As we neared the start of the summer break last year, I was busy meeting with a number of residents who were concerned going into the holiday season about safety issues on State Highway 1. They urged me to keep up the fight for the four-lane continuous motorway from Belfast to Pegasus and the Woodend Bypass after going through yet another round of community consultations with the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA).
This consultation only reinforced the findings of the community consultations undertaken in 2016. How many times do our residents have to say that they don’t feel safe? The number of constituents I met with, I believe, shows how important this issue is for our community and how worried residents are about the safety issues.
One resident told me how she witnessed a child narrowly escape being hit by a truck at the courtesy crossing at the school when a truck going the other way failed to see him. She said it was only because her car window was already wound down, and the boy could hear her screams in time, that a fatality was avoided. She’s asked me to press NZTA for a date for when the recommendations from the community consultations will be fed back to residents and for when funding will be allocated to safety measures, including signalising the courtesy crossing.
At the moment, NZTA have not supplied a firm date for when they will get back to the community and I have written to the transport agency to not only provide a date but to tell the community when traffic lights will be installed at the crossing by the school.
Traffic volumes, with the adjacent retail and residential growth, hit trigger point for this project following the earthquakes but instead of the four-lane motorway with separation of traffic and the bypass, as National pledged at the end of 2017, all residents have received so far is yet another round of community consultations, with priority going to public transport projects in Auckland. With the start of the new year, I am re-committing myself to continue working with our residents to keep the pressure on NZTA and Government.