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Council: Manners work will save pedestrians

Feb 16th, 2010 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

Near miss

NEAR MISS : A man dodges traffic, metres away from the Taranaki St-Courtenay Place intersection

UPGRADING ┬áManners Mall and nearby intersections will improve safety at some of the city’s worst pedestrian black spots, Wellington City Council claims.

The $12 million restructuring of Manners Mall is a key strategy to cut the number of pedestrians being hit, says Mayor Kerry Prendergast, who has the council’s transport portfolio.

According to New Zealand Transport Agency statistics, over the past decade Wellington pedestrian accidents have got worse.

There were 84 in 2000, compared to 100 in 2008 (the last full year on record).

“Figures on pedestrian accidents are definitely going the wrong way and it is an area of focus for us,” says Ms Prendergast.

Planning the Manners Mall upgrade has allowed the council to look at dangerous intersections in Willis St, Manners St, Taranaki St and Courtenay Place, all of which are on the New Zealand Transport Agency’s list of the five worst Wellington intersections for pedestrians injured between 2004 and 2008.

Council transport safety manager Paul Barker says Wellington’s most dangerous intersection – Taranaki St and Courtenay Place – will be made much safer for pedestrians after the Manners St changes.

This is largely because there will be no vehicles turning left from Manners onto Taranaki, which will reduce congestion at the busy intersection.

Wellington city’s steady rise in pedestrian casualties fails to meet an aim set in 2000 by the then Labour government – a one third reduction in the number of pedestrian casualties between 2000 and 2010.

However, Mr Barker blames central government inaction for the “miserable” failure, saying it did not put enough time and effort into reducing pedestrian casualties.

He says the council is awaiting direction from the National government for 2020 targets.

Wellington city has higher pedestrian fatality and injury rates than the country’s urban average of just below 10%, with pedestrians making up 15% of all crash casualties between 2004 and 2008.

But Mr Barker says given the number of walkers in Wellington, the city is up with the best of Europe. High pedestrian numbers combined with narrow streets mean more people are going to get hit.

The narrow streets entice people to cross the road without going to the traffic lights, which results in more accidents.

Incomplete pedestrian accident statistics for Wellington in 2009 show one fatality, 15 serious injuries and 43 minor injuries.

Another near miss

CLOSE CALL: A woman stops just in time to avoid oncoming traffic on Courtenay Place.

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is an aspiring political journalist. I came up to Wellington after living in Dunedin all my life. I have a degree in politcal science and would love to be a political reporter.
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  1. If this is about pedestrians one might have gone the distance and interviewed pedestrians on how they feel or value Manners Mall as a pedestrian haven. If 74% of submitters to the Golden Mile Proposal opposed running buses trough Manners Street all the more reason . Manners Mall was born as a result of the Urban Motorway allowing cars to overrun the central city at a cost of 60 million in the sixtees. That project took 50 hectares of precious heritage areas, houses and trees cutting trough the Boulton Street Cemetery over turning 3.700 graves to boot.

    An article in the Dompost in 2008 shows the council had definate plans to address these issues and all we got out of that was lights, cameras and………… action

    In a recent survey 73% of Central City Apartment dwellers (12.000) choose to walk to work and/or study everyday, I think it is about time Mr. Barker, transport plans considered these growing numbers and started running “traffic” around pedestrian areas being the CBD like they do in Europe!.

    Population counts in the 1996-2001 Census revealed that in the area between Cambridge Terrace and Willis Street the population increased by 98.2% followed by the census for 2001-2006 a further 51.0%.
    If Transport planners want to do us “pedestrians” a favour make the Taranaki-Courtenay Place Intersection pedestrian friendly by stopping all traffic so we can cross safely like they do in Lower Hutt and Auckland’s Queen Streets.

    PS Buses 10 Newtown and 11 Seatoun will still be turning into Taranaki Street under the Golden Mile Proposal with more general traffic introduced into Dixon and Wakefield Street with new carparks to pay for it, should it go ahead.

    THE CITY IS OURS vs WCC ENV-2009-WLG-000231 Hearing 6th of April 2009 see you there Vaughan.


  2. The Council plan is to have cars in single file with buses in Manners St East, turning right into lower Cuba St. Buses are to be given priority at this intersection between Manners and Cuba streets and two bus stops, one for north and the other for south are to be straddled across the intersection. This means that that intersection will be the very centre of all present modes of transport in Wellington and more so that passengers on buses at previous bus stops will additionally range in on the area at the peak periods of the day. I cannot see how it is intelligently possible to compare a policy to speed up public transport with a policy to avoid accidents when the areas where these concepts of speed and safety meet are being purposefully swollen to accommodate both.

  3. As an experienced previous and now occasional investigative journalist, I suggest Vaughan be encouraged to read “Flat Earth News” by Nick Davies who publishes in the UK Guardian.

    Davies warns against merely reporting what officials tell you. This article reads to me like a lazy churnalistic rehashing from one source.

    I suggest he should either produce a proper comprehensive article on pedestrian safety using other sources (Victoria university has impartial experts and maybe a govt agency like land transport NZ could help) or look at the Manners Street issue in detail examining Benjamin Easton’s views – Easton seems to spend all day long researching this single issue and appears to have a few very good points worth reporting.

    According to Davies a journalist should be trying to report the truth whilst acknowledging ia’s (his/her) own angle and judgements. That means checking out several independent sources but not reporting in detail on the flat earthers. There is an excellent presentation to a NZ journalists’ organisation available online by AK journo Keith Hunter in which he explains that the idea of balance produces distortions whereby the flat earthers get equal coverage with the real experts. Davies of course thoroughly endorses Hunter’s position that more reliable and accurate information should be given more space than unfounded alternative views.

    I’m not convinced by this article that WCC’s predictions on Manners street changes reducing pedestrian accidents and injuries has much validity. The experiment hasn’t been carried out yet.

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