Slamming the brakes on speeding cars

Auckland Transport is considering reducing the 50km/h speed limit on Shelly Beach Parade in Cockle Bay in an effort to tackle unsafe driving in the area. Times photo Wayne Martin

Speeding hoons plaguing an east Auckland suburb may finally be forced to slow down.

Cockle Bay local Danny Wright is leading a campaign by residents to increase road safety by reducing the speed some drivers travel through his community.

He took part in a public meeting on the issue in July this year with Botany MP Christopher Luxon and Auckland Transport manager Melanie Alexander that drew about 75 people.

Residents are fed up with drivers performing burnouts, revving their engines and driving at excessive speeds.

The situation escalated in May this year when a vehicle crashed in Pah Road, resulting in serious injuries to one of its occupants.

Numerous ideas to address the problem were put forward at the public meeting including erecting signs stating certain areas are being monitored, installing cameras, increasing the lighting at Shelly Beach Parade and reducing that road’s speed limit from 50km/h to 20km/h.

Wright suggested speed bumps or chicanes could be installed on the road and a bylaw introduced to ban loitering at Cockle Bay Beach.

He told the Times there’s been several minor crashes in the area since the public meeting was held.

“There’s been a couple of smaller ones and a couple of near misses.

“A car mounted the kerb and went through a fence on the corner, but that’s a regular occurrence.

“I get woken up at 2am by cars coming down there.

“They’re breaking the sound barrier and you can hear the wind whistling off them as they fly through.”

On December 2 Wright met near his home with people including AT’s Melanie Alexander and her colleague Sol Hessell, Cockle Bay Residents and Ratepayers chairman Laurie Slee, local resident Barry Wood and a representative of Luxon’s local electorate office, to further efforts to tackle the problem.

Wright says the group showed the AT officials the “specific risks in the area and the hindrances to road safety”.

“Particularly with the schools, kindergarten, playgrounds and how busy the beach would be, the scouts den, and the restaurant on Shelly Beach Parade,” he says.

“We explained that road has a 50km/h speed limit, which is ridiculous.

“They were surprised to know it’s a 50km/h, being a short, residential dead-end with a boat ramp and car parking on each side.

“Then we took them to Pah Road and Cockle Bay Road and showed them the speed that cars come down through the dip, where a lot of accidents happen.

“They were surprised to see the amount of pedestrian traffic and there’s no crossing.”

Wright says AT has committed to working with locals early next year to address the problems caused by speeding drivers.

“I’m absolutely hopeful it will be resolved soon. I’m confident it will be.

“We still need support from residents with regard to camera systems that have been proposed and we need to put our hands in our pockets to do some kind of fundraising to be able to finalise that.”

More than 40 residents made submissions via the AT website in favour of lowering the speed limit on Shelly Beach Parade, Wright says.

An AT spokeswoman says the organisation is “looking at” a speed limit reduction on Shelly Beach Parade but had no further comment.