Road crossing fraught

Shar Carlini and her grandson Bodie Morris (4) of Dunedin, cross Princes St at the Exchange. Photo by Linda Robertson.
Shar Carlini and her grandson Bodie Morris (4) of Dunedin, cross Princes St at the Exchange. Photo by Linda Robertson.
Spasmodic traffic lights at the Princes and Rattray Sts intersection and a ''ridiculous'' traffic management plan has made crossing dangerous, Dunedin grandmother Shar Carlini says.

The traffic lights being switched off intermittently and a lack of signs warning motorists of the outage were annoying, she said.

Confusion among motorists made crossing the intersection difficult for pedestrians, especially when walking with a young child.

''It is ridiculous. There is nothing that tells you what's going on ... Why isn't there a traffic management plan?''

When the lights were switched off, a plan should require a pointsman to control traffic and direct pedestrians, she said.

Without a pointsman, crossing the chaotic intersection was nerve-racking, she said.

''You have to make a dash for it and hope for the best.''

She challenged Dunedin City Council staff to navigate the intersection with a child.

Council transportation projects engineer Evan Matheson said lamps in the lights were being replaced and signal timings adjusted slightly to make the intersections safer.

The traffic lights would be switched on permanently by the end of this week.

The 30kmh speed restriction would be lifted, too, he said.

Motorists and pedestrians should expect the lights to be switched off this week and should proceed with caution.

A traffic management plan was in place and warning signs about the outage, roadworks and speed restriction ahead were adequate, he said.

A pointsman would not be appointed, as contractors were expected to observe traffic and pedestrian behaviour and help on a ''case-by-case'' basis.

Mr Matheson said he would not accept the challenge to cross the intersection with a child.

''I understand it is difficult to cross at the moment and there has to be courteous driving to allow pedestrians to cross in a safe manner.

"There is responsibility on everyone while the lights are out.''

Not the reason

Poor driving is, nothing more, nothing less. Turning the lights off and making people think does actually make it safer. No more cruising through just because the light is green. Slow down and think and get through safely. Ok, not great for pedestrians at this intersection but that is easily fixed as well.

You'll find intersection crashes kill most people in most cities for the simple reason that that is where crashes in cities occur.

When the lights come on again

So the traffic lights are down at an intersection. How come you never see the police controling traffic at them in these cases any more? There seems to be a "we are to busy, let them work it out for themselves" attitude now days. Intersection crashes killed the most people in this city, it was reported, and this lack of policing is one of the resons why.

Forced to take notice

Menounderstand may have been joking: "Perhaps we should turn all the signals off to make the roads safer."  Or maybe not.  Without all the signs and signals and warnings people on feet and wheels have to stay alert, take notice of all their surroundings, be ever mindful of safe behaviour, have Plan B ready in case the other person does something unexpected.  No more vanishing into one's personal bubble, ears fed road-irrelevant MP3 music, pedestrians txt-walking, on automatic pilot.  There has been some experience elsewhere that demonstrated that removing "safety" measures improves safety by forcing people to be fully aware.

Total chaos and no accidents?

Perhaps we should turn all the signals off to make the roads safer.

Total chaos

We live in Dunedin. Too many drivers don't know the meaning of the word "courteous". Nor do a lot of them know the road rules pertaining to uncontrolled intersections so heaven help pedestrians trying to cross at that intersection.

Thirty minutes observation was enough to see that during peak times it was total chaos and that there were no accidents, although there were plenty of near misses. It was somewhat miraculous.

Maybe Sue Bidrose has some concern for pedestrians? [Abridged]

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