Intersection upgrade makes cycling safer

Cycling to school just got a whole lot safer for Whanganui Intermediate School’s 500-plus students thanks to safety upgrades at the Victoria Avenue-Dublin Street intersection.

Safety features especially for cyclists were added to the intersection when the traffic lights were recently upgraded.

Whanganui District Council’s active transport facilitator, Norman Gruebsch, said the features include a joint pedestrian-cyclist crossing, which is a Whanganui first. This means cars turning left out of Dublin Street into Victoria Avenue heading north will have to give way to cyclists as well as pedestrians.

“Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has only recently sanctioned this use. The crossing has the same legal status as all other pedestrian crossings,” Norman Gruebsch said.

Bright green paint on the road indicates cycling lanes, and advanced stop boxes allow cyclists to wait at traffic lights in front of vehicles. These help to keep cyclists more visible.

Holding rails allow cyclists to wait at the lights without having to dismount, and a traffic refuge on Dublin Street outside Whanganui Intermediate School’s entrance provides a safe place for cyclists and pedestrians to cross the road one lane at a time.

“It’s a very busy intersection, especially when school is starting and finishing. A lot of students travel along Dublin Street and Victoria Avenue to get to and from school,” Norman Gruebsch said.

“Students now have several options for safe crossing, whichever direction they are approaching the intersection.”

The works were paid for by Whanganui District Council under the road maintenance budget, with funding assistance from Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.

Similar safety measures were put in place at another busy intersection, the corner of Victoria Avenue and Glasgow Street, when the lights there were upgraded.

There is also a newly installed pedestrian refuge on London Street/ SH3 which completes the last piece of Te Tuaiwi Pathway and links with the London Street/ Great North Road pathway. Norman Gruebsch said the last section of the London Street Pathway is due to be completed this month.

Norman Gruebsch said these new pieces of infrastructure were part of a growing network of shared pathways and cycling paths in Whanganui.