Council may scale back raised crossings at dangerous intersection

9:24 pm on 29 December 2019

A plan to install raised pedestrian crossings metres from what is considered Marlborough's second-worst roundabout has hit a bump.

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The council wants to slow down motorists using the Alabama Rd and Weld St intersection in Blenheim. Photo: LDR / Chloe Ranford

Four crossings were pitched for the roads at Blenheim's Alabama Rd and Weld St intersection in a bid to encourage motorists to slow down.

But Marlborough Roads manager Steve Murrin said staff were considering scrapping two 100mm-high crossings set for Alabama Rd after feedback from nearby residents and road users. Two would still be installed on the Weld St legs.

"Weld Street is where the speeding issues seem to be, more than the straight-through traffic on Alabama Road. This [the raised crossings] will definitely slow them down," Murrin said.

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An aerial view of the Alabama Rd and Weld St intersection in Blenheim. Highlighted in red are the sections off the roundabout earmarked for raised pedestrian crossings. Photo: Supplied / Marlborough District Council

The council approved the raised pedestrian crossings for the roundabout at a full council meeting earlier this year, after Murrin floated the idea in a report.

His report said the current roundabout setup allowed motorists to travel through the intersection at high speeds thanks to its wide line of sight, small central island, and limited kerb deflection.

It recommended the current crossings, about 1.5 metres back from Alabama Rd, be raised up 100mm to form pedestrian platforms about the height of speed bumps. This would slow cars down, focus drivers on crossing users and limit crash severity.

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Marlborough Roads manager Steve Murrin says the current design of the roundabout allows motorists to drive through at speed. Photo: LDR / Chloe Ranford

The crossing had residents divided, with some worried about potential noise, but Murrin said he had received few complaints about the proposal.

"One lady from the [Alabama Rd and Weld St] corner came and saw me. She was concerned about the raised humps being on Alabama Rd, and how they may create some noise."

Murrin said changes to the proposal would be taken to the council's assets and services committee for approval early next year.

A detailed design plan still needed to be completed, he said.

In 2018, a council-led review revealed there were 170 crashes involving cyclists in Marlborough between 2008 and 2017.

The two highest crash locations were identified as Blenheim's Maxwell Rd and Seymour St roundabout, with 14 crashes, and the Weld St and Alabama Rd roundabout, two streets over, with nine.

Although the high crash rate was a concern, the main reason the Weld St and Alabama Rd roundabout was selected for the crossings was it was due for "major maintenance", the report said.

Raised pedestrian platforms were expected to lower the speed environment to 30km/h, although the posted speed limit would remain 50km/h on both Alabama Rd and Weld St, the report said.

The report proposed installing raised pedestrian platforms at other roundabouts in Blenheim if the Alabama Rd/Weld St ones were successful.