Saturday, May 25, 2024

Confusion over blank speed limit signs

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Auckland Transport has temporarily blanked out speed limit signs on some roads in east Auckland. Times photo Wayne Martin

Blanked out speed limit signs on roads across east Auckland are causing confusion but the agency responsible says it’s followed the correct process.

Auckland Transport (AT) announced last year that following a public consultation period, it was reducing the speed limits on 1600 roads in the city, including numerous local roads.

It’s part of an ongoing effort to save lives and prevent serious injuries resulting from traffic crashes.

The changes are coming into effect in stages between December last year and March this year.

“Evidence shows speed is a factor in more than 70 per cent of injury crashes in New Zealand,” AT said last year.

“We need to do everything we can to create safe school neighbourhoods so parents feel confident their children can walk, bike, or scooter to school.”

The lower speed limits are opposed by people including Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown, who previously told the Times the reductions should be focused on high-risk areas and roads.

“Speed is just one factor when it comes to traffic accidents and things like driver inattention or inexperience and poor road maintenance are just as significant.”

Numerous busy local roads will see their speed limits reduced as part of the changes including sections of Pakuranga Road, Ti Rakau Drive, Botany Road and Te Irirangi Drive.

As part of the changes, the speed limit signs have had their numbers covered over, resulting in numerous posts on local community Facebook pages by people confused as to what speed limit they’re supposed to obey.

Brown says he’s been contacted by a large number of people about the problem.

“The blanked-out speed limit signs everywhere are confusing motorists.

“I’m opposed to this radical speed limit reduction plan they’ve imposed on Auckland.

“I’ve had huge numbers of people getting in touch about it.

“They’re confused, frustrated, they didn’t feel like they were able to have their say and that’s something they’re really irritated about.”

AT spokesperson Natalie Polley says the signs are blanked out as part of the rollout of phase three of the agency’s speed limit changes to roads across the city.

She says the changes to local roads are due to take effect on January 26.

“New signs are being pre-installed in preparation for the change, with the number temporarily covered over.

“The default urban speed limit is 50kmh in areas where other signs are not displayed.

“So if the only signs present are covered over, then a 50kmh speed limit still applies until January 26.

“There are some roads with current 60km/h or 80km/h speed limits within this area.

“For speed limit changes on non-50km/h roads, the correct installation process is to install the new signs and have a temporary speed sticker/overlay with the old speed limit over it.

“Then on January 26, the overlays’ removed.”

Polley says AT’s contractor faced delays in manufacturing the temporary speed overlays due to the Christmas holidays.

“Now they have all the temporary speed overlays ready so they will be installed as soon as possible.”

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