FINALLY – A Roundabout for HB’s Worst Black-spot!

Black-spot: The intersection of Meeanee Quay and State Highway 2B - Looks innocent enough, eh?

Black-spot: The intersection of Meeanee Quay and State Highway 2B – Looks innocent enough, eh?

Yesterday one of Hawke’s Bay’s most notorious intersections – the junction of State Highway 2B and Meeanee Quay in Westshore – claimed another life.

This intersection is in the top five for serious and fatal crashes in New Zealand. That is not a chart we want to feature on.

It is the latest in a number of fatalities, several serious crashes and countless fender-benders and near-misses that this intersection has been the site of since its creation.

The entrance to HB Airport (top) and the SH2B / Meeanee Quay intersection (bottom) – Two of HB’s worst traffic black-spots.

The entrance to HB Airport (top) and the SH2B / Meeanee Quay intersection (bottom) – Two of HB’s worst traffic black-spots.

It seems rather illogical that this intersection should be the location of so much carnage, as the site is a large, open space with clear visibility for hundreds of meters in several directions.

Drivers being unable to judge the speed of oncoming traffic were identified as a key factor in a number of crashes, so a stretch of around a kilometre, including this intersection and the entrance to Hawke’s Bay Airport (also a black spot) was reduced from 100kph to 80kph.

Yet the accidents keep happening.

Plastic delineators were also installed along the stretch of road with the intention of marking out lanes, but they have merely added confusion for some and certainly give little physical protection from the traffic rushing past

There have long been calls from the public for the intersection to be replaced with a roundabout that would both slow traffic and ease the confluence of these busy roads.

Other publically proposed plans included closing off the current entrance to the Hawke’s Bay Airport 500 meters from the Meeanee Quay intersection, upgrading Watchman Road, which also joins onto SH2B at this point and redirecting the airport traffic through this proposed roundabout and along Watchman Road.

An artist's impression of the proposed changes to SH2B

An artist’s impression of the proposed changes to SH2B

It appears that common sense has finally sunken in and NZTA – the New Zealand Transport Agency is planning to build a roundabout at this intersection, which will also include a new access point for the airport, in 2016-2017.

I have been told negotiations for the purchase of or access to the required land is currently underway.

In today’s Hawke’s Bay Today Mark Story pointed the finger at human error, rather than the intersection itself, being at fault – and he’s absolutely right!

Human error is to blame for the number of accidents on this intersection – but on more levels than Mark suggests:

It’s human error that misjudges the speed or distance of oncoming traffic.

It’s human error that stops impatient drivers from waiting 10-30 seconds for a clear break in the traffic.

It’s human error that causes indicators, brake pedals, accelerators and road rules to be used improperly, or completely ignored going through such intersections.

But when the human errors of individual drivers like those listed above just can’t be altered and the number of accidents, injuries and deaths at intersections like State Highway 2B and Meeanee Quay start to mount, it’s the human error of authorities overseeing such intersections and the safety of those who use them not taking drastic action sooner that must be brought into question and accounted for.

This junction is a known accident black spot and has been so for years. In its current state it continues to injure, maim and kill.

So why wait?

How did the unnecessary four-laning of Prebensen Drive get priority over properly fixing this fatally flawed black-spot once and for all?

With lives at stake and so many already tragically effected, what took them so long?

Hawke’s Bay road users deserved better!

Miracles Happen!


I wonder why I bother sometimes.

There is no point in writing if no one is reading.

You can verbally plead a case until you’re blue in the face, but unless someone is listening it’s nothing but wasted breath.

But occasionally miracles happen.

You may remember how I made a written submission and a presentation to Napier City Council’s ten year plan a few months ago.

You may also remember the total lack of reaction it got.

Well, it might not have been total.

A month or so after my presentation I checked in upon the NCC website and, lo and behold, there were changes!

The outdated youth page had been given some attention and there was a note saying the council’s Youth Policy was to be updated in 2015 – that’s this year!

I also had a look at the Youth Council of Napier (YCoN) Facebook page and discovered that just before my submission was made Napier city councilors had met with YCoN, and I believe there may have been another meeting since.

One of the leaders of the youth group that now oversees YCoN even made contact to suggest we meet up to discuss what can be done for youth in Napier.

My concept was also taken up by Baybuzz’s magazine and blog who asked to video an interview of me and my idea and printed a condensed version in their latest magazine.

It’s nice to know people are listening and taking notice occasionally.

Now onto the next step – Turn more of my words into actions!

Miracles do happen!

P.S.: I could have also suggested that my posts on amalgamation and the lack of airline competition harming Hawke’s Bay’s economy also helped recent positive outcomes in both cases, but there’s a fine line between miracles and delusion! 😉

It’s 2010 All Over Again – A Panda Paradox!

"Minister, have you changed your hairstyle?"

“Minister, have you changed your hairstyle?”

If you think all the current Panda-monium over a couple of Chinese residents possibly getting preferential treatment and $10mill of taxpayer money is new then you’re barking up the wrong bamboo tree!.

One of the saddest aspects of New Zealand’s current media standards is that they seem utterly unable to remember anything.

This used to be the realm of editors and sub-editors, who would spell and fact-check items before publication. With media cost cutting and profit making, these positions were outsourced, disestablished, automated, or just plain forgotten – and with it went our media’s memory.

Because, had these “Sub-eds” still been in place today, they would have gladly informed us that pandas were all the rage way back in 2010!

Former Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast discussed bringing pandas to our capital’s zoo when she met with the mayor of Beijing on a visit to China in June 2010.

That same month newly minted Prime Minister John Key said he had not ruled out acquiring a giant panda for Auckland Zoo.

“Mr Key yesterday told TVNZ’s Breakfast programme he would suggest trading two pandas for two kiwi as a cost-saving measure.
“My idea was, I know people pay $10 million but we’re a special friend of China, why couldn’t we give them some kiwis. Two for two, kiwis are worth a lot.”
He later said the aim was to determine the value of the panda “versus the value of a kiwi”.
“The argument is really to say, look, this is a forming of a strong bond with China and one way is to exchange animals that are of national significance to each country.”
Mr Key said any zoo that took on the pandas would to pay costs, including building enclosures and supplying food. The animals would also require specialist staff.”

John Key, NZ Herald article, June 29 2010

Even Napier was having a go – In July that year local man Max Patmoy proposed the empty Marineland site as a potentially perfect panda playground.

Napier’s concept even made it onto TV3’s Campbell Live! (please tell me you remember that marvellous show?)

None of these bids amounted to anything, of course.

But here we are, five years later, panda-ing to yet another distraction, going through the same hoopla and rigmarole yet again.

If only someone had the cranial fortitude to remind the nation we’ve been here before.

I bet the pandas remember…