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Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency will be improving safety for pedestrians and other road users by installing pedestrian refuge islands in two Marlborough townships in coming months: Renwick, near Blenheim, and Rai Valley, closer to Nelson, both on SH6.

“The pedestrian refuge location in Rai Valley received general community and business support,” says Waka Kotahi System Manager Top of the South, Andrew James. “However, consultation in Renwick was interrupted due to the Covid-19 Lockdown and some people were unhappy with the location, due to the loss of two car parks. 

“However, on balance, having gone back and talked to people again this year, many in Renwick agreed this was the spot where people would cross SH6 whether there was a pedestrian refuge there or not, so we will go ahead with that installation, so that we can improve safety for residents and visitors.” 

Traffic crash statistics showed there had been 29 crashes within 100 metres of the Renwick site in the past 20 years, one of which was considered serious, so it was needed urgently for everyone’s safety. 

The construction cost of each refuge is around $25,000. 

What is a pedestrian refuge or pedestrian island? 

A pedestrian refuge is a small concrete island installed in the centre of a road between traffic lanes. It enables pedestrians, including wheelchair users, mobility scooter riders, scooter-riders, people with buggies or bicycles, to carry out a two-stage crossing of the road. It provides a degree of shelter so that the safety of the second part of the crossing can be assessed prior to completing the road crossing. 

At pedestrian refuges, the pedestrian must only cross the traffic lane when it is safe to do so. The vehicle driver has right of way and is not required to stop, although considerate and slower driving will show the waiting pedestrian respect and reduce stress for everyone. 

  • A third pedestrian refuge planned for Havelock, also on SH6 in Marlborough, is being paused until a suitable site can be generally agreed to with the local community and businesses, says Mr James. This will be in the next financial year, 2021/22.

Renwick pedestrian refuge site

Rai Valley pedestrian refuge site with the nearby proposed Village Green area

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