Crazy Intersections of our time: #31
As you can see on our hastily assembled little map on the right there, North-flowing traffic splits into two lanes once it gets past the Britomart/Herald intersection, so right-turning traffic gets its own turning lane into Luxford.
Now, this would work fine if there weren’t a couple of 5 minute parking spots (outside a dairy) in the straight-ahead lane (photo 2). Cars parked in that 5 minute spot (indicated by blue in the graphic) act as a roadblock, so once the turning lane hits a red light, traffic quickly backs up to the point where no-one can actually get into the straight-ahead lane (photo 3).
And because the turning lane only gets a short green once every cycle, the result is gridlock back down Adelaide Road, as all the traffic wanting to go straight (into town) can’t get into the required lane (photos 1 and 4, the latter looking South back towards the intersection).
It’s even more frustrating during the morning rush hour, as there’s virtually no southbound traffic anyway. All those cars sitting at the red turning light are invariably stopped for no-one.
To make matters worse, the turning red light was the result of another problem that used to occur at this intersection.
Back in the day, it was just a normal old red/green light – you could take the turn if the way was clear. Problem with that was that people headed south and turning left into Luxford, would have to give way to traffic turning across them from their right.Naturally, southbound straight-ahead drivers who couldn’t bear waiting behind a car giving way would swerve out and around – the car turning right into Luxford was now running the risk of getting T-boned by the impatient straight-ahead driver.
And hence the turning light for turning traffic coming from the South. But the thing is – drivers coming from the North who are turning left have no way of knowing they don’t have to give way!There’s no free turn sign or green light to guide them around the corner (photo 4), so cars still regularly give way to the long line of traffic opposite them waiting to make their right hand turn, halting all southbound traffic (in exactly the way that used to happen).
(Solution: a big bloody roundabout).