The sound of car crashes is all too familiar to residents of a stretch of Whangaparaoa Rd that has become notorious since the New World shopping complex opened, in December 2015-early 2016.
Attempts by Auckland Transport (AT) to improve the situation have had little impact.
Police figures show that between 2009-13 only one crash occurred on Whangaparaoa Rd in the vicinity of Beverley Road and Cedar Terrace, when a motorist lost consciousness. From 2014-2019, with provisional 2020 data, three crashes were reported to police in this area – two involved minor injuries. A pedestrian was hit by a vehicle turning right into Whangaparaoa Rd from the carpark driveway, and cars were rear ended while turning left into the carpark. Police say poor driver judgment was a contributing factor in all three crashes.
Michelle Wratten has lived on Whangaparaoa Rd, just up from Beverley Rd, since December 2015. She says the police statistics do not reveal the full extent of the problem. She says on average there is an incident every 4-6 weeks but most don’t get reported, as they are minor.
“When we first moved in, it used to be a rare occurrence – you’d hear a crash and race outside. It’s a very regular sound now,” she says. “This year there was one in February where we had an ambulance and police on our grass verge for an hour, then lockdown resulted in quiet roads,” Michelle says.
She says there were several more between lockdowns. “I heard the familiar bang of another crash back in July, and there were two close together at the end of July that both closed the road. There have been at least two near misses with school kids in Beverley Road this year.”
Michelle is not alone is asking what can be done to make the road safer, with many locals taking to social media to say that allowing an entrance/exit to the New World complex carpark off Whangaparaoa Rd contributes to a lot of risky driver behaviour.
One driver recently described having to stop his loaded truck as someone turning into the carpark did a three-point turn.
In 2016, after complaints to AT about the Whangaparaoa Rd carpark entrance/exit, the traffic island was cut back and the bus stop moved in an attempt to reduce rear end crashes (HM March 16 and June 15, 2016). The vehicle entry point was also widened.
Since those changes were implemented, vehicles have been seen attempting to turn right into New World car park from Whangaparaoa Rd, around the traffic island, causing traffic to bank up behind them.
More recent complainants to AT have been told that nothing further will happen until Penlink is built.
“We understand Beverley Rd will get traffic signals as part of the Penlink project, which is being handled by the NZ Transport Agency,” a spokesperson says.