Auckland Transport has addressed some of the concerns raised by locals about the planned dynamic lane trial on Whangaparaoa Road.
To allow road users to gradually familiarise themselves with the system, Auckland Transport will commence operating dynamic lanes during the afternoon peak period only (4pm to 6pm) for the first three months of the trial.
Randhir Karma, Group Manager Network Management and Safety at Auckland Transport says; “The PM peak is when we believe the system will be operating at its most efficient and road users will see the most obvious improvement in travel time.
“The purpose of this trial is to determine whether the system which has been designed will work as expected. The dynamic lanes on Whangaparaoa Road will be closely monitored and adaptive changes, such as to the phasing of signals at either intersection or the times when dynamic lanes are active, can and will be made if needed.”
He says if no critical issues emerge in the first three months of the trial, AT will look at testing the system during the morning peak (6.30am to 9am).
If a noticeable improvement is detected Auckland Transport will continue to operate dynamic lanes during the AM peak for the remainder of the trial. However, he says Auckland Transport reserves the right to make changes to the operating times of the dynamic lanes.
In addition, following feedback from the Hibiscus and Bays Local Board as well as the local community, Auckland Transport is investigating allowing left turns from the kerb side west bound through lane to Silverdale at the Hibiscus Coast Highway intersection. This would effectively create two left turn lanes onto the highway and help to ease the movement of traffic.
“Allowing left turns from the through lane would be a novel solution but if our investigation shows it can be done safely, we’ll consider it.”
The possibility of widening the left turn slip lane at the intersection was investigated during the design phase of this project. However it was found that an extra lane could not be provided without significant road widening work.
Mr Karma also acknowledges the worry that pedestrians crossing Whangaparaoa Road would experience difficulty due to the consistent stream of traffic. However, survey data shows very few pedestrians, particularly during peak travel hours.
“As part of the trial we encourage pedestrians to make their way to either the Red Beach Road or Hibiscus Coast Highway intersections to cross. While there is not a footpath for the entire section, there is berm which pedestrians can use.”
While the installation of new pedestrian facilities is not a part of this trial, Auckland Transport will monitor and consider improved pedestrian facilities as a separate project should the trial prove successful. Part of the monitoring will also include confirming whether the change in layout results in more gaps in traffic for safer crossing opportunities due to the previous single-file queue of traffic being split across two lanes.
“Auckland Transport acknowledges that the use of dynamic lanes on Whangaparaoa Road may be an inconvenience or force changes in travel behaviour for some members of the public. However, we are confident that dynamic lanes can prove to be an efficient, cost effective and relatively quick means of addressing the congestion affecting the area.
“The system is highly adaptive, allowing us to fine tune measures to meet the specific characteristics of the road. Even to the point of potentially adapting the system to one day serve as a special vehicle lane instead of a second general vehicle lane which would further encourage public transport use and car-pooling.”
Enabling work and the installation of dynamic lane controls on Whangaparaoa Road will be completed by December this year and the trial itself will commence in the first quarter of 2018.