If panel beaters ever have doubts about their future prospects, they should wander down to the intersection of Asquith Ave and New North Rd. Their eyes would surely light up.
It’s difficult to think of another Mt Albert junction that offers anywhere near the menace of this collision corner.
Auckland Transport banned right-hand turns into Asquith Ave to west-bound New North Rd traffic years ago, and then re-shaped the entrance to the Asquith rat-run to slow down city-bound traffic.
But the increased flow over the last two or three years means it’s time for another look.
The compulsory stop is ignored as much as any these days, though most of the troubles are caused by the invitation for Asquith Ave traffic to zip out into the narrow central “refuge” lane to join the westerly flow.
Without that refuge, no one would bother using Asquith Ave to trim a couple of minutes off the trip home. You’d be stuck there forever.
But its creation delivered an incentive to have a go, with some of the rat-runners treating the traffic coming down from the village to hone their dodging skills.
Outside peak hours, it’s probably fine, even if there’s always that “is-he-coming-over-or-will-he-wait?” feeling for west-bound New North Rd drivers.
But in the late afternoon peaks, with cars darting out of Asquith Ave in a weaving trail on their way west, zipping through traffic coming down from the village, this is very hazardous territory.
Narrow misses, the occasional side-swipe, parping horns, rude signs, squealing brakes – all part of the daily reality show for prang alley.
And the thing is, it can only get worse as traffic volumes grow by the month. Traffic lights are probably not the answer, unless the phase coming out of Asquith is very short.
Rather, the solution may be to ban right-hand turns into New North Rd from Asquith Ave and probably from Alexis Ave as well. But perhaps just for the Monday-to-Friday 4pm-6pm peak.
The rat-runners will still use Asquith, but it may filter them on to other streets where, away from a sweeping corner, the vision is clearer.
Of course, people living in those streets won’t think much of that idea, and no one would blame them. But a peak hour no-right-turn rule would work on them too.
Long term the answer is probably out of cars and into trains and buses.
But in the meantime nothing is likely to be done until someone is seriously hurt. Or killed. At least the panel beaters stay happy.