By Bruce Morris
OPINION: As the queues remain and the rat-runs through side streets grow, a solution to the major east-west flow problems at the village lights may be staring us in the face.
One local amateur traffic engineer certainly thinks that, and I’m on his side.
No need to get rid of the cycle lanes at the beginning of Mt Albert Rd and over the railway bridge and introduce two through lanes each direction. Instead, leave it as it is and change the light phases.
The main north-south flow through the village (actually, it’s north-east/south-west) is going OK, even if the clearway zone for the afternoon peak is being ignored, slowing the pace of through traffic as two lanes are forced into one.
But the east-west flow (really, south-east/north west) along Carrington Rd and Mt Albert Rd continues to cause huge headaches, with two lightly-used right-hand-turn lanes and one in-demand through lane in each direction.
The local would-be engineer offers a simple way of doubling the east-west flow each phase sequence:
- Create a joint short phase for right-turn-only traffic from Carrington and Mt Albert roads (at the moment, that phase coincides with the straight-through phase and, often with just one or two cars, the lane quickly clears).
- Introduce a much longer straight-through phase for both directions (also allowing left-hand turns, of course).
The advantages are obvious and there seems to be no downside (awaiting Auckland Transport advice on that). Rather than a dozen or so cars, say, getting through from each direction in separate phases, a new, single straight-through phase from both sides would effectively double the flow – at no extra cost in overall time.
Twenty or 30 vehicles from each direction on the one phase – what’s there not to like about that? It may not always end the queues but it would halve the waiting time.
It seems so logical (with the addition of two right-hand-turn arrows) that it’s difficult to understand why AT didn’t take that option to start with. Is there something my private consultant and I are missing?
Like many good plans, this one has an added bonus: it would make things so much harder for the thoughtless and dangerous drivers who beat the queue by taking the right-hand lane and then illegally go straight ahead.
AT may have a compelling reason why it wouldn’t work, but on the surface it does seem a very simple way of doubling the east-west flow and making the intersection safer.