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.

Councillors Pippa Coom and Chris Darby peeling off the 50km/h

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.

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74 comments

  1. Yeah I am also eager to hear about tranche two and three. We haven’t heard anything yet about these. This is a great start, but obviously most of the urban area’s have been neglected in this first tranche as it mostly focuses on city center and certain rural areas.

    50 is not suitable in the suburbs, most people are doing 55-60 (+5-10). Most suburban arterial roads can drop to 40 as at least 45-50 is more in-line with what was originally supposed to be followed. Side streets are also in dire need of a drop, theres no reason for them to be more than 30, unless being used for rat running the side roads are only supposed to be a last mile to get people to and from residential or businesses along them and make up only a short percentage of their journey anyway.

    It feels like this initial implementation is a “thats it” from AT, with no indication of the further tranches… I hope this is not the case as its pretty inconsistent. Are the rest of the region less worthy of safer speeds and vision zero?

    1. Actually looks like Phase 2 is mentioned and timelined, “The first phase starts 30 June 2020. The second phase begins 30 November 2020 (town centres – Orewa, Mairangi Bay, Torbay) and June 2021 – town centres of West Lynn, St Heliers Bay and Mission Bay.”

      But phase 2 seems very minor compared to phase one? 5 months of waiting just for some rather minor additions? What about the multitude of other town centres, and all the suburban areas in between which have highly unsuitable 50 speed limits? What about Glen Eden reduction to 30 proposed ages ago and completely forgotten about – this could of saved the recent fatality!?

  2. They wussed out of doing changes in Glen Eden after saying there would be 30kmph in and around the town centre and west coast road.

    There’s no real political appetite to save lives from the majority of councilors ( there are a few clear headed ones though).

    1. Yes, let’s fix this:

      “Absolutely no one should lose their life simply getting around our city – so we have to keep working hard.”

      “This is why today we have **made default speed limit changes across the city, in line with Vision Zero.**”

      This should have been led and fronted by the mayor.

  3. Meanwhile, AT’s mates in government have failed to address the continued use of cellphones while driving.

    An $80 fine is hardly a deterrent.

    As a follow on they should look at fining pedestrians who use their phones while crossing the road.

    1. Agree regarding increasing the fine for drivers, it’s crazy that it’s so low.

      However, fining pedestrians would have to be the best example of ‘old man yells at car’ I’ve seen on this blog. Why on earth would we waste Police resources fining pedestrians?

      1. So you expect drivers to be fined for not acting responsibly but not pedestrians because it’s a waste of police resources.

        I could argue that fining motorists for going 5 kmh over the speed limit is also a waste of police resources.

        1. Yes, drivers are putting all other road users at risk, I doubt anyone needs the risks of not being in control of a car explained to them. A pedestrian is largely just putting themselves at risk, while it might be stupid it doesn’t warrant policing.

          Very little Police resource is tied up fining drivers doing 5kmh over the limit as it is mostly done by speed cameras. The cost is the same whether the camera is set up to detect vehicles doing 5 or 10kmh over the limit.

        2. There is also very little evidence that distracted walking contributes to *any* deaths or seriosu injuries.

    2. Agree Vance, walking into traffic staring at a phone should be a fine. Too many people stepping in front of cars. Sad that some defend them. Road safety is the responsibility of everyone on the road, be they on foot, peddling or driving.

      1. It might be a bit different down in Taumarunui but I hardly ever have people walking out in front of me looking at there phones while driving in Auckland.

        Maybe the best solution would be a Ruapehu District Council bylaw…

      2. — “Halleluja”

        You can stop repeating that chant already.

        Hypothetically speaking the problem of pedestrians stepping out in front of cars without looking should be self limiting. Soon they will all be dead and the problem will be solved. That just shows you how stupid that myth is.

