31 July 2017
Safety improvements on Hamilton’s busy Cambridge Rd are all about the kids says East Ward Councillor James Casson.
The most noticeable improvement will be narrowing the roadway at the school crossing point near the Cambridge Dr/Cobham Dr roundabout. Other safety work includes upgrading some traffic islands, repainting cycle lanes, installing an electronic speed indicator on the downhill approach to Knighton Rd and painting a ‘red zone’ at the pedestrian crossing at the Hillcrest shops.
Councillor Casson says the school crossing work is vital, adding it’s actually drivers trying to be courteous who are creating the danger for children.
“As drivers approach the Cobham Dr roundabout they are forming two lanes before the school crossing point although the road is actually a single lane. The drivers turning left think they are making things easier for right-turning traffic, but this has created a serious safety issue,” Mr Casson says.
“Cars in the queue on the left mean children and drivers on the right of the lane can’t see each other. These drivers don’t realise there are children crossing and are driving straight through, often at speed.”
Council transport engineers saw four close calls in less than an hour at the site after concerns were raised by local residents and school staff.
“Orange markers, known as ‘hit sticks,’ will be used to ensure drivers approach the crossing in a single lane,” Councillor Casson says.
“The change may mean a bit more of a queue in this area at peak times but the safety of the kids and other road users has to come first.”
Hamilton’s rapid growth has seen daily traffic counts on this stretch of road rise from around 11,000 to more than 18,000 in the last six years. The speed limit is 50km/h but many drivers are travelling at higher speeds.
This section of Cambridge Rd has a high residential population and is also close to several schools, notably Hillcrest Primary, with students and other vulnerable pedestrians looking to cross the road. It also has popular shopping areas and is adjacent to student accommodation for Waikato University.
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