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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

All Terrain Students 

At long last it seems that quite possibly the world's worst designed tertiary institute - in terms of pedestrian movement - Auckland University , is finally doing something about the four-lane death strip running through the heart of its campus.
Students welcome street closure
Auckland University students are relieved a dangerous road in their midst will close to all traffic except buses but also want a lower speed limit imposed along neighbouring Symonds St.

The university administration and Auckland City Council yesterday announced an agreement to work together during the development of the Symonds St sector of a $32 million central transit corridor for buses and possibly light-rail between Britomart and Newmarket.

They marked their signing of a memorandum of understanding with confirmation of a plan to close Alfred St, which runs through the main university campus between Princes St and Symonds St, to all traffic except Link and City Circuit buses from the end of this year.

That will be followed by the city council's construction of the transit corridor over about 18 months from early next year, a project which will involve closing Grafton Bridge for structural strengthening during the second half of the construction period.

Motorists will this weekend get a foretaste of making do without the bridge, when it is closed to all vehicles from Friday night to early Monday for load-testing.

They will have to use detours through Grafton Rd or Khyber Pass Rd to reach Auckland City Hospital from the central business district, although the bridge will remain open to cyclists and pedestrians.

Mayor Dick Hubbard said that would be a precursor to when the bridge was closed to general traffic from 7am to 7pm each week day once the corridor was opened as a priority route for buses in 2008.He envisages the corridor becoming "a continual bus travelator" between central Auckland and Newmarket.

Buses will eventually be running every 30 seconds in their own lanes and making savings of up to 14 minutes on peak-hour trip times.

The city council agreed to close Alfred St to general traffic after discovering from Land Transport NZ records that it was the scene of 29 road accidents in the five years to December 31.

One thing though - wouldn't you think an article titled "students welcome street closure" and with the intro "Auckland University students are relieved a dangerous road in their midst will close to all traffic" might talk to and quote, you know, an actual student?


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