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.

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  1. There are many streets that seem to be missing that I think should be 30km/h.

    – Curran St (primary school)
    – Wellington St (primary school)
    – Sarsfield St and all of the other streets covered by the Herne Bay walking and cycling improvements
    – John St in Ponsonby – should probably be 20km/h given how narrow it is.

    As an AA member, I think this is a step not far enough. What other streets are missing?

      1. +1000. Howe St and Wellington St have two schools – AKL Girls Grammar on Howe, and Freemans Bay Primary on Wellington St which crosses Howe. Plus a creche on Howe between the two schools. There is only one safe crossing near Howe/Hopetoun far from but not farther down where most kids cross. I live on Howe and regularly see drivers descend the hill at breakneck speeds to reach the motorway on ramp. Crashes and incidents are common.

        1. The proposal is to protect vulnerable road users. Generally children are regarded as vulnerable road user but not in the present proposal.
          Freemans Bay school is the main primary school for the inner city. One side is on Napier street which will have 30K limit the main entrance on Wellington street has a 50K limit reducing to 40 for short period of the day.

          Auckland Girls Grammar has entrances onto Hopetoun and Howe Street.

          It is proposed that these roads will remain at 50. Given that the surrounding main roads are reduced to 30, they are likely to get an increase in traffic, which will make them more dangerous. The current proposal makes the roads around the schools less safe and does not protect vulnerable children it puts them at a greater risk.

    1. Since you are an AA member, perhaps you should write to them and explain that you currently disagree with their public messaging and that they are not representing all members?
      Would be interesting to know their response.

      1. The vast majority of AA members are members for a breakdown service. It’s about time that this myth about the AA representing the views of their members across a wide range of issues was called out for what it is. I don’t know why AT and others even consider their views to be representative of the motoring public’s views on road safety and other matters.

        1. I agree. I belong for the breakdown service too, and hardly ever find myself agreeing with the positions AA claims to have surveyed its members on. Surely AA must read this blog?

    2. I have already posted about the Freemans Bay anomaly especially seeing it is a geographically discrete area bounded by the Motorway and just three ridge top arterials. However I will take the current offering in preference to any delay, or up speeding and agitate for speedy progress on a second tranche of roads that must fix this illogical anomaly.

      1. The cynic in me, probably unkindly, sees the retention of the remainder of Freemans Bay at 50kph as a control group to compare results.
        Anyway I think AT under it’s new management and with Council support is to be congratulated on taking, what is really a brave initiative. If only the Government would now follow and drop the default open road limit to 80kph with higher speed limits set on a case by case basis for the lower risk roads.

      2. On second thoughts there is probably more logic to the descision to include a only small part of Freemans Bay then I have given AT credit for.
        The CBD is a defined area, and the rapidly changing transport scene, a very poor accident record and massive population growth made dropping speed limits eminently sensible but
        predictably very contentious.
        Just to the west, between the already speed lowered Ponsonby Road and the CBD the formerly accident prone speedway Franklin Road has had a temporary speed restriction of 30kph for the last two years. To the north of this is a network of narrow streets totally unsuitable for 50kph travel. It would be nonsensical, in fact dangerous to to restore a 50kph speed limit to Franklin Road at the end of the current reconstruction. It therefore made sense to add Franklin Road and an adjacent area to the CBD proposal. The area should have been larger, but I can see a reason for AT wishing not to enlarge the fight it knew it was going to have over this significant first step.

    3. Also missing:

      – College Hill (except for 25m of it) – cars regularly drive at 70-80km/h up it past the school.
      – Jervois Rd

      Why do these roads miss out, when similar arterial roads like Fanshawe, Franklin and Victoria Street are being enhanced to 30km/h.

      Also, Ponsonby Rd to stay at 40km/h, instead of taking the opportunity to enhance it to 30km/h.

      1. I agree. There would be more consistency and less overall resistance if they did this in fewer steps with bigger areas.

        Ellison is calling for transformation. He needs to set the process up for success. I don’t think that means a piecemeal approach.

      2. Also missing- every residential street not in grey lynn/ city! There is no reason for our residential street in Mt roskill to have a 50km (effectively 60km) speed limit is there?
        Why not lower the default speed limit to 40 everywhere?

    4. I see it like a first tranche, and I would fully expect another one at some point. What is missing are basically all the other town centres. Near me Highbury (Birkenhead) for example.

  2. Yeah, I’m and AA member and they definitely don’t represent me.
    They are picking the wrong battle to fight.

    but I just can’t fathom how it costs $24 million to change a few thousand road signs. Someone is getting a nice profit margin there.

