‘Smart crossing’ among measures

ITS electrician Hamish Watson screws an LED light into the road near the Kaikorai Valley College...
ITS electrician Hamish Watson screws an LED light into the road near the Kaikorai Valley College pedestrian crossing. It is one of about 20 lights to be screwed into the ground leading up to the crossing, which will flash to alert drivers that someone is about to use it. PHOTO: JOHN LEWIS
The Dunedin City Council is calling for public feedback on the effectiveness of new road safety measures outside three of the city’s secondary schools.

One of the safety initiatives has already been given the thumbs-up by Kaikorai Valley College principal Rick Geerlofs, despite not having been switched on yet.

DCC transport engineering and road safety team leader Hjarne Poulsen said pedestrian crossings were being installed outside Kaikorai Valley College, King’s High School and Queen’s High School, in a bid to slow vehicles and make drivers more aware they were approaching pedestrian crossings.

A ‘‘smart crossing’’ - one of the first of its type to be introduced in New Zealand - is being installed outside Kaikorai Valley College.

Mr Poulsen said it had a range of features to make it more visible, including illuminated signage on each side of the road and flashing LED lights in the tarseal of the road which would be activated automatically by a sensor as a pedestrian approached to cross.

‘‘This is a busy road and there have been a number of near misses reported by the school and its students.’’

Overseas studies showed drivers were significantly more aware of smart crossings, and the council would be monitoring the Kaikorai Valley Rd crossing to see how well it worked, he said.

The new smart crossing installation will cost $40,000.

Mr Geerlofs said he believed it was money well spent.

‘‘Anything that’s going to slow traffic down and make drivers far more aware that there’s a pedestrian crossing here has got to be a good thing.’’

A pupil was struck by a truck outside the school in June 2018, and pupil safety on the busy arterial route was ‘‘a constant worry’’ for the school.

He hoped because the crossing warning lights were activated by sensors it would make the crossing safer all the time — not just when it was supervised by school staff.

Mr Poulsen said another new type of road marking, called dragon’s teeth, would be added to the pedestrian crossing on Bay View Rd, outside King’s and Queen’s High Schools.

‘‘They act as a cue to increase driver awareness that they are approaching a pedestrian crossing and need to slow down.

‘‘They also provide an optical illusion the road is narrowing.’’

The Bay View Rd crossing was chosen because it was close to the schools and used by a large volume of traffic and pedestrians, he said.

‘‘One of the issues we’re hoping to mitigate is a lack of visibility at certain times of the day due to sun strike.’’

The new markings would be installed before the schools returned, and then monitored and assessed to see if motorists were more alert to the pedestrian crossings, he said.

JOHN.LEWIS @alliedpress.co.nz

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