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Unfinished safe-streets project quietly abandoned

Flagstaff Team

Auckland Transport (AT) has put the final stage of Takapuna Safe Streets on hold, leaving pedestrian crossings near Takapuna Primary School and the $2.8 million Patuone walkway unbuilt.
The project began with much fanfare from AT three years ago as a new collaborative model of working with key “stakeholders”.
Representatives from the school, residents and business associations and the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board gave input before and after the project went out for public consultation.
Completed work includes implementation of a 30km/h speed limit in the town centre in March last year, among other safety measures.
A series of crossings, some raised, were planned for Anzac St to make it easier for pedestrians, including young school children, to cross the busy road. The tricky intersection of Killarney St with Hurstmere Rd was also in for an upgrade.
Designs were also done last year for pedestrian crossings on Auburn St just south of Como St to allow safer access to and from Auburn Reserve and adjacent parking. The reserve is home to community groups including a playcentre, croquet club, and Guides hall.
It is also the starting point for the walkway and cycling boardwalk across to Barrys Pt and Esmonde roads.
But progressing all this work was quietly put on ice by AT in mid-2023.
Some stakeholders say they developed an inkling something was up as the year progressed.
The local board called for an official update last week.
When the Observer asked AT what the status of the project was, a spokesperson said: “There’s not too much that the team can say at this stage, as they work through the change in government policy statement and reprioritisation of budgets.”
In fact, government draft transport directives and comments from Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown to pull back on raised crossings came after the work was frozen.
The spokesperson said the project was effectively “on hold from July 2023, when budget cuts left it unfunded”.
Consultation to date had cost around $28,000, which included letter-box communication, consultation-website creation, video shoots, advertising and work by internal staff.
Takapuna Beach Business Association chair Terence Harpur said he was keen to see some of the pedestrian safety elements of the project completed.
Reviewing measures such as the need for A-plus, gold-standard raised crossings made sense, if the BB-plus standard would do as well and cost much less.

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