Sunday, July 26, 2009
40KPH ON PONSONBY ROAD A SMALL STEP FOR PEDESTRIANS
After nearly a decade of public agitation Auckland City is about to impose a 40kph speed limit on Ponsonby Road. In that time there have been 41 crashes involving pedestrians and causing death, serous injury or minor injury. There have been two major petitions signed by just under 2000 citizens and now a public consultation by the City, where of 3000 mail outs there was a strike rate of just under 1000 returns with 79% supporting a reduced speed limit and 18% opposed.
A minority of the opposition was from folk who clearly should not have a driving license in the first place and who regarded pedestrians as a stupid sub species and the proposal as an assault on their personal right to get anywhere they wanted to go as fast as they could drive, but a satisfyingly larger proportion objected because they did not believe the reduced speed limit would make the road safer and wanted engineering solutions.
They had common ground with most of the supporters who believe the road needs more and it does.
In particular it needs controlled pedestrian crossings.
The current refuges do not work.
Two of the most serious injuries happened to pedestrians using the refuges.
According to the council cost is the inhibitor here and one councillor claimed the refuges had cost $100,000 each which might suggest the city is being seriously ripped off by its contractors.
The 40kph limit is a start but it will not protect Ponsonby pedestrians and cyclists - that brave bunch - from motorised morons.
The pressure must be kept up on the city to re-engineer the road for its community and not just its commuters.
Pedestrians should take the lead by improving their behavior and as inconvenient as it might be by sticking to the marked refuges and light controlled crossings and by suggesting to jay walkers that they are not only putting themselves at risk