Traffic lights are a recipe for disaster’

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A Frankton mum fears pedestrians will be killed by motorists who continually run red lights on a busy local road. 

Karyn Duncan wants the speed limit changed along Kawarau Road from 70kmh to 50kmh and drivers to be more aware of the crossing after she and her son almost got hit by a female driver two weeks ago. 

The busy Kawarau Rd hosts the only three sets of traffic lights in Queenstown – one is for the one-lane Kawarau Bridge and the other two, near Humphrey and Ross Streets, operate only when people want to cross the road. 

The crossing near Humphrey St is mostly used by parents and kids walking to and from Remarkables Primary, and it’s the spot that concerns Duncan after witnessing several red-light floutings. 

“I’m really scared a child’s going to get taken out there,” she says. “We just about got killed as we were half-way across the road two weeks ago. It was prime-time, 8.30am, when people are taking their kids to school. 

“I had to push my seven-year-old son out of the way so he didn’t get hit. 

“I heard her accelerating – she was just getting faster and faster,” Duncan fumes. 

“I threw my hands up at the driver and pointed at the lights and she just kind of raised her hands and waved. It all happened so quickly.” 

Duncan says she’s seen ski transportation buses, local passenger buses, a concrete truck and local businesspeople driving sign-written vehicles ignore the red lights and speed straight through without acknowledging youngsters and their parents. 

The concerned mother has complained to police several times and reported vehicle licence plates. 

Police have told her they’ve been speaking to the woman involved in the most recent incident. 

“I won’t let my son walk to school on his own.” 

Yesterday, local cops met with New Zealand Transport Agency officials, Queens­town Lakes District Council and a school travel coordinator to discuss the danger spot. 

QLDC transport boss Denis Mander says there are several issues with the lights that’ll be investigated – trimming trees and possibly removing carparks that obscure the lights, reviewing signal times, getting supervisors at the crossing and raising awareness. Changing the speed limit is unlikely at this stage. 

Senior sergeant John Fookes says authorities are taking the matter seriously because it’s a state highway running between a school and a residential zone: “It’s a recipe for disaster,” he says.