Thursday, April 18, 2024

Speed limits being slashed on local roads

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The speed limit in part of Cockle Bay’s Shelly Beach Parade is falling from 50km/h to 20km/h. Times photo Wayne Martin

Motorists using numerous local roads will need to ease up on the accelerator with speed limits set to fall as part of a campaign to save lives and prevent serious injuries.

Auckland Transport’s (AT’s) board has approved speed limit changes on more than 1600 of the city’s roads, but not everyone is backing the changes.

Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown says they’ll worsen the city’s traffic problems without providing real benefits.

AT executive general manager of safety Stacey van der Putten says the changes will be mainly around schools as well as around rural marae, high-risk rural roads, town centres, and some residential roads.

They’ll come into effect in stages between December this year and March next year, she says.

“In Auckland we have a shocking number of deaths and serious injuries from road trauma.

“Evidence shows speed is a factor in more than 70 per cent of injury crashes in New Zealand.

“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.”

Van der Putten says fatalities reduced by 30 per cent in the following two-year period in areas where speed limits were changed in June 2020.

However, Brown says: “Speed limit reductions should be focused on high-risk areas and roads, and there’s little evidence to suggest a one-size-fits-all approach like this will make any real difference.

“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.

“We know these speed limit reductions are being forced onto local road-controlling authorities by a Labour Government intent on slowing people down, without making the investment needed to give people other options.”

Numerous busy local roads will see their speed limits reduced as part of the changes.

Only five roads in Howick are impacted, while 30 in Pakuranga are eyed for reductions.

Four sections of Pakuranga Road are dropping from 60km/h to 50km/h.

Part of Ti Rakau Drive falls from 60km/h to 50km/h.

The other reductions in Pakuranga are mainly in residential roads which go from 50km/h to 30km/h.

Two parts of Botany Road will fall from 60km/h to 50km/h, as will part of Cascades Road.

Four sections of Te Irirangi Drive are changing.

Two parts are dropping from 60km/h to 50km/h, another from 80km/h to 50km/h, and one from 80km/h to 60km/h.

Part of Chapel Road in Dannemora is falling from 60km/h to 50km/h, as is the full length of Harris Road in East Tamaki.

Part of Accent Drive in Flat Bush will fall from 60km/h to 50km/h.

The lengths of Avoca Road, Alexander Street, and Advene Road in Cockle Bay will fall from 50km/h to 30km/h.

Part of Shelly Beach Parade in the same suburb will lower from 50km/h to 20km/h.

The changes in Cockle Bay will be welcomed by residents who have been campaigning for years to stop speeding drivers plaguing their community.

Among them is Danny Wright, who previously told the Times it was “totally understandable” for Shelly Beach Parade’s speed limit to drop.

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