From today speeds in the city centre, and many other roads around the region have been reduced in Auckland Transport’s bid to lower the amount of deaths and serious injuries (DSI) on our roads. All up, about 700km of roads will have speed limits changed.
New speed limits on more than 600 roads across Auckland came into force this morning.
As part of Auckland Transport’s (AT’s) Safe Speeds programme, there are now lower speed limits for Auckland’s city centre, and on some roads in the Rodney Local Board and the Franklin Local Board areas.
Speed limits on approximately 100 other roads across the region also changed.
New data shows that in 2019, 40 people died on our roads and an additional 567 were seriously injured.
Franklin Local Board had the highest level of death and serious injury (DSi) among all rural local boards in 2019; and the highest rate of serious road injuries (123) per capita, out of all rural local boards in 2019.
In the Rodney Local Board area, the level of DSi has gone down by 36 per cent from 2018.
Auckland Transport’s executive general manager of safety, Bryan Sherritt, says while this is good news in the Rodney Local Board area, there is still a long way to go.
“In 2019, 40 people tragically lost their lives and 567 people were seriously injured on Tāmaki Makaurau roads. Absolutely no one should lose their life simply getting around our city – so we have to keep working hard.”
“This is why today some roads around Auckland had their speed limit reduced as part of the Speed Limits Bylaw.”
Mr Sherritt says thousands of people call Auckland city centre their home.
“Streets are shared by children, senior citizens, people driving, walking, cycling, scooting or motorbiking. To keep them safe, and to make speeds survivable in case of a crash, most speed limits went down from 50km/h to 30km/h today in the city centre.”
“However, Nelson, Hobson and Fanshawe Streets each have a new speed limit of 40km/h, down from 50km/h. Some shared streets like Federal Street continue to have a 10km/h speed limit.”
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Senior Road Safety Manager Fabian Marsh says speed is a factor in every crash.
“Even when it isn’t the cause, the speed a vehicle is travelling at can be the difference between someone walking away unharmed or being seriously injured or even killed, particularly when pedestrians or cyclists are involved. These changes will make Auckland’s streets safer for everyone who uses them.”
These changes have been a long time coming, and I don’t just mean since October last year when the AT board agreed to the change, or from February 2019 when the agency first launched consultation on the changes, but years of there clearly needing to be something done prior to then.
This video from last year gives an excellent background to why the changes are needed
Over the last few years DSI has come down from a recent peak in 2017 but still remain above what they should be. This graph comes from Auckland Transport.
The roads in the city centre roads are the ones that will be experienced by the most people – although the actual experience doesn’t change as most people aren’t able to travel faster than 30km/h though the city at most times and the average at peak times is just 19km/h. Queen St and parts of Wynyard Quarter were already 30km/h so aren’t shown on the map below as didn’t need to change. Queen St is also one of the examples AT use of these types of changes being successful. They say that since the speed limits on parts of it changed to 30/km/h in 2008, there was a 39.8% reduction in crashes and a 36% reduction in deaths and serious injuries. The 2009 changes to Ponsonby Rd that saw it reduced to 40km/h has seen a 50% reduction in DSI there.
What is noticeable on the map is that pocket of streets on the Northeastern side of Ponsonby Rd.
The version below shows the scale of the changes across the region, with the majority in rural areas.
The new speed limit signs have been installed for a few weeks now and have had a sticker over them that just needed to be peeled off.
It’s good these changes have now been made, and now question becomes, where next. This was meant to be the first of at least three tranches of changes but so far there has been no word on when or even if the next stages will happen.