Auckland Transport (AT) is asking for feedback on a proposal to change the speed limits of approximately 800 roads around the region.
Most of the proposed changes involve 462 roads near 57 schools around the region and 208 rural roads.
From 27 September, AT will seek feedback on the proposal, which also includes roads in Ōtara Town Centre, residential roads in Manurewa as well as roads, mostly in Ponsonby and Freemans Bay, that have been requested by communities.
AT is legally required to investigate speed limits and, when it finds speed limits are not safe and appropriate, is legally required to make changes.
AT’s Road Safety Engineering Manager, Michael Brown, says the proposed new limits will support travel speeds that are safe and appropriate for the function, design and use of the roads.
“Improving safety around schools is an area of focus for AT as well as central government. These proposed changes will help to make it safer for children walking or cycling to school.
“Research shows there is strong community support for speed limit changes with 78 per cent of people supporting speed reductions around schools,” says Mr Brown.
Mr Brown adds that most of the proposed changes will have little impact on journey times for motorists.
“On 90 per cent of these roads, many drivers are already travelling much slower than the current speed limit due to the conditions. In rural areas, that’s often because the roads are narrow and windy. And in urban areas, it’s due to things like speed humps, congestion and knowing that the current speed limit is not appropriate.
“While most of the changes we propose will simply bring the posted speed limit into line with the speeds people are already travelling, it is important that these changes are made. Speed limits that are set too high can become a target for drivers to aim for, plus they can prevent the police from addressing those travelling at unsafe speeds.”
Mr Brown says some of the proposed changes are on high-risk roads - where there’s a greater chance of deaths or serious injuries occurring.
“In these instances, the proposed changes would create a very slight increase in journey times. For example, on Linwood Road near Karaka where speeds were changed last year, we know that a typical nine-minute journey is around 30 to 50 seconds longer. But the changes will help to reduce the chance of someone getting seriously hurt or killed.”
Between January and August this year, 41 people were killed on Auckland roads.
AT welcomes changes to legislation
In the near future, the Ministry of Transport and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency (as the national regulator) are expected to introduce a new Land Transport Rule: Setting of Speed Limits 2021.
Mr Brown says he expects the new legislation will make it faster and easier for AT to implement safe speed limits of 30 km/h around urban schools.
“At the moment, there are roads near schools where there is strong support for safe speed limits, but the current legislation would require us to implement engineering measures (like speed humps) to bring vehicle speeds down before speed limit changes can be considered. Engineering is expensive, disruptive and not practical or appropriate in some locations.
“Engineering measures are effective and we’ll continue to use them where needed, but many of these communities would embrace lower speeds now and the proposed legislative changes will assist us in meeting community needs faster.”
Auckland Transport is seeking public feedback on the proposed speed limit changes until 14 November 2021.
For more information and to provide feedback, please go to Proposed Speed Limit Changes.