INDEPENDENT NEWS

Transit turns on “most problematic” ramp signals

Published: Sun 18 May 2008 11:31 AM
Media release
Sunday 18 May 2008
Newmarket Business Association
Transit turns on “most problematic” ramp signals tomorrow
One of the busiest motorway entrances in Auckland is about to stretched, with ramp signals being turned on at the Gillies Avenue northbound on-ramp to SH1 from tomorrow.
In recent months the Newmarket Business Association has voiced its concerns about the impact of extra gridlocked traffic, backed by the Newmarket Protection Society and the Hobson Community Board. The local community is now bracing itself to see what happens.
“Transit tells us that its $70m ramp signals installation programme for Auckland is all about helping improve traffic flows and travel times on the motorways. However we believe ramp signals merely shift the congestion problem from the motorways onto the suburban streets and roads that feed the on-ramps. Gillies Avenue and the surrounding streets are already hugely problematic. We worry that they will only make things worse,” said Cameron Brewer, general manager of the Newmarket Business Association.
Late last year the scheme's project director Peter McCombs admitted that "it's entirely possible some motorists have experienced longer journey times."
“That observation is certainly consistent with the negative feedback we’ve been getting since the Khyber Pass and St Marks Rd signals were installed last year. We are hugely concerned that the Gillies Avenue ramp signals will at the very least cause gridlock until drivers get used to them.
“Transit’s timing couldn’t be worse for our shopping district. Only a few days ago Statistics New Zealand released the country’s worst retail figures for 11 years and now we have another government department putting the local traffic on a red light for the benefit of the motorway above.”
Mr Brewer says Alpers Avenue and Gillies Avenue already choke beyond capacity every weekday morning and afternoon from the end of the school day to the end of rush hour. He says it is made even more challenging by the fact that 7,000 students go to school in the surrounding area.
“We believe the ramp signals at Gillies Avenue are likely to prove the most problematic in the region. Transit it seems is also bracing itself. They have already delayed the commencement date by a couple of months, have been advertising the Gillies Avenue project a lot, and have promised to phase in the signals over the coming four months. Transit also assures us they will closely monitor and report the traffic effects on the surrounding streets.
“Transit has done a good job over the past six months consulting with the community and reassuring everyone that all will be well once things have settled down. We just hope that Transit’s predictions are right and ours are wrong.
Mr Brewer says it is important that drivers give their feedback via www.transit.govt.nz or by calling Transit on 09 368-2000.
Ends

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