Hanmer Springs Pedestrian Crossings

At its meeting on 3 February, the Hanmer Springs Community Board was able to consider the report prepared by Council officers on options for improving the safety of the current crossings.

The Board is mindful that there are several hundred thousand pedestrian movements across our village streets each year, a number which, if anything, will continue to grow. With this in mind, the Board is keen to develop the “pedestrian-friendly” environment of the village. In addition to the report, the Board has also received other correspondence providing comments and suggestions and Board members have canvassed opinions widely.

The report considered by the Community Board highlighted the crucial issue as being to minimise or eliminate the possibility for confusion on the part of both pedestrians and motorists and to ensure that as they approach the crossings, neither motorists nor pedestrians are likely to be taken by surprise in any way. While zebra crossings are one obvious possibility that has been raised, the layout of the village streets means few, if any, crossings would meet legal requirements. In addition, information was presented showing that zebra crossings do not necessarily achieve the anticipated safety benefits for pedestrians and can, in fact, “increase risk to pedestrians”. (Guidelines for Selection of Pedestrian Facilities). The Board has also taken a view that as far as is possible, all pedestrian facilities should be consistent and that this will assist motorists and pedestrians alike.

The Board have asked Council officers to provide cost estimates for a number of strategies including: extending the existing footpath extensions so that the roadway to cross is reduced, ensuring the approaches to crossings are not obscured by parked vehicles, installing additional bollards, upgrading the written warning notices and signs for pedestrians, installing a notice at the village entrance highlighting the pedestrian presence and the installation of an electronic “Your speed is ... kmh” sign.

Through this range of steps, we anticipate that both drivers and pedestrians will be more aware of each other and that any possibility for confusion will be minimised. A final decision on actions to be taken will be made once the costing information is to hand which is hoped to be at the next meeting on 24 February.

Anyone wishing to make further comments to the Board should feel free to do so either in writing or by approaching any member of the Board.