Dynamic lane brings benefits and problems
Posted at 4:47pm Tuesday 03 Sep, 2019
While Auckland Transport is trumpeting the success of its dynamic lane for commuters, it was always going to be problematic for those living on that stretch of road.
The system has operated on Whangaparaoa Road, between Hibiscus Coast Highway and Red Beach Road, since the end of January last year. It allows lanes to be adjusted to improve traffic flow in the morning and afternoon peak.
There is no doubt it achieved that aim – recent figures released by Auckland Transport (AT) show there is less congestion, 2-6 minute travel time savings for commuters and the lanes allow 58 percent more people to pass through the route in a set period of time. AT also calculates that the lanes will save 267,200 litres of fuel per year, as well as 845 tons of CO2 emissions.
Although Faruk and Zabina Ismail understand these benefits, the lanes have made turning into their Whangaparaoa Road property a daily trial that includes being abused and tooted at by drivers behind them.
The couple is also concerned at the speeds and the number of near head-on crashes in the morning peak, including one as a truck tried to turn across the flow of traffic.
Their property is around 50m from John Dee Crescent, on the opposite side, and Faruk says they have asked AT to put in merging lane markings to assist people turning right into John Dee Crescent. He says there are many times when drivers merge too soon, almost crashing into vehicles trying to turn into the Ismails' property.
In addition, a green control box makes it hard for people exiting the Ismails' property to see vehicles coming from the right, and Zabina says crossing the lanes with a walking school bus heading to Red Beach school is hazardous. “It goes like a motorway,” she says.
“We understand we live on a busy road, but people go 60 or 70kph, not 50kph along here,” Faruk says. “No one is controlling the speed and drivers are ignoring it.
One of AT's engineers came to see us and said everything is fine,” he says.
AT spokesperson Mark Hannan says marking a merging lane “may confuse motorists in the morning peak”. He says the shape/contour of the berm adjacent to the gantry location means there is no other place to locate the controller cabinet.
At last month's Hibiscus & Bays Local Board meeting, member Caitlin Watson noted the improvements that the dynamic lane has brought to traffic flow, while also asking when the pedestrian improvements that were promised to be added if the lanes became permanent, were likely to be installed.
AT will report back to the local board on this.