$500k for traffic signals?

Residents say while safety on a Harewood Rd is a concern, the solution shouldn’t cost more than half a million dollars.

The city council has budgeted $541,588 for the project which will include a signalised pedestrian crossing, cycle lanes and relocating a bus stop. It would be installed on Sawyers Arms Rd between Cotswold Ave and Glasnevin Dr.

But residents raised concerns at a recent Fendalaton-Waimairi-Harewood Community Board meeting that the project lacked vital information, such as a breakdown in cost and accident rates in the area.

City council head of transport Chris Gregory said because the project was within budget, staff were not expecting any issues to arise around it.

A city council spokeswomen said due to commercial sensitivity as the project is tendered by contractors, it cannot release details about the cost estimate.

There was one recorded crash during the study period and it was not related to the use of the crossing.

Resident Barbara Purvis said no-one wanted someone to get hurt or worse. She said safety  concerns were valid, but that was not the main issue, cost is.

“There could be other safe and cost-effective options to consider,” she said.

Pupils from Casebrook Intermediate, Cotswold School, Breens Intermediate, Bishopdale and Emmanuel Christian School use the crossing.

Bruce Walters lives on Sawyers Arms Rd and said he cannot believe the high cost of the project.

“You could build a couple of houses in Aranui for that price . . . all it (the project) requires is a couple of poles, lights, a control box and some paint. How does that cost half a million?” he said.

Board chairman David Cartwright met with some residents on December 16 at the proposed site and supported them when they said the price was too high.

“We want to be the leading example of other community boards when it comes to fiscal responsibility,” he said.

The board asked staff to look at the cost breakdown, ongoing changes to the traffic corridors and the impact of these changes on the proposed pedestrian crossing in the future.

A report is due back at its meeting on February 13.

Resident Rosanna McEvedy said the homework on the project has not been done to an acceptable standard.

“We need to look at the area as a whole and make sure we are not spending half a million dollars here, and in a few years time, spending even more than that just down the road,” she said.

Mr Walters, Ms Purvis and Ms McEvedy all agreed the community board was doing a great job listening to their concerns.