    So 630km of rural road go from 100 to 95.
    And 69km of urban road go from 50 to 45.
    And 1km of city road goes to 30.
    Some existing shared spaces finally posted at 10kmph instead of 50.
    Seems like it will not really be much change.

    I think its a safe bet that not a single bus will be doing 30kmph on Fanshawe St.

    1. AT have definitely chosen the low-hanging fruit in terms of the rural – urban balance, haven’t they? Still, this is change in the right direction.

      For tranche two, I hope they really publicise the information about how every road trauma death that is saved in urban areas by reducing the speeds to 30, several others are saved from the healthy streets the lower speeds bring in.

    2. Let’s say it costs $1000 per sign (yikes) then 24 mil would change 24000 signs. Unlikely huh. I imagine all the money goes to consultants etc.

      1. $1,000 is about right for a sign. Remember you have to control traffic to keep the workmen safe, and supply and install a pole in a concrete foundation.

        They are doing 900km, you need repeater signs every 1km, that alone is 1,800 signs. Legally the ones at every point where the speed limit decreases have to be gated, so that’s even more.

        If you are in a rural area (where 90% of the roads are) you probably need a full speed threshold at the end where the speed limit goes down. That likely means a load of new planting, some hug signs, redoing a load of marking, possibly lighting too.

        As much as some people like to bemoan consultants, you also need people to design all of this civils works.

        1. It would be much cheaper just to lower the default speed limit, right? If 80km/hr was the default and 100km/hr was only on well maintained state highways, we wouldn’t need signs every few metres to remind people.

        2. Assuming that we are eventually going to do this everywhere, the cheapest way to do it is to reduce the open road speed limit to 80km/h (maybe with a 100km/h national speed limit on motorways) and then increase it on specific safer roads.

          That is going to cost a lot more than $24m though. As you would have to re-sign every single 100km/h limit road in the country, and you would still have to sign the 60km/h, 50km/h, 40km/h, and 30 km/h roads in this package.

          Your approach is cheaper overall, but would take years, lots of political capital, and hundreds of millions of dollars..

        3. Many signs just need to be changed rather than installing a whole new pole etc. where did you get the sign every 1km figure from?
          Someone is definitely clipping the ticket here. Millions could go towards other projects.

    3. Maybe get into the sign making business….. although your numbers are out re km of road. Just Hobson St is over 1 km.

      Yes buses wont stick to 30 kph (or other limits). But of course neither will 90% of all other traffic (including cyclists)

      As for AA, they even stated that 62% of members were against the 30 kph limit. I can’t recall the for and don’t know. A bit like GA, you don’t have to agree with everything a lobby group says.

      1. In yesterday’s comments, there was discussion of places where enforcement was increased, bringing in a different level of compliance. I’m not sure whether you think that NZ drivers are ‘unique’ in being resistant to this, or if you’ve given up on the Police. They were severely underfunded in this regard – and I’m not sure that’s really been fixed. With enforcement, of course people will be driving to the limit. Fanshawe St is a high risk road, with many vulnerable users. It needs far better pedestrian priority at the traffic lights, too. Once this is brought in, there will absolutely no point in trying to go above 30 km/hr anyway. That’s just wasting fuel, adding danger and emissions to accelerate and decelerate between signals.

        The opt-in nature of an AA survey is not something to be pitted against evidence around safety. They need to be asked which people they are willing to sacrifice in their ‘compromise’. They have no ethical basis at all for suggesting that such a high level of risk to children and people walking and cycling should remain just for the benefit of drivers gaining a few seconds, if that. Their stance is immoral.

        1. Re Pedestrian safety on Fanshawe Street – a quick win would be to make the pedestrian crossing outside Airnz allow pedestrians to cross BOTH sides for the ENTIRE TIME that the Fanshawe/Beaumont traffic lights are in the go phase for Beaumont Street, both turning phase and straight through phase.

          The current timing of the crossing when combined with the light phasing at Halsey and Beaumont Streets, mean many pedestrians cross when there are no cars, despite being against the red man.

        2. Agree. It’s incredibly dangerous having it split. Also, the painting on the road is not intuitive. People naturally avoid the barriers, and the strip you can walk in that avoids the barriers looks just like the strip that takes you to the barriers. Tourists can and do mistake where they should walk, pass over the median and head for the park, not expecting any cars to be on a green, nor that they would come so fast.

          As for the offramp from the motorway that becomes a slip lane into Beaumont St – what monkey put a pedestrian crossing there with no protection – no raised table, flashing lights, speed humps before it. Nothing.

          Fanshawe St is motorway infrastructure with vulnerable people added. It needs 30 with enforcement, urgently.

