Traffic Lights for Southbrook?

The possibility of traffic lights in Southbrook has, as I predicted in an earlier blog posting, got passions raised.

First of all, some related, but not necessarily connected, points.

  • When or if the traffic lights come, they may not be the first traffic lights in the District.  The NZ Transport Agency is considering putting lights on the Lineside Road/Smith Street bridge over the Motorway because of the bad accident record there.
  • Southbrook Road is easily the busiest road in Rangiora/Southbrook – about 17 000 vehicles a day.  Getting on to this road is considerably more difficult than, say, getting out of The Warehouse carpark.
  • The customers, and carpark-users, of the Pak’n Save will be ratepayers and residents, just like you and me.

People have long suggested a round-about for that corner.  Question: if you were on Flaxton Road trying to enter the roundabout at 5.00pm, would that be easy?  Roundabouts work best when there are reasonably even flows of traffic from all directions.  I often look at the one at High/King Streets – it works well for that reason.

The Southbrook and Rangiora New Life Schools and people trying to get out of Coronation and Torlesse Streets will probably appreciate the breaks in the traffic caused by the lights.

On the other hand, I will join those not appreciating being held up by the new lights! – especially when leaving the town when there is never any hold-up now, except at the railway crossing.

As regards the process and the alleged lack of consultation, it needs to be remembered that the supermarket was applying for a Resource Consent under the Resource Management Act.  The hearing was conducted by a commissioner appointed by the Council and that commissioner would have heard expert opinion from traffic engineers plus evidence from other submitters before making the decision. The only access the person-in-the-street has to that process that  is to make a submission.

In other words, it wasn’t a “yes we want it” or “no we don’t” process. It was a formal judicial process conducted under strict rules.  Someone could, for instance, have organised a petition and presented it as evidence, but the commissioner would have been weighing up the strength and validity of the arguments, not counting numbers.

Now that the commisioner has made a decision, the decision is now “owned” by the Council. The only way that the consent can be defeated or changed is by appeal to the Environment Court – and you can usually only do that if you were an original submitter.

 

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