Plans for footpaths
Regarding the article about footpaths in Warkworth (MM Feb 27), we need to make it clear who is responsible for what. The request to remove the trees went to the Auckland Council system under Community Facilities and did not get passed to Auckland Transport. This is correct under the allocation of tree maintenance responsibilities between Council and AT.
According to the service level agreement with Council for tree maintenance, Council is responsible for maintenance, renewal, upgrade and funding of street trees. Footpaths are the responsibility of AT. Trees take preference and AT is obliged to come up with solutions, with assistance from Council arborists, to remedy footpath repairs and renewals that may have negative impact on trees within the drip line. Last resort is the removal of any trees.
With regards to moving forward, the next steps are:
ANZ Bank, Queen Street: A survey is being carried out to locate services and to give an understanding of the size and location of the root system of the two trees. AC arborists would prefer to leave the trees in place as they are significant, healthy specimens. The preferred method of remediation, which would require minor root pruning, root bridging and root guard of the trees, would be to replace the cobbles with 100mm exposed concrete. This would alleviate the need for a resource consent. If the above progresses smoothly, our sub-contractors can commence the works at the beginning of March, 2019.
New World, Percy Street: It was agreed with the AC arborist on February 8 that the six trees on Percy Street are not in a healthy condition and need to be removed. This will require a resource consent, which the AC arborist will lodge. It is expected that the consent will take a minimum of three months and will probably require public notification, which may extend the timeframe. In the meantime, the preferred option for a temporary remedial is to remove approx. 3 square metres of cobbles around each of the trees, remove the uplifted metal grates and replace with concrete and mulch around the base of the trees. This work has already started.
Warkworth CBD Audit: An audit has been done of the main areas of Warkworth town centre, including Queen, Percy, Baxter, Neville, Elizabeth Street and Mill Streets and identified issues. The audit has been sent to Downers for repairs, mainly minor grinding or filling of trip lips. One area on Elizabeth Street has the same issues as Percy and Queen Street, where the tree pit has raised. This will be added to the list of works required.
Mark Hannan, AT Media Relations Manager
Auckland Transport has installed a new crossing point on Mahurangi East Road for reasons known only to themselves as they don’t seem to want to reply to my calls asking why they have put it in such a dangerous place.
It can only be assumed they have decided to put in a new bus stop and that the crossing point is so people can supposedly safely cross the road. But sadly they have made a shocker of a decision on where to place this crossing point. Certainly the planner who decided to get this put in has no consideration whatsoever for how dangerous they have now made this part of the road for cyclists. This is one of the narrowest points in the road and with a new crossing point goes a traffic island stuck right in the middle of the road and new road markings that narrow the road down even further, to the point it is impossible for cars and bikes to pass by at the same time. And certainly it is completely unsafe and totally impossible for a truck or bus to pass a bike at these points. To add insult to injury for cyclists, the previous little bit of protection they had with a white line a bit of a distance out from the curb making almost a cycle lane on parts of the road near where the new crossing point has been installed, has also been taken away!
Already down this stretch of Mahurangi East Rd there are several of these supposed crossing points with their traffic islands, including one already installed less than 50 metres from the new installation, and which is at a wider point in the road. This part of Mahurangi East Rd is already quite dangerous for cyclists with not enough room for cars and bikes considering how fast the traffic flows, particularly at rush hour times, and how much traffic it takes.
I ride my bike every day down this road and I regularly have trouble with cars passing me extremely closely going passed these crossing points. In fact I have previously had to call bus and trucking companies whose vehicles have almost knocked me off my bike by not waiting until I have passed these crossing pints before attempting to pass me. Cars do the same but I have had less ability to call their owners to ask them to respect the rights of cyclists to use the same stretch of road safely.
Auckland Transport cannot have taken into consideration how narrow this part of the road is before installing the crossing point here. It is super dangerous for cyclists. AND they have installed the crossing point at a part of the road where in fact the footpath runs out, so I doubt completely it’s usefulness? This part of the road is so dangerous for cyclists that in fact when I pass by here every day, I have taken to riding on the footpath. I know that is illegal, but frankly it is the only safe option for me. And I do make sure I ride safely for the very few occasions I encounter any pedestrians on this part of the footpath. I normally am able to access the footpath a bit further up from the new crossing point but certainly can’t do so where they have installed this one seeing there is no footpath there at all!
It is sad that Auckland Transport have chosen not to respond to my requests for a suitable explanation or to telling me how they will make it safer for cyclists. They could at least acknowledge that they have had a complaint and give some explanation for the “knucklehead“ decision they have made in installing this dangerous crossing point.
Neil Anderson, Algies Bay
AT responds: The road has been narrowed to slow traffic to make it safe for pedestrians to cross. In this situation, the motorist needs to slow and let the bike rider go first and pass the bike when it is safe to do so.
One side of the Matheson Bay carpark is closed for a period (Feb/Mar) for resealing. No one wants to stand in the way of road maintenance, but why for goodness sake is it being done in the height of summer? The type of work being done could just as easily be done over winter and thereby interfere with far fewer people. Thoughtless planning!
Phil Heron, Matheson Bay
An Auckland Council spokesperson responds: Due to the significant number of assets maintained and renewed for the amenity of Aucklanders and visitors across the region by the Council’s Community Facilities department, this work takes place across the seasons, in a variety of weather conditions. While we appreciate the inconvenience that this work can sometimes cause, we hope that this is offset by the delivery of facilities that meet the needs of beachgoers.
Auckland Transport adds: In general terms, sealing can’t be done in the winter because of the cold and wet; it needs to be done in the warm weather.