  3. Have you seen mention of how these speed limit will be enforced?

    30km/h + 10k (so 40km/h)
    30km/h + 10% (so 33km/h)
    30km/h strict.

    Will they be enforced by:
    – the Policy (cue the Tui ad)
    – perhaps AT can arrange to get delegated authority for enforcing speed limits 50km/h and below.
    – or my favourite, outsource enforcement to 3rd parties and allow anyone to get certified cameras – revenue to be collected by AT and split 50/50 between 3rd party and AT – gather as much revenue as you can – perhaps the cameras could be linked to smart phones and we could gamify speed enforcement.

    1. Love the idea, Brendan. Do you want to join me this afternoon and we’ll visit some Angel Investors and pitch the idea. I’d like to add a tweak whereby 25% of the fines are up for redistribution to registered charities like the pokie funds model. So even if I break the the speed limit I can feel smug about doing good while doing bad.

  4. If the target is 30% car mode share for Viaduct Harbour by 2030 shouldn’t every street in that area be 30kph. (I always wondered whether that figure was to be achieved by building car mode share to 30% in an area where there was almost no development; or, first increasing mode share to whatever level and then trying to decrease it back to 30%. The way that Halsey St has been built with 5 lanes, and this is only one of the entrance points, suggests that the latter approach is being adopted.)

  5. The AA is attempting to give the NZTA an undeserved credibility in setting speed limit guidelines.
    The NZTA as a Government agency is tasked with implementing Government policy. These guidelines were developed in a time when prime Government policy and it’s spending were based around to reducing transport delays for motorists . Motoring amenity ahead of, safety, general amenity, emmision reduction and climate change. Ministerial alignment forms a key driver to all NZTA policy and guidelines. So this was also the time of “education being favoured over enforcement.” Resulting in a reduced the budget for road safety enforcement, dodgy WOFs, and incompetent vehicle certifications. Now New Zealand is an outlier internationally, in having a rapidly increasing road toll after years of hard earned decline.

    1. Have you got any figures to say there will be increased emissions for real urban driving patterns. Accelerate, cruise, slow down/ brake and repeat for the entire speed range between stationary and maximum permitted cruise speeds for a entire journey. Figures for emissions at steady state cruise speeds are totally irrelevant. All the studies I have seen were so qualified or tagged that they were meaningless in the context of this debate.

    2. You would offset this against how many people will now cycle, walk and take PT when coming into City Centre and also against how many more will now bypass City in cars and stick to Motorway bypass.

    3. AT says in their “myths and misconceptions” page: “If the maximum speed limit around a typical town is 50km/h, your average journey speed is between 26km/h and 33 km/h. Safe and appropriate speeds actually result in significant fuel savings.”

      For air quality, the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommends: “20 mph limits without physical measures to reduce speeds in urban areas where average speeds are already low (below around 24 mph) to avoid unnecessary accelerations and decelerations”.

      We thrashed it out in this one:

  6. Some thoughts:

    10kmh as a speed limit? Honestly, just ban cars from these areas. 10kmh is not practical and some speedos won’t even register it.

    50kmh along the Marateai coast seems like the right idea. But not sure why Beachlands’ main road isn’t dropped to 30kmh given they already have judder bars.

    Maki Drive in Westgate/North West is becoming a totally shared space. What rational is it to still have this at 30kmh when other parts of the city have far slower shared spaces?

    Tamaki Drive is a main thoroughfare into the city. Happy with what is proposed so far but extending 30kmh to the whole thing would be unreasonable (especially if it means not doing things like sorting out the actual road space issues, which is forever not being addressed).

    Achilles Pt loop should be 30kmh the whole way around given. As fun as it was to absolutely hammer it up there as a teenager, the playground at the bottom and pedestrians make it pretty stupid these days.

    1. Looks like the only 10km/h areas on the map are the central city shared spaces, plus a couple that are about to become so, and one stretch at the Viaduct where parking is supposed to already be banned anyway (in fact I’m looking down at it right now). So in other words: yes, banning is a much better solution for everyone in those areas.

  7. Mow that the map of affected streets has been published I think that AT has got itself a bit confused. There are two area-wide traffic calming projects (Te Atatu South and Rosehill in Papakura) which are well advanced (consultation held late 2018, implementation imminent) which have now been slated as 30km zones. Area-wide traffic calming is not cheap (an area of 30 suburban streets is likely to cost between half and one million for a mix of speed humps, thresholds, etc. so I do not see the logic in declaring these 30kmph zones as well when there are huge swathes of suburbia as yet with no treatment I see traffic calming as a complementary alternative to changing the posted speed limit and would rather that the two were kept separate rather than muddying the waters by mixing them up.

