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Auckland Transport

Kowhai Road and Beach Road, Mairangi Bay - Intersection improvements Kowhai Road and Beach Road, Mairangi Bay - Intersection improvements

Proposal status: Feedback is open until 9 April 2021

Reference number: RSU1920-126

Proposal outcome

In April 2021, we proposed changes to improve safety at the intersection of Beach Road and Kowhai Road, Mairangi Bay. These changes are in response to the high number of crashes at this intersection, especially when turning right. After reviewing all the feedback, we are proceeding with the following minor changes 

  • We will relocate the bus layover parking at bus stop #3141 outside 395 Beach Road.  

This stop serves bus service numbers 856 and 907. Service number 856 uses this stop only for passenger pick-up and drop-off, while service number 907 starts from here and uses the stop as layover parking. 

We met with affected residents and have agreed to relocate the start of service number 907 to stop #3233, outside 325 Beach Road. This stop is indented, and a bus can park without affecting a resident’s driveway. Buses on both services 856 and 907 will still use stop #3141 to pick up and drop off passengers. The stops will be changed once the construction of the roundabout is completed. 

These works will help support our Vision Zero goal. 

What happens next

We expect the detailed design work to begin in the next few months with construction due to start mid-to-late 2022, depending on the completion of the detailed design. We will be in touch with local residents and businesses prior to any construction taking place.

Community feedback

Thank you for helping us make better decisions for your neighbourhood, informed by your local knowledge.  A summary of your feedback and our responses to community questions is below. Thank you for helping us make better decisions for your neighbourhood, informed by your local knowledge. The majority of respondents were either supportive of this proposal or requested minor changes. A summary of the additional comments and queries we received, and our responses to them, are below. 

Raised Zebra Crossing 

  • Concerns about the danger and crash risks of a raised zebra crossing being positioned close to a roundabout entrance/exit.  

The purpose of a raised zebra crossing is to encourage drivers to lower their speed as they approach, and to improve visibility at the crossing so it is easier for drivers and people crossing the road to see each other. Installing a raised zebra crossing is expected to make it safer for pedestrians to cross, and to reduce the severity of any accident that might unexpectedly occur. 

  • Suggestions to relocate the raised zebra crossing further away from the intersection  

We have considered relocating the crossing further away from the roundabout. Unfortunately, moving the crossing away from its current position would make using the crossing a less desirable option for pedestrians. The current position is on the “desire line”, or preferred location where most people want to cross the road. As this is a road safety project, we want to encourage as many people as possible to use the crossing facility.  Also, if the crossing were to be moved further away, a substantial retaining wall and earthwork would be required at the new location. These types of work add a significant cost to the construction of a project and would exceed the approved funding available.  

  • Concerns that the pedestrian crossing is located where approaching vehicle visibility is low and there is not enough time or visibility for drivers to see pedestrians as they approach the crossing.  

We have checked the visibility distances between drivers and pedestrians, and they meet the standard AT design criteria for raised pedestrian crossings. The raised platforms are also expected to lower the approaching driving speeds, which gives a longer reaction time for drivers to respond to pedestrian activity. 

  • Concerns that placement of a crossing at an intersection will increase congestion in the area at peak times.   

Our observations have shown that there is already congestion at this intersection during peak times. We expect that the installation of a raised crossing would not significantly increase the congestion. 

  • Suggestions to install a pedestrian crossing with traffic lights instead. Concern vehicles may not stop unless there are traffic lights.  

We did consider installing traffic lights, including a signal-controlled pedestrian crossing, at this intersection. However, this option would significantly increase the congestion on Beach Road and would not reduce driving speeds approaching the intersection. Studies show that higher driving speeds result in more serious injury in the event of a crash. 

  • Concern that raised pedestrian crossings and raised tables results in unnecessary braking/acceleration, wasted fuel and therefore are harmful to the environment.  

We acknowledge that installing raised zebra crossings and raised tables may result in more braking and acceleration, which may impact vehicle fuel consumption and emissions. However, Auckland Transport prioritises road user safety. We believe the safety of drivers and people crossing the road will be improved significantly as a result of the lower driving speeds introduced by raised pedestrian crossings and raised platforms. 

  • The observation is that there are not high levels of usage of the existing crossing and therefore does not feel it is worth installing a raised crossing. 

We acknowledge the pedestrian demand here is not high at this stage. One possible reason for this is that there are currently no pedestrian facilities provided near the intersection. By reducing driving speeds here and providing a safe place to cross the road, near the bus stops and side streets, we hope to encourage more people to walk and use public transport in the area. 

Roundabout 

  • Concern that roundabouts, in general, pose a hazard to pedestrians.  

Any intersection can be a dangerous place. By installing raised tables and pedestrian crossings we aim to lower driving speed near the intersection and improve safety for people using the bus stops and crossing the road. The raised crossing will make it easier for people crossing and drivers to see each other. 

