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7/08/2019 11:00 a.m.
A Council committee has recommended that lower speed limits on roads across Waipā district be adopted at the next council meeting later this month.
More than 200 changes were considered including reducing the speed limit to 40km/h in both Te Awamutu and Cambridge town centres, adding more 50 and 60km/h zones in urban areas and adding more 60 and 80km/h zones in rural areas.
After discussion, the committee passed a majority vote to recommend the changes be formally adopted at the next Council meeting on 27 August.
Waipa District Council transportation manager Bryan Hudson said yesterday’s decision was a good step in our journey towards safer roads.
“Research has shown speed to be a factor in 34 per cent of high severity rural crashes on Waipā roads so lowering speed limits is a huge step towards making our roads safer. Regardless of whether speed is the cause of a crash, it is always a major factor in the outcome. ”
The decision was initially deferred in June, after councillors requested more time to consider the 576 submissions received following an extensive community engagement and consultation process over the past 12 months.
Hudson said community input into the recommended speed changes had been an important part of the process.
“As engineers we consider things like road width, use and road side hazards which present risk, when reviewing a speed limit, but we’re not the ones who drive the roads every day. Our community has provided some valuable guidance. That said, we are also mandated by the Land Transport Act to factor in crash risk and other road safety data available for each road when making these decisions.”
Following consultation Council made nearly 20 changes to the proposed bylaw as a result of community feedback; reducing speeds near more schools and retirement villages, and ensuring slower speeds in rural areas are targeted at risky areas such as intersections.
Hudson acknowledged that there were some roads where community feedback was not reflected in the changes, but assured residents that didn’t mean their comments were not heard.
“We received feedback about Frontier Road and Paterangi Road in Te Awamutu where the community felt a lower speed was not necessary. However, when considering the number of crashes on those roads and the fact that actual travel speeds are significantly lower than 100km/h already, Council felt the suggested reductions in speed were justified.”
The proposed speed limit changes are supported by key road safety partners including NZ Police, NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) and NZ Automobile Association (AA).