Kapi-Mana News : October 18th 2011
6 KAPI-MANA NEWS, OCTOBER 18, 2011 NEWS paknsave.co.nz Terms and conditions apply. Produce Market Day! THIS FRIDAY 21 OCTOBER 2011 - 8AM UNTIL LATE Drivers need to take note By KAROLINE TUCKEY Truck stop: Whitby residents Vicki Truyens and son Michael, 16, say Grays Rd is dangerous enough without large trucks and are asking drivers to report any seen driving dangerously on it to the police Community Roadwatch service. A Whitby mother has started a campaign against the truck drivers who ignore council advis- ory signage that Grays Rd is not suitable for long vehicles, and wants the public to take a stand by reporting them. Vicki Truyens says she travels the road most weeks, and has noticed an increase in long truck and trailer units using the windy back road around Pauatahanui Inlet, which is signposted as Not suitable for long vehicles''. Grays Rd is known as a danger- ous road, and trucks add to the risk, she says. There's got to be places where they go over the median strip. There's quite a few narrow bends and small bridges . . . the concrete bollard [at the last corner before State Highway 1] is so damaged you can tell the trucks are cutting in there.'' She sympathises with truck drivers who are under pressure to get to their destinations as quickly as possible, and might save time and distance by avoiding the Mana traffic lights, but says taking an unsafe shortcut is not acceptable. Ms Truyens would like other road users to note the number plates of any truck and trailer units on the road and report them to their companies, and to report any seen crossing the median line or driving unsafely to the police Community Roadwatch service. I wouldn't like to see it becom- ing an accepted thing. If it's a common occurrence and people don't speak up about it, then it's not going to change.'' The road is administered by Porirua City Council. Asset and operations manager Peter Bailey says the sign is a council advisory, purely based on safety concerns, but not legally enforceable. Once a truck has paid road user charges and is licensed, it's entitled to drive on any New Zealand roads,'' Mr Bailey says. For council to pass a bylaw to prevent trucks using Grays Rd we found goes totally against that principal, and there would be quite a big fight against that, partly because of the principle, and because once one council does it, you'd have the same thing around the country.'' The council gets complaints from time-to-time'' about trucks using the road, and Mr Bailey says they are aware many residents aren't happy. The problem was investigated by staff in 2004, he says, however the council concluded it had little room to act, and the decision of whether to use the road remains with truck drivers. There's a reasonable number [of trucks using Grays Rd],'' Mr Bailey says. Some transport operators would say, Yes, we'll take the community into account', but some are quite hard-nosed about that and it's a very competitive business, trucking, so they are always looking for short routes because they pay by distance and of course the running costs.'' Road Transport Association regional executive Sandy Walker says the trucking industry does fiercely protect the right to use any New Zealand roads, but the association also regularly reminds drivers to avoid roads that aren't suitable. Drivers usually choose their own routes. I would have thought that they would have used the other side because it's a little bit better driv- ing.'' Mr Bailey says the spike in accidents on Grays Rd in the past few years occurred directly after traffic lights were put in at the SH1 end of Grays Rd, making it easier to exit the road and there- fore attracting higher traffic volumes. The council completed an investigation into safety con- cerns last year, and has tempor- arily lowered the speed limit to 60kmh, as well as trialling divider barriers at two points. Further safety measures such as anti-skid resurfacing and straightening of some corners are likely to follow. Mr Bailey says apart from speed limiting measures, the council faces somewhat of a Catch-22 situation; traffic model- ling data indicates the more the road is improved the more traffic will use it, and higher traffic volumes decrease the safety of the narrow road.
October 11th 2011
October 25th 2011