Simon’s 3 March column in the Nor’West News

Today’s Nor’West News includes a column I’ve written reflecting on traffic and safety issues in the Langdons Road area, which is soon to be impacted by the opening of the Kmart in the Northlink development. As I say in the column, all members of the public are welcome to raise issues with the Community Board, and we start every meeting with a public forum if you wish to come speak to us – contact details can be found on the Council website.

Simon soap box 3 March 2020

Waipapa/Papanui-Innes Community Board deputy chair Simon Britten writes about the concerns raised over the new Northlink shopping complex.

Kmart’s new Papanui store in Langdons Road will open next month. Development at the site is bringing new shops to Papanui, but also safety concerns.

As curator of Think Papanui I’ve been taking an interest in issues around Langdons Road for a while. I’ve seen a positive reaction to the Northlink development, especially the pending arrival of Kmart. On the other hand I’ve also heard consistent questions and concerns about traffic, safety, parking, and access.

Construction activity has generated a lot of heavy vehicle movements, and until recently many trades vehicles were parked on the road outside. Heavy construction traffic will ease as work is completed, and it is good to see construction vehicles now using off-street parking, but we’ll see more delivery trucks accessing the site as well as customers. The road is also increasingly used for all-day parking by people working nearby, as well as Papanui High School students.

With visibility restricted by so many cars parked along the increasingly busy road, residents have more difficulty exiting their properties, and it’s harder for traffic to safely navigate intersections with side streets such as Sails and Chapel Streets. A bouquet to Mitre 10 for their new fence at Chapel Street, which improves sightlines as well as nicely matching the old ‘Sanitarium’ fence on their main frontage.

I’ve seen a number of people wondering what might be done to improve the already-busy intersection of Langdons and Greers Roads where turning right in and out can be a challenge.

Good news: I read in the resource consent that the Northlink Centre cannot fully open “until there is a contract let for an intersection upgrade to traffic lights” at Langdons/Greers. This condition however restricts a future third stage at the rear of the development – the intersection will remain as-is when Kmart opens. I’m also not aware of any Council budget tagged for the intersection, nor any obligation on the developer to stump up cash.

What to do? The Waipapa/Papanui-Innes Community Board has already identified our traffic network and community road safety amongst priority areas to focus on in our draft three-year plan. Consultation on the plan closed yesterday and I look forward to working with my Board colleagues to reviewing public input, finalising the plan, and then implementing it through this term.

I’m grateful to residents who have taken the time to contact the Board with concerns – please remember that anyone can raise issues with the Board in writing, and you’re also most welcome to attend a Board meeting and speak in the public forum.

Please let us know your thoughts – contact details can be found on the Council website and at the Papanui Service Centre.

Question for readers

Do you have concerns over traffic, safety, or parking in the Langdons Road area? What changes would you like to see?