News | 19 April 2024
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A community crossing, from Karori’s oldest residents

The residents and staff of the Huntleigh Home and Apartments community in Karori are celebrating a new raised crossing, which will make it easier for them to access shops and facilities.

A group of senior citizens including three in wheelchairs, re-enact the Beatle's Abbey Road album cover as they cross the road over a pedestrian crossing.

“This is a thing to celebrate,” says Valerie Smith, community advocate and Huntleigh resident. The residents and staff of Huntleigh Home and Apartments organised a street party and ‘official opening’ of the new raised crossing, with Valerie giving a speech before cutting an enormous green ribbon on the crossing.

The importance of the crossing to the residents is huge. Many have arrived on mobility scooters and motorised wheelchairs, others have walking sticks. Valerie is clear about what the raised crossing means for her and her neighbours.

“We want to be part of our community as much as possible, and the steep kerb on Campbell Street was limiting our access. When I came here, I could never get to the shops in my wheelchair. It’s now much easier to go to and from the shops and public library and finally be part of the community. It’s taken a lot of meetings and emails but we are really appreciative of this,” she says. 

“And it’s not just for us. It’s also for the mums with pushchairs, and the young school children who cross this road every morning and afternoon.”

This new crossing and others around the suburb are part of Karori Connections bus, bike and pedestrian improvements.  

Upgraded crossings like this have many functions. They level the footpath with the road, which means people on wheels like Valerie can cross the road smoothly and safely. Raised crossings also slow traffic to safer speeds, and on this busy corner between Karori’s main retail area and a retirement village and school, it’s clear how important safer speeds are.  

The raised platform and painted markings also make people like primary school children and Valerie with her wheelchair more visible to drivers.  

This type of crossing is a courtesy crossing, where cars have right of way but drivers have increased awareness of people on the footpath looking to cross the road.  As with all crossings, drivers and pedestrians still have to take care.

Two men who work for Downer construction stand happily onlooking as a woman in a wheelchair shakes hands with another woman. They are all in a suburban street setting.

As Valerie speaks, heavy traffic on Karori Road whizzes by. Much of it turns onto Campbell Street, slowing for the new raised crossing, and maybe to have a look at the sight of 30 or more of Karori’s oldest residents having a party on the street corner. Jazz music plays through a portable speaker mounted on a bike.   

Valerie adds, “I particularly want Downer workers to be thanked – they went above and beyond the call of duty. They were courteous and helpful when working on the crossing.”  

As Valerie leads the way back to Huntleigh for cake and tea, a few jump at the chance to reenact The Beatles’ Abbey Road album cover on the crossing. Meanwhile, Valerie reports the party at Huntleigh was still going three hours later.   

Read more about Karori Connections here