Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Blanket speed limit reductions will take our city backwards

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Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown says heavy traffic congestion and long journey times cost Auckland’s economy over $1 billion a year. Times file photo Wayne Martin
  • By Simeon Brown, MP for Pakuranga

Last week, Auckland Transport (AT) made the decision to go ahead with another round of speed limit reductions across Auckland, which are set to reduce speed limits on more than 1600 roads.

This includes several of our key local arterials in east Auckland, with speed limits being lowered on Pakuranga Road, Ti Rakau Drive and Te Irirangi Drive, among others.

And this is just the start – this process will not stop until every single road in Auckland and across New Zealand has had its speed limit reviewed and ultimately reduced.

Heavy traffic congestion and long journey times already cost Auckland’s economy over $1 billion a year, lowering productivity and resulting in frustration and wasted time for commuters.

Instead of improving our roads and transport links and making it easier for Aucklanders to get around, Auckland Transport and the Government seem determined to slow everything down.

And for what? They claim that measures like speed limit reductions and raised crossings are in the name of safety, yet there is little evidence changes like these have the desired effect.

AT aren’t the only ones to blame for this approach. These changes are being driven by a Labour Government that is forcing local roading authorities to reduce speed limits across New Zealand in a misguided attempt to make it difficult to get around and to ultimately try and force motorists out of their cars.

But the reality is that, for most people, commuting in a private vehicle is the only option they have; the alternatives just don’t cut it.

Instead of slowing things down, AT needs to take a hard look at its long-term planning and invest ratepayers’ money into projects that will actually provide a benefit to Aucklanders, both in terms of safety and a streamlined transport network.

Blanket speed limit reductions are a lazy attempt to try and make our roads safer when there are many other factors which need to be focussed on. Fixing potholes to make our roads safer might be a good place to start!

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