Auckland Transport is still trying to find the “sweet spot” that will allow the most efficient traffic flows through the main Mt Albert village intersection, and it will be the middle of next week before the fine-tuning gives the best result.
A full fortnight after the ceremony to mark the end of the village upgrade, the council agency is now saying the intersection is finally operating “within acceptable parameters” outside the peak-hour flow. The rush hour cycles are operating efficiently and ongoing adjustments will bring further improvements.
But as every local knows, that certainly doesn’t mean everything is as good as it can be and a review of progress by the middle of this month will still leave room for some extra tinkering.
An AT executive gave a background briefing today to Mt Albert Inc and the Mt Albert Business Association and identified a number of set-backs that had led to understandable frustrations.
But most of those issues have now been dealt with and traffic is flowing more logically through the intersection, he says. However, a review of data in two weeks will allow some final changes and lead to “optimal performance”.
- The flow at the village was important to local traffic, but not the highest priority because other city intersections carry heavier loads and need closer monitoring. However, a volley of complaints and the knowledge that things weren’t going well elevated Mt Albert to “urgent” status and brought closer attention from the operations hub.
- The faults in the vehicle sensors in Mt Albert Rd were corrected this week, ending the east-west short phases through the lights and often causing queues back to Summit Drive.
- Lane markings in Mt Albert Rd are now very clear and traffic that moves straight through to Carrington Rd from the right-hand-turn only lane have no excuse if they are ticketed.
- The north-south flow through New North Rd was found to be “working more efficiently than expected” and extra phase time has been added to the east-west flow along Carrington Rd and Mt Albert Rd.
- The total time to complete the existing five phases, including the 25-second pedestrian phase, is 135 seconds. The full phase runs in rush hour, assuming pedestrians are around, but outside the morning and afternoon peaks may be automatically pulled in by the sensor software if traffic in any direction is light.
- The Avondale-bound peak hour flow in the late afternoon is interrupted by cars illegally parked in the clearway zone between 4pm-6pm, forcing two lanes into one and causing a backlog. From next week, cars parking there will be ticketed and towed.
- New signs will be installed before Richardson Rd, indicating east-bound traffic should turn there rather than Mt Albert Rd if there’s no need to pass through the village
Auckland Transport will evaluate all the traffic data and look for hard information on anecdotal reports that rat-runs have increased in various streets like Woodward Ave since the new system, with all its hiccups, was first opened up for the weekday flow on May 21.
At this stage, the local suggestion – captured in this story on Mt Albert Inc – doesn’t figure in the review.
AT will only say there is no evidence a two-way flow between Carrington Rd and Mt Albert Rd will be “beneficial”, but they are yet to explain why shifting double the flow in the same time span is anything but beneficial.