'We want a pedestrian crossing or lights': Shopping centre traffic a nightmare for residents

Langdons Rd resident Ian Wilkie drives his wife, Roz, to the nearby Northlink shopping centre....
Langdons Rd resident Ian Wilkie drives his wife, Roz, to the nearby Northlink shopping centre. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Ian Wilkie still has to drive his wife to Christchurch's Northlink shopping centre - even though they live across the road.

He does it to avoid fearing for their lives every time the elderly couple make an attempt to cross Langdons Rd to go shopping.

The nightmare began when the centre opened more than a year ago. As more keen shoppers flocked to the complex, so did the number of cars they brought with them.

To mitigate the increased traffic, the Papanui-Innes Community Board is awaiting the results of a safety audit currently under way to determine how to make the area safer.

“Nothing’s changed, it’s still a hard place to cross and traffic hasn’t diminished in any way,” Ian said.

“There are people who use motorised wheelchairs trying to get from A to B and it’s crazy - it’s only a matter of time before someone’s going to get injured, or killed.”

Since Northlink opened last year, the safety concerns raised by Ian and neighbouring residents have intensified “10-fold.”

The increased number of cars parking and travelling down Langdons Rd caused a lack of visibility for residents exiting their driveways and made it more difficult for pedestrians to cross the road.

The safety audit is designed to look at changes to the traffic along the road.

Aside from the audit, the only safety improvements Northlink had carried out so far were the installation of right-turn lanes and no-stopping restrictions at the entrances towards the end of last year.

Ian wanted two traffic islands installed to help people get to the other side of the road but in an ideal world, traffic lights should be put in.

“We want a pedestrian crossing or lights, but I understand that’s an expensive thing for the (Christchurch City Council),” he said.

“In the shopping complex [car park], I counted 38 pedestrian crossings, so we’re only asking the council for one.”

It was hard for Ian to be happy to see progress on safety improvements, in spite of the ongoing safety audit carried out by Northlink’s developers.

Ian Wilkie on Langdons Rd. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Ian Wilkie on Langdons Rd. Photo: Geoff Sloan
A lack of communication regarding progress from the city council and the community board was to blame, he said.

Said Ian: "It’s frustrating because I was assured last December that the council and community board would keep us in the loop.

“If we continue to be ignored, then I’ll be forced to make a point.”

However, community board chairwoman Emma Norrish said the board has not received any complaints or feedback since the issue was initially raised.

But getting to the bottom of the concerns was something the board prioritised in its board plan and recent Long Term Plan submissions.

“We still have concerns at the roundabout outside the library, staff have been looking into possibilities into making that safer for cyclists as cyclists are at risk at this intersection,” she said.

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