        1. But you see, it’s not just a stupid myth. It’s a damaging and insidious one:

          “One third of transportation practitioners surveyed view distracted walking as a large problem, estimating that it was responsible for 40% of pedestrian deaths. Practitioners were more concerned about distracted walking if they primarily use a car or spend little time in pedestrian -oriented areas (windshield bias), or if they work in engineering or public health (professional training). Most importantly, the distracted walking frame does indeed shape policy solutions. Practitioners concerned about distracted walking were more likely to endorse individual-level solutions (like educational campaigns) and were less likely support reducing vehicle speeds. Concern about distracted walking detracts attention from more deadly risk factors, more effective policy approaches, and, most importantly, is inconsistent with the ethos of making streets safe for all users, including children, the elderly, and vision impaired people. Instead of focusing on educational campaigns, practitioners should focus their pedestrian safety efforts on the biggest risk factors and the most effective solutions.”

          https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2590198220300294

    3. I always find it ironic that behaviour that might lead to someone dying is only slightly more than half that of that for not tagging on at a train platform.

  4. what happened to the millions they allocated to keep hobson/nelson 40ks. surely now the budget is so tight they could save that money by just making them 30.

    1. Good point Felix. Keeping Hobson, Nelson and Fanshawe at 40kph was contingent on engineering treatments to make them safe for vulnerable road users (read separated infrastructure for people on bikes)

      From AT press release:

      Under the new Safe Speed Limits Bylaw, there are three important changes to speed limits:

      Following public feedback, most of Auckland’s city centre will have a speed limit of 30km/h (the current 10km/h combined pedestrian and vehicle zones will remain) apart from Hobson, Fanshawe and Nelson Streets which will be 40km/h with engineering treatments to protect vulnerable road users.

      Can be found here:
      https://at.govt.nz/about-us/news-events/safer-speed-limits-to-be-introduced-for-selected-auckland-roads/

      When are the engineering treatments going in? If the budget has been cut and they are not being installed then could the AT Board be liable if they do not change their original decision and drop all streets to 30?

      1. Yes. And we do have a whole world of examples of how to do it cheaply now, thanks to Covid. So they can’t use cost as an excuse.

  5. Hopefully Aucklanders will see that reductions in the posted speed limit don’t cause the sky to fall in. And then when more are proposed they won’t listen to the shrill cries of radio shock jocks trying to manufacture outrage.

    1. Most Aucklanders probably dont care too much about the slow limits in the city as most people dont drive there and the speeds were generally low due to congestion and the stop/start nature of innee city driving.
      It will be a different story if AT try to reduce limits on longer routes like arterials.
      AT wont be able to get away with misleading stats such as average speed as justification.
      I support targeted speed reductions such as town centers and schools but certainly not blanket reductions as many here want.

      1. I’d add suburban streets to that list, I’d love to see my local rat run have a 30kmh limit.

        Arterials are years away from having a reduced speed limit.

      2. When town centers are full of cars and people the vast majority of people do less than 30 km/h anyway IMO. It kind of makes the reduction a bit redundant. What you will get instead is cops pinging people for doing 50 km/h in the middle of the night when all the cars and people are gone. It’s a small price to pay to achieve not very much. Here is a fun fact for you. Injury accidents went into decline after 1985 when the speed limit was raised from 80 km/h to 100 km/h.
        Weight disparity of road users is a key risk factor that the simple answers don’t address. A booming economy exacerbates the weight disparity issue (more heavy freight, more motorcycles). It’s why the road toll tracks the economy. I find it highly hypercritical that a road safety policy would recommend bikes. They are after all something like 16 times more deadly than cars.

        1. Alternatively, and much more sensibly, we should really seriously prioritise making our roads safer for bikes, pedestrians, and other low impact transport technologies.
          Especially now that it has just been revealed that NZ had
          548 FEWER deaths then expected from past years data during the period of our level 3 and 4 lockdowns. This reduction has been attributed to reduced air pollution, which of course in our cities, is largely caused by motorised transport emissions. https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/421085/fewer-deaths-in-lockdown-than-previous-year
          In contrast the UK experienced a near 50% EXCESS deaths over the same period as covid 19 swept through.

