The Swanson Road/Universal Drive/Don Buck Road roundabout is infamous in the area for being dangerous for drivers (Google maps link to location). We previously discussed this in 2013 on this blog and it is also one of the notoriously unsafe roundabouts featured by Greater Auckland on their site here. A pedestrian island (or refuge!) is provided for pedestrians to cross Don Buck Road between the roundabout and Glen Road here. However, when the traffic is flowing, it is very difficult for people to get across. Those of us who need to cross the road during peak hours pray for gridlock so that we can safely get across. Young children often wait for long periods before someone will slow down enough for them to get safely across.
There are a number of schools in the immediate area (Birdwood Primary School, Ranui Primary School, Waitakere College). Massey High School students catch buses from this location so need to cross the road to the bus stops. Other people catching buses or the train also need to cross this road. There are also two businesses located here; a dairy (Lower Don Buck Road) and a takeaway business (Smith and Wong’s). Both rely on local customers, many of whom arrive on foot.
We have approached Auckland Transport in regard to getting a pedestrian crossing here and had a negative response so decided to ask the Henderson-Massey Local Board if they would consider working with Auckland Transport to see if it was possible to build a pedestrian crossing. This proposal was taken to the HMLB meeting on19 September 2017. At the same meeting, it was announced that a pedestrian crossing would be built on Rathgar Road to enable pedestrians to cross safely to the takeaway/dairy on that street.
We want to point out that it is not the fault of car drivers that it is difficult for pedestrians to cross Don Buck Road. In the morning, the main traffic is from cars coming down the Don Buck Road hill and drivers are often unaware of pedestrians waiting to cross to the pedestrian island until they get too close and then it is too late for them to slow down as the driver following them may not slow in time, thus resulting in a crash.
Our preferred option is to convert the current island to a formal pedestrian crossing with appropriate signage and lighting. However, in the meantime, we have put a request in to Auckland Transport that they install signage to let drivers know that a pedestrian island is coming up and that they should slow down, .e.g. “Slow down, people crossing”. We hope this request will be successful and that we will see such signage installed soon since this is a low cost option. Of course we still hope for a safer solution to be at least considered, i.e. a full pedestrian crossing, which we don’t think has really happened yet. We have heard back from Auckland Transport that they are investigating this issue and will get back to us with some news in May! Watch this space for updates and in the meantime, please give us your views on this topic by participating in our poll!