Proposal status: Feedback closed 21 July 2020, last updated 5 November 2021.
Reference number: CSFR1.8
In June 2020, Rodney Local Board and Auckland Transport invited community feedback on our proposal to improve pedestrian safety at 55 Ruatawhiri, Helensville. This project is in response to concerns about high speeds and the limited safe pedestrian crossings in the area. This project is going ahead, and we are writing to let you know about an updated construction timeframe.
COVID-19 has had a significant impact on AT and the wider Auckland Council whānau. As a result, Auckland Council implemented an Emergency Budget which reduced AT’s capital and operating budgets. Due to this, we were not able to estimate a construction date when we closed the consultation last year.
Funding has now been secured for this project and construction is now planned to begin in mid-January 2022. We will be in touch with local residents and businesses prior to any construction taking place.
In July 2020, we proposed changes in your area
To slow vehicle speeds and improve pedestrian safety outside Kaipara College we proposed to install a raised zebra crossing at 55 Rautawhiri Road, Helensville. The proposal involved removing 5 car parking spaces.
Changes proposed on Rautawhiri Road
- Upgrade the existing crossing to a "Swedish Table" crossing. Swedish speed tables are a raised table with only one sharp ramp and a more gentle exit which gives a smoother ride for vehicles and passengers. This is expected to help slow speeds on approach and allow for a higher volume of pedestrian traffic.
- Construct tactile surface pavers to ensure access for the visually impaired and stable footing for all people crossing.
- Install skid-resistant road surfacing to help vehicles decrease speeds in front of the crossing.
- Install road signs to warn drivers of the crossing ahead.
- Remove four parking spaces and shorten the pick up and drop off area by one space to ensure visibility.
Community Safety Fund
This proposal is supported by the Community Safety Fund which is a $20 million programme focused on tackling road safety concerns raised by the community. Auckland Transport is partnering with the Rodney Local Board and Ward Councillor Greg Sayers to deliver this project, which is part of more than 80 locally funded safety improvement projects across Auckland.
Helensville - 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 Rautawhiri 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).
COVID-19 has had a significant impact on AT and the wider Auckland Council whanau. As a result, Auckland Council is implementing an Emergency Budget which will reduce AT’s capital and operating budgets. This could mean this project is delayed. We will be in touch with you once we know more about how this project will be impacted by the current budget constraints. When the budget is confirmed, the proposal will proceed without changes to the next stage of detailed planning before being constructed.
Thank you to everyone who responded to our proposal and gave us the chance to better understand your community and concerns. A summary of your feedback and our responses to community questions is below.
- Respondents were mainly supportive of the proposal and noted that traffic levels have increased on Rautawhiri Road. They agreed that installing a raised pedestrian crossing would help slow vehicle speeds and make it safer for people crossing the road outside Kaipara College.
We would like to thank everyone who took the time to provide feedback to our proposal. By installing a zebra crossing raised level with the footpath we aim to improve safety for everyone using the road outside Kaipara College.
- Respondents were concerned about the loss of on-street visitor and school pick up/drop off parking at the crossing location.
We understand removing parking can be inconvenient, so we have minimised the removal of parking whilst maintaining clear visibility. We need to make sure people wanting to cross the road are able to see it clearly. Our observations at the location show that overall parking demand is not more than is available.
- Respondent requested recessed parking on both sides of the road outside the school to help prevent traffic congestion and improve safety at school pick up and drop off times.
Auckland Transport supports and encourages active transport and use of public transport for the journey to and from school. This is to support both road safety outcomes outside the school gate and reduce congestion on the roads. Outside schools, parking time restrictions are used to encourage turnover in areas that experience high parking demand. We are currently undertaking a trial looking at a number of options to provide safety outside schools for all road users, in particular students and their families. While this trial is under way, we will not be implementing any changes to existing restrictions or layouts currently in place outside schools. We thank you for your patience during the trial period.
- Respondents were concerned that the edges of the speed bumps might be too high for approaching traffic, especially as it is a sloped road that might not be suitable for speed bumps.