        2. Sorry not as an alternative to lowering speeds but as well as, and in conjunction with actively promoting bike use by making appropriate provision.

        3. “Otago University public health professor Nick Wilson told Morning Report seeing a reduction in respiratory diseases was surprising”… this was predicted. Not sure why he’d find it surprising. Important, yes.

        4. Cyclists having their own separate infrastructure would be the ideal for dealing with weight disparity. If it wasn’t for collisions with cars and trucks cycle safety would be much closer to par with cars. There is not a handy way to pay for it. Cyclists effectively use the road for free. There is no fuel or distance tax take to fund infrastructure. ATM cyclist activity is tiny compared to other road users. There is maybe 1 million cycle’s to 3.5 million cars. Cyclists do around 300 km (estimates vary) per year to about 14000 km per car. Car occupancy is around 1.2. This puts cyclists at around 1/2% of car usage.
          Air quality could be improved by electrification of cars and other transport. There may also be ways to make liquid fuels sustainable.

        5. The appropriation of road space previously used by people on foot, bike and horse for motordom happened because the conflicts between users couldn’t be assimilated safely. Although the costs of providing a separated system for drivers should of course be borne by drivers, the automotive industry and road lobby didn’t want to foot the bill.

          The climate, safety, health and equity crises we are in demands that the road space is claimed back for the more sustainable modes now.

        6. “There is not a handy way to pay for it. ”

          We tax motor vehicles and pay for some roads using that money. If we wnat to change the roads to stop motorists killing other road users then the fuel tax levied on motorists should be used to fund it.

        7. “cyclists effectively use the road for free”
          And so do the cars and trucks, on the vast majority of the roads affected by these speed reductions.
          These roads are very largely paid for by property rates.

        8. If someone is brave enough to ride on the roads with the 60 ton trucks and assume the risk, I wouldn’t stop them. Smokers can smoke and die prematurely, nobody will stop them. People can pickle their liver in alcohol every night, nobody will stop them. The only way that they can ride with minimum risk is if they are not on the same road with 60 ton trucks or 2 ton SUV’s. Every other user has a user pays funding model for their infrastructure (except PT). If you think you can eliminate cars and then have cars pay for alternative infrastructure you have failed to think that through.

        9. Joe – I take it that you believe in the principle of ‘might is right’?

          Roads were developed to allow people and goods to access and move between amenities and property safely, whether it be on foot, bike, horse, car or truck. None of these modes has precedence over the other, yet two of them make it unsafe for the other three.

          It’s entirely reasonable for those using the modes that make it unsafe for others to pay at least some the cost of making it safe for them.

          A more accurate version of your argument about smokers would haven been saying that prior to the smokefree legislation in 2004 it was entirely up to staff in bars to decide whether it was worth the risk of going to their workplace where customers were free to smoke. Thankfully the legislation removed the risk for these people and placed the responsibility where it belonged – smokers.

        10. jezza- No I don’t believe in might is right as a moral principle. But in physics terms heavy will always win forcing the greatest velocity change on the lightest in a collision. How things are paid for needs to be sustainable. User pays ensures that popularity will increase available funding, while taxing an alternative will ensure that popularity will decrease funding. If they make developers put in double wide walk and ride footpaths as part of the consent process I wouldn’t care. Everybody is going to complain when their costs go up. With user pays you have an irrefutable moral justification, I just don’t see how it could work for bike infrastructure.

        11. Jezza is proposing user pays. Motorists make roads dangerous by using them so they should pay to make them safe. Roads are safe for everyone else if there are no motorists.

  6. What comes next?
    Interfacing this data with the actual crash locations, and as a group of unsafe road and visibility patterns, actively work to improve these.
    ie, change peripheral items on the road, and provide a suite of more appropriate warnings.
    Speed limits are good, but they don’t address all factors involved in accidents.

  7. Thanks to that map I’ve discovered that Leigh Road between Matakana and Leigh used to be 100 km/h. I thought it was 80 like Warkworth–Matakana. Checked on Google Streetview and sure enough, as you leave Matakana there is one of those white circles with a diagonal black line and a message saying “Drive with care”. Was it only me who thought that?

