Nearly 2000 residents in some of Tāmaki Makaurau’s town centres have shared their thoughts on whether they feel safer, since Auckland Transport (AT) made road safety improvements in their communities last year.
At the end of 2020, Auckland Transport introduced lower speed limits and/or engineering measures to selected town centres in Auckland - including Ōrewa, Mairangi Bay, Torbay, and Ōtāhuhu.
This included installing physical speed-calming measures (like speed tables and raised pedestrian crossings) to stop vehicles speeding through the town centres and make them a safer place for walking, cycling, children, the elderly, and the differently-abled.
These physical improvements were undertaken in partnership with the Hibiscus and Bays Local Board and the Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board - made possible through the Regional Fuel Tax.
Chair of the Hibiscus and Bays Local Board, Gary Brown, says the work has made Ōrewa a place where people feel safe and enjoy walking or biking around.
“These changes help ensure everyone is being mindful of each other and it will reduce the risk of serious injuries happening in our busy town centre.”
Chair of the Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board, Lemauga Lydia Sosene, says it’s great to see that, while there is still more work to be done, 64 per cent of survey respondents in Ōtāhuhu felt that the changes had made the area safer overall.
“We believe town centres are places for people and should be viewed as destinations - rather than thoroughfares. Everyone should feel comfortable moving around their town centre and visiting local businesses. Roads aren’t just for cars and these changes encourage people to share the road.”
GravitasOPG was commissioned by Auckland Transport to conduct research with residents in these areas - to help understand awareness of the measures that were put in place, the impact that they have had, as well as the public’s perception.
Auckland Transport’s Road Safety Engineering Manager, Michael Brown, says it was important for AT to also look at factors like pedestrian friendliness, cyclist friendliness, drivers who are driving below the speed limit and active mode use.
“The research was to understand the impact of the changes on safety overall and we thank everyone who took the time to respond. It’s encouraging to see that many respondents feel safer in their town centres since the changes and that more people are participating in at least one active mode activity more often, now that the safety changes have been made. It’s great that 61 per cent of respondents felt that the changes have made their local area safer for children to walk and cycle.”
Overall, 1914 surveys were completed and returned before close-off, including:
In Ōrewa, more than three quarters of respondents felt that the changes have made the area safer overall. Overall, seven in ten Ōrewa respondents are supportive of AT lowering speed limits and making engineering changes in the Auckland region to improve road safety.
In Torbay, seven in ten respondents felt that the changes have made the area safer overall.
In Mairangi Bay, 59 per cent of respondents are supportive of AT lowering speed limits and making engineering changes to improve road safety. Over half of the respondents felt that the changes have made the area safer overall.
In Ōtāhuhu, more than three quarters of respondents are supportive of AT lowering speed limits and making engineering changes and 64 per cent of respondents felt that the changes have made the area safer overall.