Auckland transport are today launching consultation about changing speed limits on 700km of roads around the Auckland Region. That’s about 10% of all local roads in Auckland and of those that AT are looking to make changes to, about 90% are rural roads.
Auckland Transport wants to dramatically reduce deaths and serious injuries on the region’s roads. It is proposing a new bylaw to reduce speeds on some of Auckland’s most dangerous roads.
From tomorrow, AT is seeking public feedback on its plans. The consultation is open for submissions until Sunday 31 March.
AT Chairman Dr Lester Levy says that lowering speeds is one of the quickest and most effective tools we have to reduce road trauma. “Auckland is facing a road safety crisis and our top priority is to address this. We want Aucklanders to give us feedback on our draft bylaw, for us to continue our work to make our streets healthier and safer for everyone.”
AT has identified the areas that pose the greatest safety risk. This includes roads with high death and serious injury rates as well as those with large numbers of vulnerable road users – those walking, riding bikes and on scooters.
Approximately 90 per cent of the total area AT wants to reduce the speeds of are rural roads. In urban areas, such as the city centre and some town centres, the new proposed speed limit will be 30km/h.
AT Chief Executive Shane Ellison says AT is using robust, independent data to determine safe and appropriate speeds. “We appreciate that some parties believe 30km/h is too slow and that 40km/h is more appropriate, however our first priority is peoples’ lives.
“For roads in built-up areas like the city and town centres, where there is a higher number of people walking, cycling and e-scootering, the safe impact speed is internationally defined as 30km/h and there is a mountain of research to support this.
“The impact on a child being hit by a car is different to the impact on a healthy adult. Our priority is to make our roads safe for the most vulnerable.”
Another common concern is that slowing speeds will make journey times significantly slower. Mr Ellison says, “There is also local and international research to show that journey times will be slowed, but only by a few seconds. Those few seconds just aren’t worth a life.
“Research shows that reducing the maximum speed from 100km/h to 80km/h on a 10km length of road increases the trip time by 30 to 48 seconds. That’s a small price to pay.”
If adopted the proposed speed limit changes will come into effect in August this year. Find out which streets are included in the proposed changes and to provide feedback.
It’s good to finally see this consultation emerge. Changing speed limits, while not being the only solution, are some of the fastest and cheapest interventions that AT can make.
You can also watch this being announced yesterday below. This includes some good comments from Shane as well as Lester, Councillor Chris Darby, Waitemata Local Board Chair Pippa Coom and Rodney Local Board member Louise Johnston. One thing that is really positive to see with these proposed changes is the strong support from local politicians as having them fighting the changes would obviously make much needed changes harder.
It is important that AT treat this consultation as about making sure they find out any information they may have missed about their proposals and not view it as a popularity contest. We know there are plenty of people who can’t stand the thought of slowing down for even few seconds and so there are bound to be plenty of submissions opposing the changes.
One of the leading voices in this regard is the AA who have responded by calling for safety to be comprised and calling it “a step too far“. They even suggest their members want speed limits on roads the like Nelson St to be increased. What they forget in all of this is that city streets aren’t just about catering to people driving in from the suburbs to work but also about supporting locals, and the city centre is the fastest growing area in the country, now home to a population larger than Invercargill. This is on top of the tens of thousands of people arriving in the city by public transport who then walk to work, university, shops or whatever else they’re doing in the city.
As for how AT chose the changes they did, below is the criteria for it depending on the type of road.
And AT have also provided this list of areas where the 30km/h limit has worked, including in Auckland.
There’s more information on the AT website and AT will be sending out information to thousands of people who live on or near roads that may be impacted. There will also be open days and I’m sure plenty more discussion over the month the consultation is open for.