    Anyway, great news for Auckland. Here in Palmy I enquired when we were going to hear about the proposal to lower the speed limit outside Massey University from 70 to 60, which had a round of “engagement” and a consultation – and learned that all that was just the pre-consultation. The real consultation will start in a few months. Arggh!

    1. These delaying mechanisms are disgusting, aren’t they? They are treating the “status quo” as if it’s normal and neutral, but in fact the “status quo” has nothing to recommend it.

      The speed limits are systematically unsafe. Keeping them as they are means the road controlling authorities aren’t fulfilling their legal responsibilities to provide a safe network. They need to change the speed limits, then consult about the local considerations for the built environment changes that are needed as well to support the lower speeds.

      1. I have never understood why its such a faf to decrease a speed limit. Sure have consultations etc to increase a speed limit, but to decrease seems crazy, just do it. If a council organisation went completely rogue and decreased them stupidly they would be voted out. It just makes no sense!

      2. Immediately they should lower all speed limits as an emergency measure to a safe and survivable speed. This is urgent. Only then have extensive consultation to possibly change certain ones that the public deems ‘inappropriate’ for the conditions.

  8. I notice on the Map they don’t show any reductions on Waiheke ? , As the area I live in we have been after the 30kph for over 5 years now and nothing has happened so far .

  9. Just want to say thanks to Councillors Coom and Darby for working hard to achieve this. And to Bryan Sherritt and Shane Ellison for their work and fronting the changes.

    As for our mayor, he doesn’t seem to be at any of these announcements…

    Goff could take a leaf out of the book of Anne Hidalgo, who has been re-elected on a strong platform of transport transformation, including:

    – For the peripherique motorway there’ll be 100,000 trees planted to filter its pollution, 50 km/hr speed limits, and more removal of traffic lanes
    – 650 km of cycle lanes.

    What Goff needs to realise is that the status quo isn’t serving anyone, and neither does tiny change. Whereas transformation improves the city for everyone. Be bold.

  10. We will gratefully take phase 1.
    But what were they thinking in excluding all the roads in front of all the local schools and preschools from the speed reductions? Freemans Bay School, Freemans Bay Play Centre, Auckland Girls Grammar and St Mary’s college. Even more absurd is that AT now needs to maintain the automated School Zone signage around Freemans Bay School.

  11. General impression of the first morning overlooking an affected residential arterial road, Franklin Road, is that speeds have eased from yesterday. Down hills most still 40kph plus rather then the 50plus yesterday though.
    Road noise has correspondingly reduced.

  12. During submissions, I suggested Wellington st should be included in the 30k zone because of Freeman’s Bay school being on this street. That worked well

    1. And Howe….

      Cruise along K’rd at 30kph then turn the corner onto Howe and speed up to 50 then slow back down to 30 20m later outside AGGS (during school hours), then speed back up to 50, turn onto wellington street and then slow back down to 30 outside the primary school. Marvelous.

      1. There’s a mystery to unravel with this, I’m sure. There was lots of resident pressure to make it all 30. But there was clearly a sticking point… a vocal opponent? Something to do with the motorway ramp? I wonder if we’ll ever find out…

        1. Nah they just treated it as a “hey we are doing these, do you like them?” rather than a “where should we do this?”

          That’s the verbal and written feedback we got when talking to them about it

      2. The loop I like is 30 up Franklin Road, then 40 along Ponsonby Road, back to 30 along K’ Road, Pitt Street, Union Street, then up to 50 along Wellington Street (unless 8:30-9am and 3-3:20pm, then 40 on Wellington). That’s not confusing at all.

        1. Well motorists must be alert at all times for the unexpected. Children that rush out onto roadways, cars in unexpected places. Slippery roads and randomly changing arbitary speed limits, Anymore to add to the list?

