Auckland Transport (AT) will be releasing a new proposed safety plan for St Heliers Village.
Following the negative response from hundreds of St Heliers locals over a proposal to install 12 raised pedestrian crossings in the village, losing over 40 carparks in the St Heliers Business district, the plan has been revisited.
A key part of that change was to form a working group with the St Heliers Business Association and the St Heliers/Glendowie Residents’ Association representatives to deliver on improvements to the village that were evidence based.
This process included Councillor Desley Simpson and Colin Davis of the Ōrākei Local Board who have business improvement districts as part of their delegated responsibilities.
AT’s Group Manager Network Management, Randhir Karma, says “In working alongside these community representatives for a number of months, we have shaped a new proposal which we hope better reflects the needs of the local community, but which also meets our safety objectives.”
The safety improvements now proposed include no loss of carparking in the area, and some small bus stop changes to make outdoor dining less affected by bus fumes.
Pedestrians benefit from four new zebra crossings at key points within the village and the resurfacing of footpaths as soon as funding is available.
While the seaside wooden boardwalk remains dedicated for pedestrians, cyclists benefit from a widened and lengthened shared path on the seaward side of Tamaki Drive (separate from the boardwalk).
It is envisaged that this shared path would be approximately four metres wide enabling sufficient space for cyclists but also allow for pedestrians and those exiting their vehicles, including those with push chairs and wheelchairs, to safely navigate their way without negatively impacting any carparking.
The usual white line will be painted down the middle of the shared path for the further protection of walkers and other vulnerable people.
Under the proposal there are also two new raised pedestrian crossings (similar to those outside Kelly Tarlton’s) to meet the 30 km/h speed reduction approved by the AT Board and due to be implemented in 2021.
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 have 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.”
Ōrākei Local Board member Colin Davis says “We are pleased that the hard work and cooperation has paid off and that an improved safety solution for the wider St Heliers town centre has been found. We look forward to receiving further input from the community and seeing the safety improvements in place.”
Feedback on the proposal is open until 2 November 2020.