We went back to New Plymouth District Council recently. Yet again. To discuss ways in which we could better manage matters related to heavy petrochemical traffic.
Quite a few residents worry about the heavy traffic passing our school.
Look at that speedway effect. We are still trying to get the message across that using the heart of our community as a heavy traffic layby is not good.
We protested modern road design with such step sides that nobody can ever pull to the side let alone walk, cycle or ride a horse alongside. We see this as a major loss of rural amenity.
We tabled a concern that this type of hostile road design is incompatible with these roads being part of a designated cycle route. There is nowhere for bikes to go when challenged by frequent heavy transport.
We expressed concern at recent road upgrades which make the traffic go even faster at the cost of any other road user and often to the detriment of roadside residents.
We asked that Council make every sign count. We have so many signs and road cones now that few people take notice. Children crossing signs where locals know no children have lived for decades, horse signs (above) where no horses can be ridden any longer and ever more company signs.
We pointed out the impact of huge loads passing close by. We raised concerns at the excessive speeds some traffic travels.
We pointed out that this traffic was almost certainly parked up because it was school bus time – forcing the school bus over the centre line. We noted that if the speed limit was lowered, it should no longer be necessary to avoid school bus times as a safety measure.
Our community continues to try and function as it always has. This is our sports club and hall area.
Heavy transport -including tanker and trailer units carrying petrochemical product pass through the middle of this activity.
The fun run and walk continue as the tanker passes by.
Look at the wee dot with her sunhat to the left of the tanker – the fun run and walk again.
We asked for a lower maximum speed limit to be trialled. At the moment it is 100 km and many of us think that is just too fast for safety. The Council listened. They heard what we were saying and saw what we were showing. They wanted to take some action and the easiest initial action was to instruct staff to start the process of looking at lowering the speed limit but only on one road – Otaraoa Road. But even such a small gain is progress, we thought. It was reported in the local paper. Enter these three men.
Nobody consulted them, they said, claiming to speak for the good folk of Tikorangi – the “genuine residents”. You can read their story here.
Oh there have been some jokes. Shame the newspaper photographer didn’t stick around to snap these men with a petrochemical tanker and trailer unit bearing down on them at speed from behind, more than one person said. Where are their banjos and rifles, another quipped. Goodness, even Jed Clampett and the Beverley Hillbillies have been mentioned. But what on earth made these men think it was all right to attempt to discredit me, then get into their vehicles to drive down and pose outside Mark’s and my place, resembling a Wild West posse? I can only assume they meant to look intimidating and confrontational when all they had to do was to pick up the phone and ask a few questions.
There is no problem with speed, they said. The problem, seen clearly here, is allegedly the vegetation from OUR place blocking the view! Oh really? The pictures tell the story. Heavy transport is one of the highest impact effects of petrochemical development. There are ways it can be managed better to reduce the negative impacts. That is what we have been saying since early last year.