Crossing feedback needed

The New Zealand Transport Agency has begun to gauge local opinion on the need for traffic lights at an accident-prone pedestrian crossing in Oamaru's north end.

In April, Oamaru postwoman Lorraine Adams organised a petition of more than 1000 signatures calling for lights to be installed at the north end shopping centre crossing. Her action followed a spate of accidents at the zebra crossing at the shopping centre on State Highway 1.

In the past five years, there have been 27 crashes at or near the existing crossing. Around two-thirds were rear-end crashes involving vehicles approaching the crossing. NZTA spokesman Murray Clarke said it was proposed to improve road safety by replacing the zebra crossing with a signalled pedestrian crossing.

''Improving safety in this area has been discussed for some time and now we have a firm proposal that we are seeking feedback on.

''The proposal could see one car park on either side of the road adjacent to the crossing removed to give pedestrians a better view of approaching traffic. It would also make it easier for drivers to see anyone about to step on to the crossing.

''The installation of infrared detectors at the new proposed signalised crossing would make it more efficient and help ensure smoother traffic flows, by cutting down on the amount of times the signals are unnecessarily activated.''

Mr Clarke said an NZTA staff member would visit businesses owners today to inform them about the proposal and discuss any concerns they had. Information would also be sent to residents near the north end shopping centre, he said.

Ms Adams said the proposal was a ''very positive'' step.

''It's pretty crazy out there for traffic. It's not just safety of people using the crossing, but also motorists too.

''I work as a postie so I drive and bike that way, so I see both sides of it. I know that crossing is a problem and I never cross unless both lanes of traffic are stopped, because sometimes only one lane will stop.''

Information about the proposal and feedback forms can be obtained by phoning the Transport Agency on (03) 955-2933, emailing or from the Waitaki District Council reception area from early next week.

Feedback would close on Friday, January

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