By John Subritzky
There have been mixed reviews about the new roundabout on Hillsborough Road, but most people seem happy that the safety at the intersection of Commodore Drive and Griffen Park Road, has been improved. Access for Lynfield residents has also improved significantly.
Kathy Neilson said, “The roundabout has made the area much easier and safer for Lynfield residents and by being able to go straight across Hillsborough Road we are not adding to the Hillsborough Road traffic like we were.”
There have been many complaints about the design, the finish, traffic, and the construction period, which demonstrates that there is always a range of views and opinions on roading projects. The key point is that this has always been a dangerous, sometimes deadly, intersection. It was always going to be challenging finding a solution, given that it is located at the bottom of a steep hill. Roundabouts are favoured from a safety viewpoint as most vehicles will enter them at a reduced speed, making any crash less deadly.
Although some people have said that traffic has been slowed done by the roundabout, there was no evidence of this at 7.30am or 8.30am when Beacon Community News checked. Traffic was still being held up more by the lights at the gate of Lynfield College, which seem to favour school traffic over arterial traffic, leading to a long tailback. Evening traffic has always been slow, usually from Blockhouse Bay to Countdown, and often further back.
Julie Fairey, Puketāpapa Local Board Chair stated that “For me this issue was first raised I think in about 2014, and David Holm on the local board took an interest in getting AT [Auckland Transport] to look at it. We went from AT saying they weren't convinced there was a problem, to AT agreeing there was a problem but it just needed a small fix (minor changes to the traffic island on the Griffen Park Rd side and some hit sticks), to AT accepting there was still a problem, to AT saying it was too big a problem for them to fix in the next few years, to AT identifying that it was a problem they could fix in the next few years, to a very slow drawn our process of consulting on the fix and then implementing it (partly but by no means entirely due to Covid). It's been a long and winding road, some might say.”
Auckland Transport responded to questions about the terrible placement of a light pole at the pedestrian crossing on Commodore Drive: “AT has instituted a design review process (in regard to the Light pole Error) which looks at all AT designs at various stages to ensure there are no glaring issues and that compliance with the standards is enforced or that departures are agreed.”
Possibly a ‘review’ may fix a common-sense error that became an embarrassment for AT. It was politicised in April by then mayoral candidate, Leo Malloy, who commented, “More Auckland Transport insanity, this time from Lynfield. While redoing the long-awaited upgrades to the footpaths on Hillsborough Road, they installed a lamp post in the middle of the footpath only to remove it two days later! No wonder they’ve run out of money.”
Weekday traffic at 7.30am at the new roundabout. Photo: Beacon