Auckland Transport (AT) confirms new safety improvements will go ahead in St Heliers, after asking for feedback on the revised proposal late last year.
This was the second time AT asked for feedback on a safety proposal through the village, as the first proposal out for feedback in 2019 was not well received.
AT has since changed its approach to work collaboratively with the community on a new design before asking people for their views.
The proposal was designed by Auckland Transport - working alongside local community representatives from the St Heliers Business Association, the St Heliers/Glendowie Residents Association, Colin Davis from the Ōrākei Local Board (who has business improvement districts as part of their wider delegated responsibilities) and Councillor Desley Simpson.
St Heliers village is prioritised under the wider Vision Zero programme. The Auckland Transport Board voted to implement a 30km per hour speed limit into St Heliers village beginning June 2021, as part of its safer speeds programme.
These safety improvements will complement the speed limit change and help ensure people adhere to the new limit.
AT’s Group Manager Network Management, Randhir Karma, says “in working alongside community representatives, we shaped a new proposal which better reflects the needs of the local community, while still meeting our safety objectives.”
“We are grateful to all those who shared their views with us on both proposals. We have listened and made changes based on that community feedback.”
The second proposal with community input has been well received - with 73 per cent of people supporting the proposal, with some suggesting further changes.
The safety improvements include: two new raised pedestrian crossings, four new marked zebra crossings, rebuilding the intersection by the playground, a widened shared path on Tamaki Drive, a new give way control, a new relocated bus stop, improving the footpath at Vellenoweth Green and no loss of car parking.
St Heliers Business Association Chair Peter Jones says “I am pleased to see improvements for the village that will assist business growth and safety. AT has indeed listened to the concerns from the Business Association and I’m grateful for that.”
St Heliers/Glendowie Residents Association representative Mike Walsh says “we are very pleased that the original proposals that would have introduced 12 raised pedestrian crossings and removed over 40 car parks have been withdrawn. This means the village can continue to be a convenient place for locals to use and helps the village businesses and service providers remain viable.”
Ōrākei Ward Councillor Desley Simpson says “the best outcome from this issue in my opinion has been a change in both attitude and thinking from AT as to the way they go about public consultation.
“The process they now use internally has additional steps to ensure they are more open and transparent. Including key local stakeholders and elected members in discussions before they go to the wider public is a key to their success moving forward. I’m very pleased to see this new process piloted successfully in St Heliers.”
The Ōrākei Local Board has also been part of the consultation and the final plan development, represented by board member Colin Davis.
Board Chair Scott Milne says “this work by Auckland Transport is about safety and reducing deaths and serious injuries. The initial plan attracted, now, legendary reaction. Subsequently AT has listened to sensible, balanced arguments and I believe a strong majority will agree, as the board does, this revised plan from AT is a change for the better.”
Construction of the safety improvements will likely begin in June and be staged over six months.
For more information about the proposal see here.