Tuesday, February 14, 2017

When Auckland Council Fuels Traffic Jams - with Truck-loads of Rubbish

Thakur Ranjit Singh

How many times have you been held up in traffic on a busy time rush hour on a State Highway, on a suburban bus route, main or trunk road, or near a school during opening or closing times? And later you realised the “avoidable jam” was created, and made worse by Auckland Council rubbish trucks. They seem to have a habit of collecting rubbish on busy roads during rush-hour. This appears to be an everyday happening now.

As a bus driver who starts quite early with school runs, I almost encounter this on a regular basis. And this has been confirmed by fellow bus-drivers as well. But the last chain of incidents took me to the edges of my tolerance. It was just before 7 am on a Friday morning, when we all were rushing to work. Lo and behold!, on State Highway 16 between Soljans Cafe and Brigham Creek Road roundabout (near Kumeu) in West Auckland, a Council truck was collecting rubbish from the busy road, holding traffic.

Traffic is forced to dodge rubbish collection trucks at busy school times in or around school zones. Such collection near schools need to be done only between lull in traffic. This gives them six hours, so why they need to create undue congestion at and around 8 am? Auckland Council surely needs proper planning and co-ordination.
Then an hour later, just around 8am on a busy Albany Highway just past the junction of Upper Harbour Drive in North Shore, I met another similar truck holding traffic while collecting rubbish. Then I proceeded up Sunset Road, (Unsworth Heights) in North Shore, which is also a trunk route for morning commuters, feeding into many schools. The same scenario, another hold up.

And this is not confined to mornings. I have also seen them on busy Taharoto Road and Northcote Road in Takapuna, Auckland in afternoon as well. I also encountered them during peak school time around 8am on Belmont Drive and Nile Road, which is just a stones throw away from three large schools in the area in Takapuna – Westlake Boys, Westlake Girls and Carmel College. School buses and school traffic have to dodge and squeeze through these nuisance on narrow roads.

This is Nile Road in Foresthill, Northshore. It is a stones throw away from four schools: Westlake Boys, Westlake Girls, Carmel College and Foresthill School. Yet on a Wedneday morning at 8.34 am, when buses and cars are busy in this area on this narrow road, Auckland Council Rubbish truck (right) was collecting rubbish. Note a school bus was forced to pass on the wrong side of the road at the traffic island, creating hazard.
The “golden mile” in Takapuna has following seven schools:  St Joseph Catholic School, Rosmini College, Takapuna Normal Intermediate, Carmel College, Westlake Girls, Westlake Boys and Foresthill School. Some 2km stretch of road linking Foresthill Road, Wairau Road, Taharoto Road and Fred Thomas Drive, among them have these seven schools, adding to thousands of vehicular traffic during school opening and closing times. The last thing we need is uncoordinated and poorly planned-rubbish collection during busy times in and around these schools. I as a regular bus driver around these schools have encountered these trucks causing unnecessary traffic jams in morning and afternoons on a regular basis. This is what has prompted me to raise this issue.

Similar is the story around other areas of Auckland. Many have encountered these, but have not bothered to raise it as they see raising any issue with Auckland Council like whipping a dead horse. My site Auckland Council WATCH will take all concerns to the Council, and will send these articles links to ALL Auckland Councillors. I hope, as Chairpersons of various committees, they can pull up non-performing Managers to coordinate and plan their activities in respective portfolios in such a way that pose little disruptions to the City.

Why do rubbish colection trucks have to crowd up busy areas and around schools in mornings and afternoons? Why are parents and buses forced to squeeze between these hazards and cause hazard to other road users? Do you need to be a rocket scientist to plan rubbish collection schedule?
Auckland City is huge, with large residential and commercial areas. Therefore, Auckland Council needs to get its act together and identify and create critical areas 500m to 1km near schools, on Highways, bus routes and busy school or city traffic routes. They need to create a no-go zone for rubbish collection or any other Council activities between 6 -9am and 3-6pm, which disrupts traffic. They have six hours in a day when they can attend to such busy traffic areas, between 9 am and 3 pm.


Auckland Council need to review their rubbish collection as follows:
- Create red zones near schools, on bus routes, on highways, busy trunk routes and roads feeding to schools. Rubbish in these areas should ONLY BE COLLECTED BETWEEN 9-3pm.

- They should create Green Zone in secluded parts of the respective collection zones, not contributing to any traffic chaos. They can service these areas in rush hour of 6-9am and 3-6pm.

- They should create orange zones in areas bordering the two, and apply discretion to fill their schedules.

You do not need a rocket scientist to plan activities in such a way as to have a win-win situation, without disrupting traffic. And Auckland Council has many highly paid officials to do this.

I hope common sense will prevail, and Auckland Council staff would start earning their pay.

[About the Author; Thakur Ranjit Singh does what most qualified ethnic migrants do when they are not accepted in their qualified job market – drive. Thakur has Masters in Communication (MCS) with honours from AUT. He tried to join Auckland Council in its Media and Communications team. However, he was seen unsuitable to colour a White  media and communications departmentf from an ethnic journalist who studied on Pacific Island Media Association (PIMA) Scholarship to add colour to a relatively "White" NZ media scene. He is a part-time bus driver, and knows Auckland extensively. Seeing the barriers to a White Media, he runs his blog, FIJI PUNDIT and is active on social media. Other observations of Auckland Council are to come later.]

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