With the regular working week again upon us most are reflecting on having had a good break over the silly season. Rain has filled tanks and eased fears of drought, at least for now, and soaring temperatures have seen beaches packed again as many Mums and Dads head to work and kids enjoy the last lingering days of the holidays.
On talking to people in general, the only gripe appears to be traffic. This is something we all need and rely on but, like anything else, there can always be too much of a good thing, especially for a place with Mangawhai’s infrastructure (or lack of) and its popularity bringing visitors to town in numbers at least five-fold the normal population and, seemingly all at once.
The bone of contention is, of course, the Moir St/Insley St intersection at the Village, and as most appear to arrive on a Saturday morning the markets have become something of a target for creating or certainly adding to the congestion. While market stalls themselves are safely out of the way, pedestrians add to the snarl-up in terms of wandering, thoughtless road habits and likewise motorists determined to park literally anyhow and anywhere.
I’m not sure of the rules but I would think the market organisers have some responsibility in regard to not necessarily providing parking for customers but not contributing to any traffic congestion. When holiday traffic is backed up for four kilometres there should be some questions asked as to how and why, and measures considered as to a solution. Even though this may only be on holiday weekends, Mangawhai’s population in general is rising and with it vehicle numbers, so if a problem is perceived now it’s only going to worsen in time.
The loudest cries have been to move the markets. Sure they have become something of an icon and moved to a more convenient place they would still be an icon. But I think there is another thing that could be implemented to better effect and one already discussed in some quarters. I recall at a community meeting there being suggested that a stop or give way sign could be put at Moir St corner opposite the hall so traffic coming from the Kaiwaka direction would give way to the lines that form along Insley St thus at least keeping things moving. It seemed an easy, short-term fix to me, taking a few guys one evening to erect a give way sign and paint a single or double yellow line across the road. This idea seems to have been manacled by red tape. Is it a NZTA problem? Well, no, we were told, because it’s not a main road. So, is it one for the Council or is police permission required? Were these questions not asked? If not, why not? The decision need not be a long-lasting one but a decision needs to be made nonetheless. Traffic in Mangawhai will get worse with time, drivers will get more and more frustrated, parking spots will be taken up by business staff. and pedestrians will
continue to wander while texting or lost in their headphones, oblivious to any dangers until some serious accident really does happen.
In the meantime, unless one chooses an odd time to travel, when visitors are taking an hour to cover the last kilometre into the Village, advertising that Mangawhai is just an hour and 20 minutes from the City is simply pie in the sky.
Just my thoughts.