DCC considers traffic light changes

The Dunedin City Council is looking at the possibility of serious changes to the operation of city traffic lights.

Those changes include an amber warning before green, and switching to flashing amber at night so drivers aren't held up by a red light on an empty road.

But while an initial investigation has been promised, national laws may get in the way.

old dogs

How about the drivers who turn the car right up to the people crossing on the green walk light instead of waiting behind the line till they have crossed the road safely. One slip of the foot and someone gets run over. I have seen drivers on a roundabout here give way to those wanting to get on to it and have nearly been run over on the footpath several times. Remember the scam where you payed $300 and got your licence? I think someone has made a killing down at the licencing office here in Dunedin.

Don't blame the sensor loops

Riley: You know exactly what the problem is just like I do. Everything worked fine until the cycle lane was put in. Now the RH turning lane into Bank St is only able to fit a few cars and the rest are backlogged up the road in the straight through lane.

Thing is that in the 6 or 7 light phases that I was in the cue, there was not 1 cyclist using the cycle lane. You may dream you're doing the green thing by cycling but your not considering all the fuel wasted by all those held up due to your beloved cycle lane. 

And so what if all the vehicles only had one occupant. If we choose to do so it's our choice but remember this was 3pm and we all know this is child pick up time so it's likely most if not all had more than on occupant. 


Sensor loops

The sensor loops in the current system simply don't work. Many cars have trouble setting them off, let alone cyclists/motorbikes.

I also have to agree that missing the pedestrian green by a second is the most annoying thing, during the day all pedestrian buttons should be activated automatically every cycle.

For those complaining about congestion at intersections, the simplest way to fix this is to reduce the number of cars on the road. I can guarantee you half of the cars in that 600m queue have a single person in them. If people filled cars (ie. rideshare), used public transport or walked/cycled more often, it would make a world of difference.

Indicating on roundabouts

It's not just that "there are a heap of people who have no idea how to indicate on them" (everlast's comment) though that is definitely true, and not confined to roundabouts.  Many drivers appear to be creatures of sudden impulse, darting suddenly to left or right, changing lanes not by waiting till there is room to do so but believing that a quick flick of the indicator is more than enough to justify pushing in so the driver who finds them suddenly lurching into the prudent space from the car ahead.  Brake to avoid being up their exhaust pipe, affecting the next car back... and why did the driver change lanes so suddenly?  Because he realised he had to go right across the street to turn at the next intersection!   So with a whole block or more to decide where he is going and be emotionally prepared for the task of achieving this safely, it's too hard for some people, or they don't care enough about other people on the road to make the effort.

Roundabouts provide both excellent opportunities for competent drivers to keep moving safely to their destination, and difficulties.  The huge planned roundabouts in Christchurch make it easy, even if one is not sure where to go. The signs at each exit are big and clear,  a stranger can go round and round if that is what it takes to find the right exit and an opportunity to change lanes safely - after indicating.  This is not true of the retrofitted ones which consist of an inner circle not much bigger than a dinner plate around which the roads are routed.  The driver is not only steering around a tight circle and watching for other traffic, including the alarmingly impulsives, and flicking the indicator rapidly between left and off and right.  Because of the short distance between exits/entrances to the roundabout there is little time for your indicators to be observed by other drivers, who are busily watching all the other traffic plus managing their own direction and, one hopes, their own indicating. 

Roundabouts work

But there are a heap of people who have no idea how to indicate on them, with the result of accidents or traffic backed up as people are giving way to cars that are going straight through while they indicate to go around....very frustrating. If the Police really are keen to catch the offenders then why are they not watching the roundabouts? They would make a lot of revenue and teach people about NZ traffic laws, which they should already know before getting into their cars.


Stupidest ideas I've ever heard

The idea is to keep the traffic flow moving and therefore roundabouts are the best bet.

The first intersection that needs looked at would be the Gardens corner. I suggest the DCC send an observer there at 3pm. Best they have a set of binoculars as these will be needed to see the end of the queue, which often stretches some 600 meters to the Caltex servo in North Road. I was that sick of waiting in the queue today, I parked outside DNI and went to the New World. When I came out, some 15 minuites later, the queue still stretched past DNI. Hardly acceptable. [abridged]

Sort out the real problems first

Maybe those promoting this odd scheme should take a close look at the disaster intersections in the CBD like Moray Place and Princes Street, Moray Place and Burlington Street, and Moray Place and Stuart Street. And I am sure there are other similarly difficult intersections in Dunedin.

And lets us pedestrians have a little more time to cross. On wet, cold days having to wait for what seems like an age for motorists in their centrally heated cocoons clogging intersections or passing within inches of us when they should be giving way is frustrating.


Roundabouts are horrible for less-confident cyclists, and for pedestrians unless adequate safe crossing places are provided. I don't know whether that's why we don't have very many roundabouts, but it's a good reason not to have more of them.


Can someone tell me why we don't have roundabouts? Someone told me this is because our roads aren't wide enough. Is this true?

I agree

Ham: I agree, there are a number of places where pedestrians, especially the elderly, have trouble getting across in time - Arthur St/Rattray St is a great example.

If we are going to change the lights let's fix the pedestrian crossing lights. Too many visitors think they are broken because there is no red or green and cross anyway. Modern LED lights don't waste a lot of energy like the older lights used to. At the same time, let's give pedestrians a green if they push the button during the normal green cycle. The current thing of pressing the button 1 second late and having to wait an entire cycle is silly.

Having seen the "get ready to go" light in action in India I don't think it's a good idea - having traffic lights that work differently  from the rest of the country would be a bad thing.

If we are going to have flashing yellow lights (a "give way sign") at night (a good thing) let's go to the US thing of having them flash red (a "stop sign") when pedestrians are crossing and never have two streets at an intersection with flashing yellow at the same time (again because otherwise we'll have visitors from overseas assume the other direction has a "stop sign" and will give way).


How deluded can council get? The current wait times at reds after dark is completely asinine, so a change would be great. But the average Dunedin road user has enough difficulty navigating the current road rules without mixing things up.

Another unbroken system that needs fixing

Another pathetic excuse to spend money, where do these guys get off, how much is this to cost? What is the justification for this latest hairbrained idea. I thought the sensor loop on the roads was supposed to detect a vehicle so what has happened to these?

How long would this lot last in the real world where they actually have to produce something other than a piece of paper?

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