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Wayne Brown says AT has lost the plot over pedestrian crossing costs

Author
Bernard Orsman,
Publish Date
Thu, 25 Jan 2024, 7:26am
Photo / Alex Robertson
Photo / Alex Robertson

Wayne Brown says AT has lost the plot over pedestrian crossing costs

Author
Bernard Orsman,
Publish Date
Thu, 25 Jan 2024, 7:26am

Auckland Transport (AT) has “lost the plot” over the cost of pedestrian crossings when a lick of paint will do, claims Mayor Wayne Brown. 

The city’s mayor said he was ropeable to read in the Herald that AT is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars installing pedestrian crossings when Wellington City Council is spending tens of thousands of dollars. 

“The public don’t like that sort of money being wasted. AT spends so much money doing things that everyone else does cheaper. 

“As soon as they do something, they seem to do everything and if you are just doing a crossing you just paint it, frankly,” Brown said. 

Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown cannot believe how much money Auckland Transport is spending on pedestrian crossings. Photo / Michael CraigAuckland Mayor Wayne Brown cannot believe how much money Auckland Transport is spending on pedestrian crossings. Photo / Michael Craig 

Transport Minister Simeon Brown has also weighed in on the issue, arguing it is unacceptable how much AT is spending on new raised platforms and speed bumps. 

“Not only is this a significant cost but the increasing number of these raised platforms that have been installed, particularly on busy roads, simply increases travel times and reduces the productivity of the network,” he said. 

AT has spent $6 million on 12 signalised crossings at an average cost of $500,000 and is in the process of spending close to another $7m on 15 more crossings as part of a road safety programme. 

Brown called the AT board “weak” for not bringing staff into line over the costs, saying he has appointed a new board chairman, Richard Leggat, who is going to instruct them to halt work on more pedestrian crossings. 

The mayor was also scathing of AT for spending $490,000 on a new raised pedestrian crossing at Williamson Ave in Grey Lynn, not far from his home, calling $172,000 of the cost on traffic management “a disgrace”. 

“That’s not a new pedestrian crossing. It’s taking an old pedestrian crossing and spending $490,000 turning it from a pedestrian crossing into a pedestrian crossing, which was working fine. 

“They spend money on drainage when there was no drainage problem there. The drainage problem is caused by the raised pedestrian crossing because when you raise it the water can’t run down the gutters,” said Brown, a trained civil engineer. 

Auckland Transport spent $490,000 for a new raised pedestrian crossing on Williamson Ave in Grey Lynn. Photo / Jason OxenhamAuckland Transport spent $490,000 for a new raised pedestrian crossing on Williamson Ave in Grey Lynn. Photo / Jason Oxenham 

Previously, AT chief executive Dean Kimpton, also a civil engineer, said the Williamson Ave crossing was “not gold-plated”. 

He said five catch-pit upgrades, stormwater improvements, grated channels, a central pedestrian island, pedestrian areas on both sides amongst the kerb and channel, footpath and bus stop upgrades, and lighting all needed to be done for safe pedestrian access, walking and to reduce the risk of flooding. 

Said Mayor Brown: “There are people in AT who have convinced themselves that is a good spend of money, and it’s not. I do subdivisions and to control speed we roll out plastic road bumps. They cost $500. They [AT] have lost the plot in terms of value.” 

The mayor said the Government is stopping funding for road safety programmes because they do not give any additional road safety, and the council is not going to fund its share of the programme. 

This raised crossing with a central pedestrian island was installed in the suburb of Khandallah by Wellington City Council for $52,000. Photo / Wellington City CouncilThis raised crossing with a central pedestrian island was installed in the suburb of Khandallah by Wellington City Council for $52,000. Photo / Wellington City Council 

Simeon Brown said he is currently working with officials to rewrite the Government Policy Statement on Transport, which will outline the Government’s transport priorities. National has promised to reallocate $3 billion from road safety programmes to spend on its Roads of National Significance programme. 

In a response to the mayor’s comments of “losing the plot” and spending money on things that others do cheaper, an AT spokesperson said, “we have changed our approach to how we work since this project. We will be looking at different options going forward”. 

“More broadly, we are working with our suppliers, mainly Fulton Hogan, to determine where we can use pre-cast [concrete] tables,” said the spokesperson, adding that these could apply to 22 of 28 projects recently assessed. 

“AT’s current contracted rates would cost $50,000 to construct a similar speed table as those from Wellington City Council,” the spokesperson said. 

AT did not respond to Brown’s concerns about the full costs of $500,000 per pedestrian crossing for the road safety programme not being good value, and his call to stop work. 

How much money does AT spend on a pedestrian crossing? 

Williamson Ave pedestrian crossing costs 

  • Design/consultation/consents - $80,000 
  • Earthworks and clearing site - $19,000 
  • Kerb and channel/traffic islands/signs/roadmarking/surfacing - $34,000 
  • Concrete speed table - $33,000 
  • Footpaths/pram crossing upgrade/lighting - $47,000 
  • Traffic management - $172,000 
  • Stormwater upgrades - $87,000 
  • Site monitoring/quality assurance - $18,000 
  • Total cost - $490,000 

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