  • Suggestion to implement a “no right turn” restriction at the intersection for cars pulling out of the southern leg of the roundabout.  

We are not considering a ‘no right turn’ restriction at this stage. A turning restriction would have other impacts at nearby intersections as drivers would need to find an alternative route to their destination. After construction is completed, we will monitor the operation and safety of the roundabout to evaluate its performance. We will make changes if they are needed. 

  • Concern a roundabout would make the safety of the intersection worse, not better.  

By installing a roundabout, we expect to increase drivers’ awareness of the intersection. Drivers generally slow down when approaching a roundabout as they need to make a turns to go through it. The raised platforms on three approaches will help reduce the approaching speeds further. These measures will make the intersection safer than the existing layout. 

  • Concern only a “too small” roundabout will be able to fit in the space.  

A topographical survey confirms that the proposed roundabout would fit into the available area as shown in the consultation plan. 

  • Concern that the roundabout design will be difficult for trucks and buses to navigate. 

To accommodate trucks and buses, the roundabout is designed to be mountable. Large vehicles will be able to drive over the edges while turning. We completed vehicle tracking modelling to ensure that trucks and buses will be able to safely use the roundabout. 

  • Concern the new intersection decreases the safety of cyclists. 

We have considered people on bikes using this intersection. The raised platforms will help to reduce driver speeds as they go through the intersection and the roundabout is a single circulatory lane design. These factors will help make it safer for cyclists. 

Bus Stops 

  • Concerns that buses are currently using the existing bus stop/s as a layover parking area and waiting there for 10+ minutes at a time. Suggestion to relocate bus layover parking location to beachfront parking on Whitby Crescent.  

Stop #3141 is for bus services 856 and 907. Bus service 907 uses the stop as a layover because this is the first stop on its route. We investigated alternative locations for the layover parking and have decided to relocate the first stop of service 907 to bus stop #3233 outside 325 Beach Road. This stop is indented, does not conflict with any driveways and can be used as layover parking. We will implement this change once we complete the construction of the new intersection at Kowhai Road and Beach Road. 

Bus service 856 will still use bus-stop no.3141 to pick up and drop off passengers. 

  • Concern that bus stops are currently, and will continue to, block the vehicle lane and increase congestion and that buses stopped in the vehicle lanes encourage drivers to cross the centre line to get past.  

Once the roundabout is constructed, bus stop #3141 will not be used as layover parking for buses. This change should reduce the amount of time that buses are stopped near the intersection. Buses using the stop to pick up or drop off passengers should be stopped only briefly and should not increase congestion at the intersection. 

  • Concern that the new bus stop located outside of a driveway is inconvenient for residents and that it is better to indent bus stops at the kerb.  

We did consider building an indented bus stop. However, this option would require significant earthworks and new retaining walls. This would significantly increase both the cost of construction and the construction timeline. We decided not to proceed with this option. 

Visibility 

  • Suggestion for a mirror to be installed at the exit of Kowhai Road so cars pulling out onto Beach Road have better visibility.  

This intersection is on a slope between S-bends in the road. By installing a roundabout, we expect to increase driver awareness of the intersection. Drivers generally slow down when approaching a roundabout as they need to turn to go through it. The raised platforms on the three approaches will help to reduce the approaching speeds further. These measures will make the intersection safer than the existing layout and we do not believe a mirror is required at this stage. 

  • Concern that it is natural at a roundabout to look to your right while waiting to give way. Therefore, pedestrians may not be seen until the driver has accelerated and entered the roundabout.  

The raised platforms are expected to lower the approaching driving speedsThis will gives a longer reaction time for drivers to respond to other drivers using the intersection and pedestrian activity. 

  • Concern that the proposed signage and road markings are unnecessary and cause “visual pollution”. 

We will review the signage and road markings during the detailed design phase of the project to ensure only necessary signs are included. The proposed signs and line markings are based on the current AT standards and are used to make the intersection as safe as possible. 

Speed Calming 

  • Suggestion for speed humps, raised tables and/or rumble strips on the approaches to the intersection on Beach Road, from the east and on Kowhai Road on the downhill approach towards the intersection.  

We considered these additional measures. Our expectation is that the raised platforms on the eastern leg would reduce the approaching speed of vehicles. On the Kowhai Road, northern leg traffic volume is quite low as it doesn’t carry by-passing traffic from other areas. For these reasons we don’t believe any other speed calming measures are required at this stage. We will continue to monitor driving speeds at the intersection after the construction of the roundabout to identify if further changes are necessary. 

  • Suggestion to slow vehicle speeds to 30km/h from before the corner near View Road, on Beach Road. 

Our expectation is that a roundabout with raised platforms and high friction surfacing would help reduce driving speeds near the intersection. We do not believe that permanent speed limit signs of 30km/h are necessary at this stage. 

  • The belief there is no need for raised tables. 

