A Warkworth-Wellsford bus driver has added her voice to a flurry of complaints about the siting of to new pedestrian crossings in Warkworth.
Heather Moyle, who drives the 998 bus, says the crossings are too close to the roundabout at the bottom of Neville Street, where it intersects with Queen Street and Baxter Street.
She says shortly after the crossings were installed, she had to brake sharply to avoid an elderly gentleman who stepped onto the crossing without warning. This, in turn, forced another vehicle to brake heavily to avoid running into the bus.
Heather says bus drivers have precious little time to spot pedestrians as their eyes are elsewhere when they emerge from the roundabout and straighten up.
“It’s too difficult to negotiate the roundabout then immediately have to deal with the pedestrian crossing. It’s dangerous,” she says.
She says that she has been driving buses for 38 years and has never seen crossings so close to a roundabout. She adds that fellow drivers have voiced the same concern. Her views are underscored by former Tahi Bar owner Ian Marriott, who says he almost hit a pedestrian pushing a wheelchair across one of the crossings while heading to the bar on the corner of Baxter and Neville Streets.
He says pedestrians are especially difficult to spot when they use the crossing and emerge between stationary cars, which are backed up waiting to enter the roundabout.
The crossings have also attracted heated criticism on the Bitch and Moan Warkworth Facebook page.
Some complain it is the stupidest place to put crossings and others noting that if cars have to stop for pedestrians, the roundabout quickly becomes blocked. But still others maintain only a poor driver would fail to be able to negotiate a roundabout followed by a pedestrian crossing.
Warkworth transport planner and pedestrian advocate, Bevan Woodward, also believes the siting of the crossings is acceptable. He says the problem has occurred because Auckland Transport (AT) installed the roundabout without the pedestrian crossings at the outset. Motorists got used to it like that.
“It will soon improve as motorists adjust,” he says.
AT media relations manager Mark Hannan says that the crossings should be at least five metres from the roundabout. This is to allow one car to wait in front of the crossings without interrupting cars circling the roundabout. The crossings comply with this standard.
Mr Hannan says the crossings have been located at the most suitable place for pedestrians. He says it’s a legal requirement for drivers to stop and give way to pedestrians on the crossings and adds that additional pedestrian crossing signs will be installed to give more warning of the presence of the crossings.