Orewa crossings making Coast residents cross

Orewa’s expensive and state of the art new pedestrian crossings were described as “underwhelming” and even “potentially dangerous” by local board members at a recent meeting.

Another issue raised is placement, with no crossing direct from the end of Moenui Ave across the highway to the beach.

Although the four crossings on Orewa Boulevard were still being constructed at the time (work is expected to be complete this week), drivers have also been voicing their concerns to Hibiscus Matters about not being able to see the crossings, which are delineated using grey pavers instead of painted white lines. The work cost nearly $400,000 and Auckland Transport (AT) said the crossings were designed not only to improve safety but also to be “sympathetic to the boulevard concept”.

AT spokesperson Mark Hannan says the granite pavers provide longevity and need less maintenance. He says using them cost “only a couple of dollars more than paint” – at less than $10,000 for each intersection.

He says that although the pavers are common in NZ, Orewa may be the first place where they have been used for a zebra crossing.

Local board member Mike Williamson said at last month’s local board meeting that although the crossings are brand new, drivers can’t see them until they are right on top of them, which is unsafe.

However, Mr Hannan points out that the boulevard is a 30kph zone and says the pedestrian bars on the zebra crossing are to guide pedestrians predominantly and not act as a primary form of delineation for approaching vehicles.

“The main warning for approaching vehicles (highlighting a zebra crossing) are the black and white poles, signs, Bulesha disks and lighting at night,” he says. All of these were still to be installed when the paper went to print.

“We are improving this area and giving significant priority to pedestrians,” Mr Hannan says. “We are also going as far as to remove parking to address better visibility for pedestrians stepping onto the
crossing, doubling the lighting and increasing tactile facilities to accommodate a very wide footpath for all pedestrians.”

Mr Hannan says once the crossings are complete, AT is going to keep a watch on how they operate to see whether any extra marking is needed.