This is a guest post from Healthy Streets Alliance spokesperson Ellie Craft
This week we launched the Healthy Streets Alliance. The alliance is made up of citizens’ advocacy groups and non-profit charities, including NZ School Speeds, Brake the road safety charity, Doctors for Active Sustainable Transport, Visual Impairment Charitable Trust Aotearoa (NZ), Greater Auckland, Generation Zero, Urban Auckland, Incorporated Society for Alternative Housing Developments, Bike Auckland, Cycling Action Network, Grey Lynn 2030, Living Streets Aotearoa, Women in Urbanism Aotearoa, Urban Design Forum, Sky Path, the Auckland City Centre Residents Group, and Transition Towns Point Chevalier.
The breadth of the alliance reflects a widespread understanding that redesigning streets to encourage healthier travel options is a highly effective way to nurture healthier, more sustainable communities.
We believe streets can be reclaimed as actively healthy spaces that encourage healthier travel options, like walking, cycling, and taking public transport. Healthier streets are more equitable and more sustainable. And turning this situation around begins with setting safer speeds.
The evidence is in, safer speeds lower the death and serious injury rate, by reducing the likelihood and severity of crashes. A local example is Queen Street, in Auckland, where deaths and serious injuries dropped by 36% after the speed limit was lowered from 50km/h to 30km/h in 2008.
Safer streets are more accessible and welcoming for people of all ages, incomes, and physical abilities, especially those who can’t drive or choose not to. Survivable speeds will help bring neighbourhoods back to life by allowing more people to walk and cycle, providing easy ways to fit physical activity into the day, and restoring healthy, independent travel options for children.
The Alliance has been formed to support a proposed bylaw allowing Auckland Transport to set safer speeds. Aucklanders deserve safer and healthier streets.
Auckland is experiencing a road safety crisis. In 2017, 64 people died and 749 were seriously injured on our road network. There has been a 78% increase in road deaths from 2014-2017. Road deaths are not inevitable. We should design our streets to be safe places.
This is why the Healthy Streets Alliance supports Auckland Transport proposals to lower speeds on 700km of the highest risk urban roads in Auckland. For more about AT’s proposal you can read it online here.
We ask you to support this proposal by submitting to Auckland Transport’s safer speeds proposal online here. Is a very simple survey with just one question, so should only take a minute.
If you’re stuck with what too say, these are the 4 headline points:
- I support the proposed new speed limits on identified high-risk roads.
- I also call on Auckland Transport to introduce default 30km/h speeds around all town centres and schools.
- I support the above speed changes because: slower speeds are safer speeds, and slow streets are more equitable, inclusive, sustainable and healthy.
- I encourage AT to pursue widespread speed changes for our town centres and around our schools, rather than a gradual piecemeal approach, because I believe widespread speed changes are more consistent and thus easier to adapt to.
Note the proposal closes for submissions this Sunday at 5pm, so you’ll to get it done soon!