Monday 15 June 2015
Board Meeting Room
Howick Local Board
OPEN MINUTE ITEM ATTACHMENTS
9.1 Robert Finley re Picton Street Bus Stop
9.2 Paul Cressey re: Howick Menzshed
12 Chair's Report
Howick Local Board
15 June 2015
I read with alarm the article in the H & P Times of 21 May, which recorded concerns by a resident living near the intersection of Ridge Road and Picton Street about a proposal by Auckland Transport (AT) to shift the current bus stop there across Picton St to the foot of Stockade Hill on Ridge Rd. This has to be one of the most hair-brained ideas to have come out of AT in recent times. If the stop is moved, everyone alighting from a bus will either have to cross Ridge Rd with its attendant heavy traffic flow or cross the four lanes entering and exiting Picton St. There is no other option – Stockade Hill is an island!
AT is quoted as saying:-
- “The facilities provided to cross Ridge Rd remain the same.” Well, they would, wouldn’t they? There are none now and would be none in the future!
- “We received complaints from the bus service provider that the current location does not adequately provide for users, including pushchairs and wheelchairs. The existing location does not meet legal requirements of accessibility, being located on the intersection.” How on earth does AT think that moving to Stockade Hill will improve this ‘accessibility’? The fact is, that nobody needs to (and doesn’t) go anywhere near the intersection. And as far as accessibility for wheelchairs and pushchairs is concerned, the configuration of this bus stop is no different to the other 1749 bus stops in Auckland – are they a problem too? The proposed new location would be the same, unless extensive physical changes were made to the road layout there. This is one point that AT do seem to have got right.
- “…….some users will need to cross Picton Street” and at least has the realism to add “which is not ideal ” Some? You mean all, and “not ideal”? Has AT not observed that Stockade Hill is an island?
The ’problems’ with the current location, are quoted by AT as “local constraints, including driveways, visibility, turning space for buses, forward visibility of approaching vehicles and accessibility requirements for all users.” Everything has constraints so let’s look at these:-
- “driveways” – What driveways?
- “visibility” – Yes, exactly what visibility? Last time I checked, bus drivers were required to be able to look slightly over their shoulder. Just as they would be required to do to change lanes from the current stop on Ridge Rd to go south of Stockade Hill instead of going up Mellons Bay Rd, if this proposal goes ahead.
- “turning space for buses” – Turning space? For goodness sake, it’s a straight run all the way down Picton St from Mellons Bay Rd.
- “forward visibility of approaching vehicles” – Yes, the driver needs to look out of his front window too.
- “accessibility requirements for all users” – This is the most ridiculous part – there is nothing wrong with current accessibility. As noted above, there will be huge problems with accessibility if the bus stop is moved to Stockade Hill.
So, these are nothing more than a smoke-screen dreamt up by someone in AT with nothing better to do. I could be wrong, but last time I checked isn’t Auckland Council (AC) trying to cut expenditure? Oh, I ‘m sorry, it has no control over AT. One recalls the $250,000 spent recently on the Cook/Minerva St roundabout which produced no improvement in traffic flow whatsoever. The point is that there was nothing wrong with it in the first place – or was this another ‘complaint’ from a bus company? And we wonder why the rates keep going up.
It appears that this whole idea has been promulgated by a local bus company (sorry, ‘bus service provider’) in order to avoid having to travel about an extra 50m around Stockade Hill. If this proposal goes ahead is the bus company going to pay for it?
I also measured typical timings on the current route along Mellons Bay Rd to the north of Stockade Hill allowing for periods giving way to turn into the top of Picton St and also to clear the Give Way sign at the current bus stop. I have compared this with travelling on Ridge Rd south of Stockade Hill between the same two reference points. I made no allowance for passenger stops as these would be common to both routes.
The difference averaged 16 seconds!!
I also observed the destination of passengers alighting from the current bus stop over a period of half an hour from 3 pm. Eleven buses – several being school buses - passed the stop and only five stopped for passengers. Eleven passengers walked down Picton St towards the village and eight walked up towards Mellons Bay Rd. No passengers attempted to cross either Picton St towards Stockade Hill or Ridge Rd.
There is a considerable amount of school children using the current stop and anything that makes this bus stop more hazardous to use is clearly not a good idea.
I spoke to one elderly and blind gentleman after he alighted and he measured his progress down Picton St by counting paces. Has AT talked to him or, indeed, any other affected bus users?
So, to save the bus company an extra 50m and 16 seconds, all passenger/users are to be exposed to substantial increased risks if this bus stop is moved; through passengers either attempting to cross all the exits and entries across Picton St – which only gets them to the present bus stop location anyway(!) - or, just as bad, trying to cross Ridge Rd.
Why has this proposal not received any public consultation or scrutiny? Has AT done any kind of safety analysis of this proposal? Has it talked to any of the passengers?
I am not aware, over 30 years, of any pedestrian accident at this location but, for sure, if this proposal goes ahead there certainly will be in future. This whole idea must be knocked on the head – right now!
If someone thinks there are some rational reasons for this relocation, they certainly aren’t evident to date and I, for one, would be most interested to see them.