We design raised table crossings to ensure that all types of vehicles are able to travel over it safely at slow speeds. The raised table height, widths and gradients are in accordance with Auckland Transport standards and are appropriate for all types of vehicles expected at this location.
- Respondent suggested that to widen the footpath in the area of the crossing the footpath should extend into the road, making the crossing point narrower, instead of filling the berm with concrete. This will help slow vehicles down.
A Swedish style table is proposed to provide a safer crossing environment for pedestrians, while also providing enough space for bus and coach movements along Rautawhiri Road. A Swedish style table includes only one sharp ramp on entry and a smooth exit to make the ride easier on buses, and a central refuge island that will narrow the vehicle lanes down to 3.2m. They cannot be made narrower as there would not be sufficient width for buses. Therefore, to widen the footpath around the crossing the berm will be converted into a footpath.
- Respondent suggested the schools’ two driveways are ‘grade separated’ and have zebra crossing markings painted in order to give priority to pedestrians.
Changes have recently been made to the school driveways at this location and we would need to investigate before making any recommendations on prioritisation. We will check this location and if any changes are necessary, they will be implemented as a separate project.
- Respondent requested that flashing warning lights are installed to advise drivers they are approaching a crossing and general request for more pedestrian and school warning signs in the area as the schools are surrounded by 4 busy roads.
All required pedestrian warning signage has been included in the design of pedestrian crossings in this area. On Rautawhiri Road, we will install all required warning signage with enough visibility provided for drivers to see pedestrians crossing and stop in a timely manner. Therefore, warning lights are not currently needed at this location. This does not preclude any additional upgrades to the crossing in the future if required.
- Respondent was concerned that vehicles pulling in and out of driveways directly onto the crossing could hit the keep left sign and/or mount the traffic island and this is also unsafe for people using the crossing.
Vehicle tracking calculations made during the design of this proposal show that all vehicle manoeuvres can be completed without hitting the proposed traffic islands. There is enough space for vehicles reversing out of driveways to do so without going over the crossing.
- Respondent was concerned that students using the pathway alongside 55 Rautawhiri Rd will take a shortcut to the crossing over the grass verge and ruin it.
When the crossing is installed, we will monitor this situation and make changes if necessary.
- Respondent was concerned that the footpath on the south of the crossing is where multiple wheelie bins and refuse bags are left, often for several days, for emptying each week. When the bins are being emptied, the road will be blocked as the traffic island will prevent cars passing the truck.
The refuse vehicle operates once a week and there is a low likelihood of this conflict happening. When it does occur drivers will need to be patient and wait for the truck to move past the refuge islands. We also recommended that people place the wheelie bins in a position that does not block the crossing.
- Respondent suggested moving crossing to outside 51-53 Rautawhiri Road as it will fit between the driveways, will not be blocked by wheelie bins or the trucks emptying the bins and cars exiting the driveways will have more space to turn into the road and avoid the traffic islands.
We have chosen the proposed location because this is the point where most people want to cross the road to enter Kaipara College. The raised table aims to reduce vehicle speeds outside the school, and it will fit safely between the driveways on this section of road.
- Respondent suggested that speed bumps are needed on Garfield Road near Helensville Primary School and near the intersection of Garfield and Hand Road as the traffic is very fast coming down the hill.
The focus of this proposal is to provide a safe crossing facility on Rautawhiri Road. Auckland Transport has a plan to reduce unsafe speeds on Auckland’s roads. It targets areas prioritised by the level of safety risk and aims to reduce the incidence and impact of crashes. The initial roll out of speed reduction focuses on approximately 10 per cent of our road network, including residential areas. The plan will support drivers to travel at the appropriate speed and to the road conditions.
Prioritisation and delivery are based on several factors, and while we do appreciate your concerns, Garfield Road has not been identified in the first group as other areas in the region experience higher speeds and safety risk. Read more information, including the residential areas that will be prioritised for further investigation on the Residential Speed Management Programme page on our website.
We will be in touch with you when we know more about how this project will be impacted by the current budget constraints. Once funding is secured, our contractors will send notices to residents or businesses affected by works 48 hours before the work starts.