when approaching the speed bump. We will be installing signs where drivers are able to see them and react in time to slow down to an appropriate speed.
- Suggestion that AT should add additional signage and lights instead of upgrading the crossing. The driving speeds on Cascades Road are a concern for Auckland Transport. As mentioned above, the 85% percentile speed on Cascades Road is approximately 57km/h which is considered very high and is not typically survivable for pedestrians in the event of a crash. The proposed raised crossing should help reduce the vehicle speeds on Cascades Road and make the road safer for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists.
- Concern about the noise related to the crossing, especially the sudden braking and suspension noises. If the crossing is travelled over at the appropriate speed by road users, the noise levels should remain at a minimum. Sufficient visibility of the crossing in both directions and the additional signage will give drivers enough time to brake appropriately.
Safety in the neighbourhood
- Suggestion that there should be an additional pedestrian crossing constructed further north on Cascades Road, near the two early childhood centres (45 and 60 Cascades Road) and Lady Marie Drive, so that accessing Lloyd Elsmore Park or the bus is easier and safer. Thank you for this suggestion. An additional crossing is outside of the scope of this project, but we will pass this request on for future investigation.
- Query regarding what happened with a previous 2018 proposal for a pedestrian crossing point on Cascades Road. This project was stopped in October 2018 after the consultation phase due to strong opposition from the community regarding the placement of the proposed pedestrian refuge island crossing.
- Concern the crossing will cause accidents because drivers will not slow down, will not realise there is a raised crossing there, or will be distracted by traffic into or out of the shops' parking lot. Based on the layout of the crossing, the additional signage we have proposed, and the sight distance from both directions, we expect vehicles traveling in either direction will have a good view and awareness of the crossing and will be able to adjust their speed accordingly.
- Suggestion that on-street parking is removed from Cascades Road because it is dangerous and causes traffic jams when cars are waiting to turn into the shops. The lane widths on either side of Cascades Road vary between 4.5 to 4.8 metres and there is a central paint median at the centre of the road. Because of the road and lane width, we do not expect parking along Cascades Road to heavily impact the traffic travelling along the road, and we do not believe the removal is required. Studies have found that vehicles parked along the roadside can help remind drivers to moderate their speed along roads like Cascades Road.
Speeding and traffic flow
- Concern that one crossing will not resolve the issues of speeding on Cascades Road. We understand your concern, but we do expect safer speeds in the area near the crossing upgrade, which has a high number of pedestrians because of the shops and nearby bus stop. The profile of the raised tables has been designed to help slow speeds down to approximately 30km/h which is a survivable speed for pedestrians should there be an accident.
- Suggests that additional speed patrols are organised to reduce drivers’ speeds instead of upgrading the existing crossing. Moving traffic violations are enforced by NZ Police, so we recommend raising this suggestion with them to consider enforcement action in the area. You can speak to your local police station or ring the non-emergency line by dialling 105.
- Concern that Cascades Road is too busy for a raised zebra crossing and constructing the crossing will disrupt the flow of traffic, especially in the morning and for people turning out of Hope Farm Road and the shops' parking lot. The raised zebra crossing is the appropriate type of crossing for Cascades Road. This decision is guided by features like the number of lanes and the average number of vehicles that travel down the road every day. Just as it does with the existing zebra crossing, the flow of traffic on Cascades Road will only stop when someone is using the crossing. Slowing down to drive over a raised table adds only a few seconds to a trip, and the small reduction in speed will mean that people walking or cycling in your neighbourhood are much less likely to be seriously hurt or be involved in an accident at all.
- Suggestion that the exit from the shops is only from the back of the shops rather than at the corner of Cascades Road and Hope Farm Avenue, as it is very difficult to exit Hope Farm Road, especially when trying to make a right turn. There are no reported crashes in the Waka Kotahi NZTA crash database relating to crossing and turning movements from the shop’s exit nor from Hope Farm Avenue in the last five years. The back of the shop provides accessibility to delivery vehicles whereas the front parking provides access to customers. This is a good arrangement to segregate heavy vehicles from passenger vehicles. The proposed speed table should slow vehicle speeds on Cascades Road and provide more opportunities to exit Hope Farm Avenue due increase in gaps in the traffic.
We're proposing improvements in your area
Aucklanders have told us that moving around our city safely and easily is important to them. We are proposing some improvements to your area.
We’ve received requests from the community to improve pedestrian safety on Cascades Road, so we have designed a proposal to upgrade an existing crossing to a raised zebra crossing.
We are proposing to:
- Upgrade the existing zebra crossing outside 117 Cascades Road to a raised zebra crossing, which is a pedestrian crossing on top of a flat, wide speed bump with a traffic island at the centre of the road. The speed bump would have gentle sloping exit so it is comfortable to drive over.
- Add tactile pavers to the footpath and on the traffic island. These are yellow guidance markers which help people with visual impairments find their way across the road.
- Install signs and new road markings to support the crossing, as well as new stormwater catchpits.
This proposal is part of a region-wide programme to make safety improvements for pedestrians. Our investigation has shown there is a history of crashes in the area, and that drivers frequently speed on Cascades Road. These changes would improve pedestrian safety and access to the shops for the community. The raised crossing would slow drivers to a safer speed and improve driver awareness of the crossing. Its height would match the footpath height so it is comfortable for everyone, including wheelchair users and people with prams, to cross.
If you would like to post in your feedback, download and print our feedback form template, fill in your details and send it freepost using the address details on the form.
What happens next
- We’ll consider all the feedback we receive, and then decide the best way to move forward.
- We’ll post the outcome of this proposal and a summary of community feedback on this webpage.
- We can email you the proposal outcome as soon as it’s ready – just select that option when you fill in the survey.
- This proposal is supported by the Auckland regional fuel tax.
Pakuranga Heights: Safe with us
Auckland Transport cares for your safety. We want to make our roads safe for everyone, people walking and cycling, especially for our kids and senior citizens and people driving. Projects like this one on Cascades Road are another step towards our goal of achieving no deaths or serious injuries on our roads. We are guided by the Vision Zero approach to transport safety, which prioritises human safety over other measures (like minor time saving).