Spotlight on worst intersections

Unichem Knox Pharmacy dispensary manager Tracey McLeod-Jones (left) and owner Nik Wild work near the intersection considered the worst in the city,

The Dunedin City Council has revealed its 10 worst intersections.

Council transport engineering and road safety team leader Hjarne Poulsen gave The Star a list of the 10 Dunedin intersections ranked in order of priority for safety improvements.

  1. George,London, Pitt, Frederick Sts.
  2. Princes St and South Rd.
  3. Opoho and North Rds and Bank St.
  4. Portobello Rd and Shore St.
  5. George and Duke Sts.
  6. Smith and Stuart Sts.
  7. Princes, Jetty, Manse and Stafford Sts.
  8. George, St David and Park Sts and Regent Rd.
  9. Andersons Bay, Portobello Rd and Bay View Rds.
  10. Forbury, Bay View and Allandale Rds.

The rankings were based on crash statistics over the past decade and other factors including risk assessments, community feedback, the mix of transport modes using the intersection and the results of speed surveys.

Safety upgrades to improve the intersections include new signal phasing and the use of red turn arrows to protect pedestrians and changes to lane layouts.

The results of past improvements were evident at intersections such as the Hillside Rd-King Edward St intersection, which was no longer on New Zealand’s top-50 list of worst intersections following safety upgrades in 2016.

The intersection of George, Frederick, London and Pitt Sts in central Dunedin had dropped from 53rd to 97th spot on New Zealand’s top-50 list, following similar improvements.

Despite the improvements, the council still rated the intersection to be the worst in Dunedin.

Any future improvements to the intersection would be included as part of a central city upgrade, Mr Poulsen said.

Unichem Knox Pharmacy owner Nik Wild said she had worked in the pharmacy at the intersection for 10 years and staff often heard the high-pitched squeal of brakes as motorists took evasive action to avoid becoming a crash statistic.

She was surprised it was Dunedin’s worst intersection despite being involved in a crash there herself.

In the crash, she was in a vehicle stopped at traffic lights, obeying a “red arrow” signal designed to give pedestrians time to cross Frederick St.

As she waited for the green arrow, a motorist crashed into the back of her car.

Also Unichem Knox Pharmacy dispensary manager Tracey McLeod-Jones said she had been involved in a near-miss when walking across the intersection.

She was crossing Frederick St while the “green man” light was on, when a turning motorist nearly hit her.

Motorists often sped through an orange or red light at the intersection, she said.

Motorists took risks to “sneak through” the intersection early or late, she said.

Southern district road policing manager inspector Amelia Steel said Dunedin intersections were dangerous locations for road users when drivers were not paying attention.

“Crashes occur when drivers run red lights and are distracted by their cellphones.

“Patience and focus are required to complete journeys safely – even around town.

“Stop for the red and put the phone to bed.”