    1. You’ve identified something that really saddens me: if these existing traffic calming projects have been rolled into the latest announcement, but last year’s elaborate consultations on town centre traffic safety (notably in Glen Eden) no longer appear on the map, presumably they have been shunted out into the never-never. I would *love* to be shown I’m wrong on this.

      1. Hi Sam – I went straight to the map and noticed that glaring omission as well. No update on the AT webpage for the GE project either. An enquiry to AT is certainly in order, and I would like to be proved wrong as I have the same response in assuming it was just too hard to deal with.

        1. There was formal consultation on the speed limit reduction as part of the Glen Eden consultation. There wasn’t as part of the traffic calming projects.

          At have probably included the traffic calming areas and not Glen Eden because they want to reduce the speed limit in all three rather than doing it because of some grand conspiracy.

  8. That’s like asking bathypelagic fish about how salty they like the sea – very poorly designed and self serving survey.

    1. Actually looks like a very well designed survey. With clear questions and options unlike most AT/AC surveys. Maybe needed some write in answers (maybe it did?)
      Of course results would be different if same survey was run on GA (maybe someone could run it here?)
      What it did show as that people (ok a select few) see that one limit doesn’t suit all roads in the cbd or elsewhere and you will find that most people (except the ban all cars brigade) will agree with that.
      I think safety can be improved with better facilities for all users along with changes to speed limits where justified. For example more crossings (all should be signalled or raised) better education of drivers, pedestrians and cylists. Policing of speeds in at risk areas like around schools and more red light cameras.
      I also think tech can play a part. Say an image recognition system could warn someone looking down at phone while stepping into road. Or drivers using phones.

  9. Totally agree with the speed limit drop, but:
    1) Some roads may need traffic calming to assist. We cant rely on enforcement.
    2) Where are the proposals to address intersection safety? The speed reductions are mainly aimed at road link safety.

  10. Articles lose their credibility when they either don’t explain the situation required to get their results or have pretty basic and significant mathematical errors.
    10km @ 100km/h = 6 minutes = 360 seconds
    10km @ 80km/h = 7.5 minutes = 450 seconds

    Difference = 90 seconds, not 48s or 30s.
    Yes it could be true on a road where 100km/h can’t be maintained but it doesn’t say that. And with that explaination there would be fewer complaints.

    Just like the city streets where 30km/h is more than what can be achieved for much of the day.

  11. I think you mader the mistake of taking the journo’s headline as the AAs stance. If you actually read the article it doesn’t say the AA want to compromise safety but instead support speed reductions. They just want them targeted rather than an arbitary blanket rule for the city. Not that controversial!

    1. Yeah, AA don’t want to compromise existing safety performance , should be “AA oppose reducing road deaths”

  12. What’s happening with speed limit reduction in Takapuna?

    Here is the Panuku vision. “The vision is to make the most of Takapuna’s unique sea and lakeside location and create a safe, accessible and vibrant town centre orientated around pedestrians and cyclists.” (In reality I suspect this vision is turning into a living nightmare for Panuku as they struggle to point to a solitary example so far of having made a real difference.)

    All of the area zoned for Terraced Housing and Apartments near the town centre should be 30kph.

  13. Sanity looks to be prevailing when looking at the list where speed limits are to be reduced. In most cases, they simply reflect the average speeds now, while in others, especially in rural areas, they reflect the changing nature of the roads and their surrounds, especially in areas that have become part of the urban expansion.

    1. Trumpian levels of dishonesty:

      JT: “Lie about AT”
      AT: “Stop lying about us, here is an advertising complaint”
      JT: “How dare you be so arrogant to challenge me, anyway, I’m not lying, here is a leaflet you produced that backs me up”
      AT, and a newspaper notably opposed to the incumbent mayor: “That leaflet doesn’t say anything like what your ads say”.

      I really hope he is forced to pay a massive fine at the advertising standards authority. I’m all for public debate, but debates can’t includes outright lies.

  14. There was an interesting study in the UK a month or two ago,on the impact of 20mph zones (pretty much 30kph). When the speed limit was 30mph the average driverv speed was 31mph, so pretty much on the speed limit. They then studied the same roads again after the 20mph limit was introduced. The average speed was found to have fallen from 31 to 30mph. That’s a lot of spending on signs and road humps to achieve basically no change in speed.

      1. You do? Where are they?

        I would imagine any successful examples would feature significant amounts of street calming that in all likelihood would have achieved the same speed reduction had the posted speed been unchanged.

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