Meanwhile at the other end of Mangawhai, issues over traffic jamming are also under the spotlight with the prospect of a multi-million dollar roundabout being questioned as the most appropriate and affordable solution to ease vehicle standstills on Insley/Moir Street and Molesworth Drive T-junctions.
Concerned local, Alan Preston, lives close to the intersection, witnessing tailbacks and logjams throughout the year both on-and-off the peak holiday season, and believes a reconfiguration of the ‘Give Way’ signs could facilitate traffic flow.
“This congestion occurs on a daily basis with general commuter and school traffic on Insley Street at 9am and again at 3pm, having to give way to the minority east-west flow along Moir Street,” he says “With the peak influx at the start of the summer holiday season, Insley Street traffic is backed up for kilometres south of Mangawhai. The existing configuration has always prioritised the flow of traffic from the Mangawhai Tavern in the east towards Kaiwaka – as it was originally built to do – but this is now obsolete and is the cause of the congestion. ‘Give Way’ signs have never been trialled despite this being the cause of congestion.”
Since 2018 the intersections have been under scrutiny and are a part of Kaipara District Council’s (KDC) recently adopted ‘slow streets’ section of the areas Long Term Plan. Public meetings were held in 2019 and 2020 with council planners to consult and gather feedback from the community, with roundabouts becoming a favoured option resulting in two designs being presented – a ‘double roundabout’ layout at Moir/Insley and Moir/Molesworth intersections, and a ‘single roundabout’ idea with an ongoing right-turn flow intersection from Molesworth onto Moir.
At the February 2020 workshop, KDC’s Mangawhai programme delivery manager, Tim Manning said “roundabouts are a great way to protect the ‘slow street’ concept, and keep a ‘Mangawhai feel’ for not only those in cars, but pedestrians, and those with accessibility issues.”
The roundabouts and surrounding 3.5-metre-wide cycle-walkways will cost approximately $2.5m, and a KDC spokesperson says they are currently waiting on Waka Tahi NZTA approval to fund the detailed design, and ‘once this has been approved, we will be tendering the work with an anticipated start date of approximately three months after the funding approval has been provided’.
However, the changes also mean the iconic Mangawhai Village Market had to be relocated to Mangawhai Beach School, ‘ostensibly because it was causing traffic congestion’ Preston says.
“The footprint of the roundabout also extends into the grounds of the hall which is being forced to replace the only green-space in Mangawhai Village with off-street parking.”
Preston outlined the idea of refiguring the ‘Give Way’ signs along with traffic calming ramps to slow vehicles through the Village in a 2020 submission, only to be told by KDC planners that it would ‘be too dangerous’, which he questions.
“Having ‘Give Way’ signs for traffic coming into the Village from the west along Moir Street at Insley street, and for traffic travelling westward through the village outside the Four Square and back at Moir Street for traffic coming west from the Mangawhai Tavern, will provide the same effect as the proposed roundabouts,” he says. “This holiday period would have been a perfect opportunity to run a refiguration trial at very little cost to ratepayers, to see if the expensive and invasive roundabout could be avoided.”
n To view roundabout designs visit mangawhaicommunityplan.co.nz/roundabouts
An idea of how refiguration of Mangawhai Village ‘Give Way’ signs (red dots) could provide the same effect as roundabouts, according to local concerned resident Alan Preston. PHOTO/JULIA WADE
“With the peak influx at the start of the summer holiday season, Insley Street traffic is backed up for kilometres south of Mangawhai.”