This intersection is located between S-bends in the road, which reduces visibility for drivers and people crossing the road. Our expectation is that a roundabout with raised platforms will help slow driver speeds and improve safety and visibility for all people who use this intersection. 

  • Concern that traffic island on Beach Road would make it difficult for anyone turning off Beach Road into Kowhai and vice versa. 

We have completed vehicle tracking studies for various types of large vehicles that would use this intersection, including buses. The design of the roundabout is suitable for the vehicle types expected to use this road.  

Other Concerns 

  • Concerns that the removal of parking spaces is not necessary as the road is wide enough for vehicles to park. Removing parking spaces will inconvenience residents. 

We understand that removing parking spaces can be inconvenient to residents. We try to minimise parking loss by only removing enough to ensure that drivers and people using the crossing are able to clearly see each other.  We believe the removal will improve safety for people crossing the road here. 

  • Concern that the number of accidents at the intersection is low, the changes are not warranted, and the statistics provided could apply to any road and do not seem high. The suggestion is that the project is costly “overkill” for the size of the problem and a waste of ratepayer money. 

We use crash statistics to identify high-risk locations in our road network. Crash data provides a way to analyse safety issues on certain intersections or roads. We also conduct on-site investigations to validate safety issues and identify any other risks prior to designing potential safety improvements. The number of serious and minor injury crashes at the intersection of Beach Road and Kowhai Road means it is a high-risk intersection in our network. Therefore, it is prioritised for safety improvements. This proposal is expected to provide significant safety benefits for the community. 

  • Multiple concerns the seaside feel of Mairangi Bay has been changed and traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions have increased in the area. The suggestion is that AT does not care about residents opinions.  

We have undertaken several engagements with residents and the Local Board as part of this consultation. Together, we have successfully resolved issues with bus stops and bus layover parking, raised as public feedback. We listen to all feedback and consider suggestions in the final design of a project. We will continue to work with the Local Board to facilitate the best outcomes for the Mairangi Bay community. 

  • A significant number of concerns about the constant near-misses occurring at the newly built raised crossing at the intersection of Beach Road and Whitby Crescent and about the low visibility at the Ramsgate Terrace / Beach Road roundabout. Concern that this proposed crossing would have the same effect.  

We use standard visibility distances for sight-lines between drivers and people using the crossings at all raised crossings we construct. Raised platforms are expected to lower driving approach speeds, which allows more reaction time for drivers to respond to pedestrian activity. If you witness any near misses at a raised crossing or intersection, please call the Auckland Transport contact centre on 09 355 3553 and we will register the incident and investigate your concerns. 


We're proposing improvements in your area

NZTA, Waka Kotahi have asked us to improve safety at the intersection of Beach Rd and Kowhai Rd, Mairangi Bay. We propose to install a roundabout and raised speed tables to help slow down driver speeds. At the same time, we will upgrade the nearby bus stops.

The changes we are proposing:

  • Install a roundabout at the existing 'Stop' controlled intersection.
  • Install a zebra crossing raised on a platform level with the footpath on Beach Road west.
  • Install raised speed tables (speed bumps that are flat and wide) on Kowhai Road south and Beach Road east.
  • Rebuild the footpaths on 3 of the 4 corners to align the roads to the roundabout, including replacing the recessed bus stop on Beach Road with a new footpath and kerb, and install pram ramps and yellow guidance paving markers to help people with low vision find their way to the safest place to cross the road.
  • Install new traffic islands, road markings and signs to help safely guide drivers through the roundabout.
  • Install high friction surfacing with ‘SLOW’ markings on Beach Rd on both approaches to the roundabout.
  • Paint broken yellow lines near each corner to improve visibility at the roundabout. This will remove 3 parking spaces on Beach Road west, 7 on Kowhai Road north, and 2 on Kowhai Road south. A total of 12 parking spaces will be removed near the intersection.
  • Relocate 20m to the west and upgrade the bus stop and shelter on the north side of Beach Road, including painting new bus-stop markings and broken yellow lines to allow enough space for the bus to safely move in and out of the stop.
  • Repaint the bus stop markings and broken yellow lines outside 334 Beach Road to allow enough space for the bus to safely move in and out of the stop.

Kowhai Road and Beach Road has been identified as a high-risk intersection that needs to be made safer. Between 2014-2018 there were 7 crashes reported, including 1 serious injury and 4 minor injury crashes, mainly caused when drivers were turning right. These changes aim to help slow the speed of drivers travelling through the intersection to reduce the likelihood and severity of accidents. A raised zebra crossing will give priority to pedestrians, make them more visible and provide a safer place to cross the road.

This proposal is also supported by the Auckland regional fuel tax.

Download the proposal drawing for Kowhai Road and Beach Road (PDF 1.7MB)

The feedback is now closed

If you would like to post in your feedback, download and print our feedback form template, fill in your details and send it to Freepost using the address details on the form.

What happens next

  • We’ll listen to 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.

Mairangi Bay: 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 around Kowhai Road and Beach 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).