        2. And this is unrelated to speeds, but related to walking to Freemans Bay School – I’m currently lobbying AT about vehicles parking on the footpath on Union Street, outside the various apartment buildings in the area between Hobson Street and Wellington Street.

          Vehicles are parking on the footpath for short periods – five, ten, fifteen minutes. Ubers, taxis, couriers, private vehicles, maybe trade vehicles. There seems to be a peak of this parking that coincides with the peak walking to-and-from school hours, around 8:30-9:00 in the mornings, and again at 3-3:30 in the afternoons. There may well be other peaks, (maybe around 5pm?) but I haven’t seen them.

          Kids are having to walk and scoot around and through parked and moving cars, parents with prams are having to manoeuvre around vehicles. There are already between five and six lanes of Union Street dedicated to cars, and a relatively small space allowed for pedestrians. The roll of the school is currently about 500 – there are literally hundreds of kids walking this route daily.

          If any of you are also walking to school along this route, would you like to contact AT and ask for some enforcement? And some physical barriers, like bollards, that would allow walking, prams, kids on scooters and bikes, but prevent parking on the footpath?

        3. Some Other Anthony…

          I argued for about a year with AT, they refuse to do anything.

          I asked for loading zones or bollards, they refuse both and say its the developers fault for not providing enough parking, end of story.

          Reach out to Graeme Gunthorpe (WLB transport rep) – he is working on a plan for the route to the school and he is aware of this issue (and all the rest). I’m sure he would appreciate the support and any enthusiastic feedback.

        4. Mum-of-two

          Freemans Bay school couldn’t even convince AT that the uneven footpath was worthy of attention. They tried and are engaged with Graeme Gunthorpe (see above) to try and force some progress.

        5. Just wait for the answer. Why can’t they drive their kids in like normal people. Or Why can’t they live in suburbs like normal people.

          They don’t say it out literally but actions speak louder than words.

          And yes this is a mildly ironic comment on this post, but note that Hobson and Nelson street (still at 40) bisect a very densely populated part of the city centre. I’ve also noticed that in suburbs footpaths actually get maintained.

        6. roeland Where I live there are no footpaths or the ones that are there are just tracks through the bush , and if you view this it shows no footpaths any where ;-

        7. @dr

          I thanks for that info.
          If you have time and interest, I wonder if you would mind dropping me an email? I’d be interested in knowing who you spoke to and what they said, before I pick it up again. My email is [email protected]

    2. I rather suspect that all submissions to include additional streets were ruled out of scope and the only submissions accepted were to increase some speeds, and perhaps, I don’t know, to remove some streets.
      Certainly my submission was to include all Freemans Bay including College Hill and all the streets off it as a much more logical and less confusing area.
      I suspect that Franklin Road, and the streets to the East of it were included as a sacrificial comprimise, an offering which could be removed as an indication of “listening to submissions”. Perhaps also as a pilot to gauge general public support, or otherwise, to further extensions into general suburbia.
      I would like to think our submissions have not been in vain, and helped getting what we have got, a pilot area, and making correcting this anomaly a priority in a much enlarged next tranche.

  13. I submitted that Wellington st should be included in the 30 kph zone . It seemed wrong to not Include it considering Freeman’s Bay school is on this street . That worked well

  14. To celebrate, a truck ran out of control on sale Street into the AT parking lot alongside the motorway. Fortunately it took out a tree and a parked car and not some people

  15. That is a weird start. Streets past schools and residential streets stay at 50km/h while some crappy little bits of the CBD go to 30. Just shows what their focus is.

  16. Thank you to all the people who worked hard to achieve this change. I live in Clarks Beach – Deep in Franklin. The changes out here are very significant, with many commuting a long way at much slower speeds. The new speed signed have been knocked down, replaced, and now unstickered. We’ve had 2 fatal crashes in the last two weeks – i’ll happily trade drive-time for DSI. Now to fix those tail-gaters!

    1. I don’t let my children go with other families on the open road, unless I’m very sure the parents are slow, defensive, considerate and alert drivers.

      Hopefully one day we’ll get a feeling of safety back?

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