Buses & pedestrians win over cars in Boulcott St
AT EIGHT seconds, Boulcott St in Wellington has one of the shortest green traffic light phases in the country – but the city council has no plans to change it.
The street’s bottom-end intersection with Willis and Manners Sts sees traffic jams and motorists running red lights in frustration.
Wellington City Council says it is unlikely to change the phasing, however, because it wants priority for buses and pedestrians.
“Unfortunately for motorists, the focus is on buses,” says Wellington Council spokesman Richard MacLean.
As a major bus route, Manners St is the first priority, then Willis St, which is the main thoroughfare from Brooklyn. Precedence must also be given to the large number of pedestrians who use the intersection, he says.
“The council traffic safety people may talk to the police, who will give out tickets, but changing phasing is not going to affect people running red lights.”
One motorist, who has no choice but to come down Boulcott when he leaves his carpark building in Gilmer Tce after 5pm, says traffic often backs up to the Terrace: “It sometimes takes me 20 minutes just to get out of the carpark.”
The intersection is also notorious with taxi drivers, who avoid it during rush hours. One says the left lane is always blocked, but the right hand lane is not too bad.
He says the afternoon is worst because of traffic being disgorged from nearby parking buildings. There are four large public carparks, and numerous private business and residential ones feeding into Boulcott St.
Mr Maclean recognises the traffic is a problem: “It becomes very frustrating getting across town.” But out of the three streets leading to the intersection, Boulcott St “comes a very distant third [in priority]“.
He says the traffic build-up is due to a slow increase over years. The green light phase for Boulcott St has been increased by about a second in the last few months, but he urges motorists coming into town to avoid the intersection.
“People using Boulcott St should think about a different route.”