This was one of several topics discussed by a small group of us unhappy with the NZTA & KCDC proposals for the Main Road who met last Saturday.

NZTA & KCDC don’t actually propose a crossing here (they want traffic lights for the whole Ngaio Road intersection instead), but it’s where we’ve observed a lot of people crossing at peak commuter times in weekday mornings and evenings.

We are unhappy with the intention of putting traffic lights at the Ngaio Road intersection — a case could have been made for them in SH1 days, but not now.

Types of pedestrian crossings

For those interested, there are detailed pdf’s on the NZTA website on their design here and here, but a brief summary is as follows:

Refuge island crossing

basic refuge islands on Te Moana Road

Refuge Islands
For pedestrians:

  • These help to cross the road in two stages, treating each half of the road as a separate crossing.
  • Vehicles have priority over pedestrians.

For drivers:

  • Vehicles have priority, but…
  • They need to be aware of people waiting to cross and slow down just in case.

Puffin Crossings
These are relatively new and are traffic light controlled, but instead of timers, detectors tell when people are waiting; they also “watch” the crossing and control the signals while they are crossing.  Pedestrians get enough time to cross — but the signals don’t stay on red for motorists once people have crossed.

For pedestrians:

  • They must wait for the green figure signal on the poles next to/opposite where they wait to cross before stepping into the road.

For drivers:

  • It has a standard traffic light sequence, but the lights change to green as soon as the crossing is clear.

Zebra Crossings (as they are called in the UK)
These consist of wide longitudinal white stripes on the road perpendicular to the crossing route, sometimes with Belisha beacons 


  • Wait until traffic from both directions has stopped before attempting to cross.


  • Look for people waiting to cross and be ready to slow down or stop to let them cross.
  • Must yield when someone is on a crossing, unless they are on the other side of the road and it has a refuge island.

Pelican Crossings (as they are called in the UK)
Rather like a zebra crossing, but with traffic lights: the pedestrians push buttons to get a red stop signal for motorists and a green “cross” signal for them:

  • They have timers for pedestrians, often showing a “don’t cross” flashing warning when there is not much time left, or a countdown in seconds.


  • Stop when the red Stop light shows.
  • Should be prepared to yield to pedestrians who are still crossing when the light has changed to green – they may be elderly or disabled.