Not Only our Senior Residents in the Area having Issues
I read an article in the Papakura Courier earlier this week on the Longford Park Retirement Village residents having issues getting from the village to Southgate and Countdown – on the other side of the Great South Road.
Lets take a quick look at the Papakura Courier article:
Why did Trudy Froger cross Great South Rd? She didn’t. Ever.
The 82-year-old has lived at Longford Park Retirement Village for eight years and she’s never once ventured across on foot to Southgate because the traffic is so bad. And she feels “like a prisoner” in her own home, she says.
Now Mrs Froger is talking to local politicians and getting signatures from shopkeepers and residents in a bid to get things changed. The nearest signalled pedestrian crossing to the village is just over 100m up the road from its side gate opposite McDonald’s. That’s a hard slog for Mrs Froger, who uses a walker and wants to save her energy to get around the supermarket.
And the crossing itself is “mighty dangerous” even for the able-bodied. She’s seen several near misses when drivers haven’t noticed the lights turning red because the signals 50m north at Glenora Rd are still green. “If you’re old and you want to go there you gamble with your life.”
Longford Park provides an occasional shuttle bus to Southgate but that’s no replacement for nipping across to the supermarket on foot, she says. “What if it’s near teatime and I’ve forgotten to get salt for my potatoes?” New houses and shops are bringing the extra traffic but Mrs Froger says she’s not against development.
“Takanini‘s going ahead which is a great thing.”
But improvements made now would make a big difference to older people. “We want a little bit of life in the time we have left. Then on a fine day I could say to my neighbour, ‘Let’s go for a cup of coffee or a bit of lunch’.”
And it’s not just pedestrians who have problems – village resident Bob Crighton reckons drivers leaving Longford Park Drive are getting a raw deal as the traffic gets worse.
You can read the full article over at the Stuff site
While a younger resident of Papakura that frequents the Southgate area a lot to do shopping I can understand and sympathise with the residents of Longford Park. The stretch of the Great South Road between Glenora Road at the north end and the Walters Road roundabout at the southern end is a dog most days of the week. Plenty of nears misses with cars, trucks, cyclists and pedestrians as motorists treat the area as a de-facto expressway compounded by Aucklanders’ being rather inept at driving most days (the amount of accidents on the roading network yesterday was a testament to that (unless someone suffered a medical condition first)).
Lets take a look at the Southgate area shall we:
Click for full resolution
The yellow circle is the pedestrian entrance for Longford Park. The red circles are all the entrances into the Countdown and Southgate complex with the blue line being the Glenora Road/The Furlong/Great South Road dog leg that disrupts everything and any time.
What you can’t see is the provisions for easy pedestrian crossing unless you want to take a risk either at the dog leg end or the Walters Road roundabout end. So essentially another auto-dependent situation.
Then we get this from Auckland Transport that reinforces again auto-dependency:
But engineers found a crossing further south won’t work because it would obstruct Southgate’s driveways and general traffic flow.
Six driveways – you think that enough or slightly overkill there?
I played around with Google maps this morning and came up with this alternative:
This is more of a total package that would be delivered over the 5-year time frame as Takanini Village and Addison continue to develop. Essentially though this what I was looking at:
- Glenora Station with park and ride, and bus interchange would have been built (area in blue-grey and dark turquoise)
- Glenroa Road has a grade separated crossing allowing access to Porchester Road, Takanini Village and Addison (see overview graphic further down)
- Walters Road crossing closed to vehicles but not pedestrians
- Walters Road roundabout changed to traffic lights
- Two Southgate entrances closed to cars, new traffic light control pedestrian crossing built in the place of the western entrance (orange and grey box)
- New access-way opened up between Southgate and Countdown complexes
- Yellow star = restricted entrance/exit that serves only south bound traffic. Any north bound traffic will have to use the white star entrances which stay as is currently
- Great South Road to be one general lane each way apart from intersections and one bus lane each way.
From an overview perspective on the changes to the area:
There has been an option floated round to close the Walters Road level crossing entirely to cars and make it pedestrian only. Providing Glenora Road Station and the grade separated crossing there is built I will have no issues using that new crossing compared to the dog’s breakfast that is Walters Road at the moment. Closing Walters Road (the red star) eliminates for another expensive grade separated road crossing while diverting traffic to the wider Glenora Road area.
The yellow lines are the existing routes that would remain to travel through the area with the black lines being proposed roads (and are actually proposed on Council planning maps). Just a note about the new Takanini Village that is open, its main entrance is not on Walters Road but in fact Arion Road that connects to both Walters Road and the Glenora Road extension when its built. Furthermore a second main entrance at Takanini Village I believe is planned once Stage Two is complete. Stage Two being the community and library facilities as well as Glenora Road Station which the developer is willing to build (as soon as AT stop jerking him around with Walters Road).
One thing about closing Walters Road cross and diverting traffic is that the Glenora Road-Walters Road Roundabout stretch of the Great South Road should see a decrease from thoroughfare traffic from eastern side of the rail lines. Traffic wanting to go north or to the motorway via Takanini Interchange would use the new Glenora Road access point while traffic needing to access Papakura would go down Porchester Road and then through Subway road near the bottom end.
Decreasing the amount of thoroughfare traffic would make crossing that section of the Great South Road easier for pedestrians while also improving efficiency of traffic flows in the area. Win-Win! And the businesses do not lose out either as car access is still there, pedestrian access improves while train and bus access improve dramatically. So actually its a win-win-win!
All we need now is the Papakura Local Board and Auckland Transport to have some vision and some nous and get this all going ASAP!