Why the Mana Clearways need to go

There is no doubt that the existence of the Mana clearways is a major contributor to the unacceptable number of crashes and other incidents on this stretch of highway. Even with the expected fall in traffic volumes when Transmission Gully opens, this is unlikely to change if the clearways remain open. The remaining heavy vehicles will still have to change lanes twice and cars and vans will continue to weave in and out of the kerbside lanes when they encounter a legally parked vehicle, probably at even greater speeds than at present. The safety issues for pedestrians, cyclists, mobility scooters and road users in general will continue, along with the insidious effects of noise, vibration, and fumes. Parking will remain unsafe and hostility between road users will continue.

 

The dangers associated with the clearways have always been known but never acknowledged by the authorities, except back in 2006 when the operation of the road was first reviewed. The review report prepared by Transit NZ and SKM recommended that parking on Mana Esplanade should be removed altogether because “the potential safety hazard this represents is high compared to the benefit of having the extra parking capacity”. That report was rejected on the basis that PCC, GWRC and residents had not been consulted and the recommendation was shelved because “the Environment Court decision clearly did not envisage the road becoming a four-lane highway”. In practice, however, that is what has happened, and the expected safety hazards have been a reality ever since.

 

The Paremata Residents Association has had real difficulties in obtaining recent data from Waka Kotahi to enable analysis of the existing safety hazard, even though Waka Kotahi holds the information in its Crash Analysis System. Based on the limited information released to us and our knowledge of unreported crashes over the last 16 years, however, we believe there have probably been about 500 - 600 crashes over the last 5 years between the Paremata and Plimmerton roundabouts. And the 3 major factors identified (“poor observation”, “failure to give way or stop”, and “incorrect lanes or position”) would suggest that the existence of the clearways was most likely a major contributor to those crashes.

 

Even more telling are figures obtained under the Official Information Act of incidents reported to Police’s Communication Centres. During the almost six years from 1 January 2015 to 30 November 2020 there were approx. 1,200 incidents coded as traffic-related events between Acheron Road and the Paremata roundabout. Particularly prominent were complaints of vehicles weaving in and out of lanes, cutting off other vehicles, tailgating, running red lights and speeding. At least 31 of the reported vehicle collisions involved trucks while there were also another 85 incidents involving trucks where no actual collision occurred (many were trucks cutting off other vehicles or forcing them off the road when changing lanes). Significant numbers of incidents involved parked vehicles and the loss of side mirrors was common. Road rage was also apparent in many incidents.

 

Of course, the incidents recorded were only those from people who were sufficiently upset, prepared and competent to report them, and represent just a tiny fraction of the actual incidents that occurred during that period.

 

Based on the data available for analysis, it would be irresponsible for a government agency like Waka Kotahi (whose predecessors made a commitment to the local community to remove the clearways in conjunction with the opening of Transmission Gully) or a local authority like PCC (which is supposed to be looking after the interests of its communities) to allow such a situation to continue once Transmission Gully opens.

 

Paremata Residents Association – 25 March 2022

Complaint to the Ombudsman on Mana Clearways

The Paremata Residents Association has lodged a complaint with the Ombudsman about the conduct of Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency over its decision not to honour the commitment to close the "interim" clearways with the opening of Transmission Gully Motorway. The commitment was made to the community when the Environment Court was considering the Transport Agency's application for the Mana Clearways. The Association also believes the way the clearways have operated is a health and safety hazard and not in accordance with the Environment Court's conditions.

A copy of the complaint to the Ombudsman can be obtained below

Our Case for Closing the Clearways (at least on a trial basis) when Transmission Gully Motorway Opens

The Paremata Residents Association has prepared a detailed case explaining why the clearways on Mana Esplanade should be closed (at least on a trial basis) when Transmission Gully Motorway (TGM) eventually opens. There are many reasons why the clearways should close permanently but we recognise that Waka Kotaki (the NZ Transport Agency) want 6 months to monitor how TGM affects traffic on the Esplanade. Our concern is that if the clearways remain during that 6 months, there will be insufficient incentive to use TGM and too much traffic will continue to use the "old" road. That goes against the reason why TGM has been built at great expense and will result in inaccurate information for the future planning of Mana Esplanade, St Andrews Road and Pukerua Bay.

It is all explained in the detailed case, which is available from the file below. It is quite long, but so has been the 16 years of clearways.

In November 2021 the Association asked residents living along Mana Esplanade and adjacent areas for feedback on how the clearways has affected them peronally. The feedback received has been collated without names, addresses and some personal detail to protect their privacy. The feedback file is also available below and it clearly shows the impact the clearways are having on the health, safety and lives of our residents. And that does not include the impact on pedestrians, cyclists, mobility scooters, motorists and truck drivers. All this on a state highway through a residential area that Waka Kotahi says is "safe". Read the feedback for yourself and see if you agree.

Mana Clearways - Changed Clearway Hours from 6 April

Following consultation with stakeholders (including the Paremata Residents Association), the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) has decided to change the clearway hours on Mana Esplanade, to better reflect changes in peak traffic and reduce the congestion occurring on weekends and before public holidays. The new clearway hours are planned to commence on 6 April.

The changes in clearway hours include suggestions put forward by your Association to improve consistency. NZTA will commence public notification of the changes by print, radio and on-line in the week of 9 March.

A copy of the notification leaflet for residents and motorists is available in PDF format below. 

 
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