Twenty-year battle for safe access

Patricia Blake has been battling bureaucracy to get a pavement built outside her Whangaparaoa property for 20 years.

Patricia Blake has lived in her Whangaparaoa Road property for 23 years, and for most of that time she has been battling the former Rodney District Council and Auckland Transport, trying to get changes to the roadside so that she, and her neighbours, can safely enter and exit their driveways, whether on foot or in a vehicle.

The key concerns for houses on this part of the road, roughly opposite D’Oyly Drive, are the lack of a pavement so that residents can walk safely to the nearest bus stop, and a sloping berm that obscures the view of oncoming traffic.

The driveways to these houses are on a slope that ends at the road – there is no flat space at the bottom, so even putting out the rubbish is problematic. Recently Patricia’s bin tipped its contents over the road.

Walking to the bus stop located on Patricia’s side of the road involves crossing busy Whangaparaoa Road to the pavement on the other side, then crossing back.

The 77-year-old has had two knee replacements and has osteoporosis of the spine, so admits she “can’t really run” across the road – or get up, if she falls over.

She says although to her knowledge no one has been hit by a car on this part of the road, she has seen several near misses. “People take their life in their hands crossing here,” she says. “Even nimble ones like school kids.”

She says the former Rodney District Council more or less ignored her concerns. In one letter, a staff member suggested she dig out and reconfigure the berm herself if she wanted better visibility.

Patricia seems to be getting no further with Auckland Transport (AT), since the Councils amalgamated. AT clearly told her in recent correspondence that although it “supports walking to make Auckland one of the world’s most liveable cities”, her problems score low against their set criteria for pavement construction and improving safety.

The criteria prioritise areas that are: near busy roads, connect to local facilities such as schools, transport hubs and town centres, or complete missing links with other paths.

“I fail to see why living on Whangaparaoa Road, with a bus stop just up the road and Stanmore Bay School not far away, I can’t get some action,” Patricia says. “The path could be joined up from alongside Peninsula Club to these properties.”

In response to questions from Hibiscus Matters, AT spokesperson Mark Hannan says AT will have a look at the visibility concerns raised and see if there is anything it can do.

Hibiscus & Bays Local Board chair Julia Parfitt has also asked that the issue be investigated further.
“Twenty years is a long time to wait,” Patricia says. “I would really like some action.”

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