‘Overkill’: Auckland Transport rolling out 13 traffic cameras on Onewa Rd

Cheating motorists using transit lanes on a major Auckland road will soon be caught out by 13 new traffic cameras in a move being described as an “overkill” by the local board.

Auckland Transport is rolling out the new cameras to monitor T3 lanes on the heavily trafficked Onewa Rd.

Incorrect use of the lanes during operating hours includes having the wrong number of occupants in a vehicle or using them for more than 50m to turn.

The cameras should be operational from June.

Warning letters would be used in the weeks immediately following the introduction of the cameras but that would later be replaced by $150 fines.

AT says the new cameras will allow more consistent enforcement of the rules while not requiring staff to physically monitor the road.

However Kaipatiki Local Board chairman John Gillon said having 13 cameras on the one road did “seem like overkill”.

“We haven’t had a presentation or workshop or anything on this. This sort of came out of the blue.”

There was no community consultation on this, he said, which could have avoided some of the stress people in the community were feeling.

AT had the authority over the road corridor and would not have been legally required to do a consultation, he said.

“The residents that are directly affected are supposed to receive letters telling them that work was going to be carried out installing the poles.”

Gillon said he had been contacted by a number who said they had not been notified, and apparently drilling was happening after 1am.

“People are not too happy about it. I am following up with that.”

Concerned locals had also raised questions about if they would get caught out maneuvering around to accommodate turning traffic, or getting out of driveways safely.

“People are really concerned they are going to get pinged when they are just trying to do the right thing.”

Gillon said on one social media community group page there were more than 250 comments on a single post on the issue, most voicing concerns.

There were also some supportive comments, with people acknowledging that it is the same rules as before that are being enforced, he said.

Gillon said: “As a public-owned entity, Auckland Transport needs to ensure that all its decisions that will affect the day-to-day lives of Auckland residents are canvassed with the public and local board as early in the process as possible.”

AT spokeswoman Natalie Polley said the organisation’s role was to provide a safe and efficient transport network that kept people and freight moving.

“The demand for transport in Auckland keeps growing, but the capacity of our roads is constrained by the space available.

“One of the ways we manage this is by providing ways for the same road space to carry more people, like converting a general traffic lane to a bus or transit lane.

“Remote monitoring of bus and transit lanes allows Auckland Transport to provide a more consistent way to enforce the rules, without the need for staff to stand at the side of the road for long periods.This is part of AT’s wider strategy to roll-out remote monitoring of bus/transit lanes across the region.”

Asked if the new cameras were simply a revenue gathering exercise, Polley said warning letters would be issued for the first three weeks to drivers using the lane incorrectly.

“The $150 infringement fee is set nationally by the Ministry of Transport, not by Auckland Transport. We have found that with other lanes like this – such as Khyber Pass in Newmarket (that are high frequency/high volume), most people do follow the rules.

“At Khyber Pass we have attained over a 99 per cent compliance ratio of people following the rules. We thank these people for helping to keep Auckland moving.”

AT had instructed contractors to deliver letters to affected houses about the cameras’ installation and no concrete cutting was to be done after 10pm.

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