Recap: The Christchurch City Council gave in-principle approval for traffic lights at a Harewood Road intersection on Thursday. Earlier in 2019 Council staff consulted on safety improvements for the Harewood/Gardiners/Breens intersection, seeking feedback on two options. The response from the community was clear, with 77% of 1,085 submissions preferring traffic lights to either the alternative left-in/left-out proposal, or the status quo. The community’s feedback and this week’s Council’s decision prioritises connectivity for the community, with an independent safety assessment finding lights to be less safe than both the alternative option and also the current configuration.
Opinion: Less than 2 months out from the election, a Christchurch Community Board has disregarded expert advice on safety, instead recommending traffic signals for the intersection of Harewood, Gardiners, and Breens Roads. This decision appears to have popular support from local residents, but if implemented will increase the expected number of injury crashes at the intersection, increase the likelihood of serious injury outcomes, and there is a high probability of increased traffic volumes*.
*refer to the independent Safety Assessment included in the agenda for the Board’s meeting
Opinion: Years of campaigning for traffic lights at the Harewood/Gardiners/Breens intersection might be about to pay off for Harewood Councillor Aaron Keown. The Christchurch City Council is currently consulting on options to improve safety at the intersection. Will a focus on this one intersection however deliver the best result for residents?
I was interested to read former Mayor Garry Moore’s recent editorial on the Council’s Annual Planning process. Garry sees many projects and issues pitched to Council during the budgeting exercise, but bemoans a lack of big-picture thinking about Council’s overall priorities and trade-offs to balance the budget and constrain rates rises. Likewise, I’m concerned that a single-minded focus on the Harewood/Gardiners/Breens intersection in isolation might not serve the community well.