‘Overwhelming feedback’ to urgently stop Onehunga’s safer street trial: Local board member

“Overwhelmingly negative feedback” on a trial to turn rat runs into makeshift cul-de-sac’s in an Auckland suburb is prompting some local community board members to demand it be stopped immediately.

It comes as Onehunga residents expressed shocked over seeing large plywood planter boxes blocking access to through-roads such as Arthur St as part of a 6-8 week trial looking at how the streets could be made safer and cutting down people’s car-dependency,

But the pilot has backfired with people complaining attempts to block off some through roads is making their trips to childcare centres or work far longer. However, not everyone is against the move to redirect traffic from the usually congested streets.

Maungakiekie-Tāmaki Local Board member Debbie Burrows posted on a local Facebook page that feedback on the low traffic neighbourhood trial in Onehunga was “overwhelmingly in opposition” and she and at least two other board members, Don Allan and Anthony Woodcock, had called for an immediate stop to the pilot.

“We have business owners experiencing a decrease of 4 per cent in their turnover. We have other businesses impacted by increased traffic on Nielsen St, these are economic impacts that are huge on the back of Covid. Calling an end to the pilot is not calling an end to feedback,” she posted.

Burrows and her two fellow Maungakiekie C&R Team members had been told the local board would be provided with more information from Auckland Transport and Waka Kotahi NZTA so it could make a decision about the future of the pilot on Tuesday. The information to be provided included whether the board would have to return some of the funding if it pulled the trial early.

However, not all board members were against the trial.

Maungakiekie-Tāmaki Local Board member Peter McGlashan told RNZ earlier this week the trial was about encouraging people to try those short trips another way.

“We’ve spoken to dozens of parents who drive 600 metres every morning to drop their kids off. And now this intersection is safe, they’ve said, ‘actually my 6-year-old and 10-year-old are walking to school themselves now’.

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