Pedestrian Surge Sparks Safety Improvements

4 November 2010

A big increase in the number of people walking around central Wellington - and an accompanying increase in accidents - is behind the latest series of intersection improvements in Te Aro.

The City Council has started work on the installation of 20 pedestrian 'platforms' at intersections along Cambridge Terrace, Taranaki Street and Tory Street. The platforms are a combination of raised pedestrian facility and speed-hump - and aim to slow vehicles down in the likes of Ebor, Holland, Haining, Frederick, Tennyson, Lorne, College and Jessie streets.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says the installation of the platforms recognises the big increases in the numbers of people walking through Te Aro.

"In the past decade thousands of people have moved into this part of town - and it's certainly changed from a place where motor vehicles should always have priority.

"The thousands of apartment dwellers in Te Aro are also joined by increasing numbers of people who walk through town from the inner suburbs so it's now an area that is, arguably, the habitat of pedestrians."

The $800,000 safety project will also include the installation of 'mast arms' for traffic lights at the busy Tory Street-Courtenay Place intersection. The mast arms permit traffic lights to be located out above the middle of the road - greatly increasing their visibility to approaching motorists. Similar mast arms were recently installed at the nearby Taranaki Street-Courtenay Place intersection.

City Council Infrastructure Director Stavros Michael says over the past five years there have been 37 serious crashes involving injury in Te Aro. Of those, 34 have involved pedestrians or cyclists 'versus' motor vehicles - many of them at intersections.

"Our intention is to carry out safety improvement work at these accident locations in order to reduce the number of crashes as the pedestrian flows increase," Mr Michael says.