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Go-slows on shopping streets ‘an over-reaction’

Mar 10th, 2010 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

3050signsTHE go-slow for drivers through Tinakori shops could be applied to Island Bay and Kilbirnie but one city councillor thinks it would be an over-reaction.

Wellington City Council is proposing to lower the speed limit through the Island Bay and Kilbirnie shopping areas from 50km/hr to 30km/hr.

Councillor Jo Coughlan says that the 30km/hr zone proposals are “intended to solve a problem where there actually isn’t one”.

She says traffic speeds on average in Tinakori Rd, where the 30 km/hr restriction has been introduced, were 34km/hr before the change.

“For the most part, traffic was moving at an appropriate speed before the 30km/hr zone was introduced.”
She says the proposals for the 30km/hr zones all over Wellington will be difficult for the police to enforce, and for the most part not required.

Michelle Brooker, communications adviser for the council, agrees that most cars already go through the shopping areas at 30km/hr but the proposal is to lower the speed to what people already drive.

Steven Moore, the Kilbirnie, Lyall Bay, Rongotai Progressive Residents’ Association president, says his group will be discussing the idea but speaking personally, he doesn’t see the point in lowering the limit.

“The Kilbirnie area of streets they are talking about – you’d be lucky if you could go more than 30 km/hr anyway.”

Mr Moore thinks the proposal is just a political statement that’s not practical.

“If they want to ensure safety, they should create a formal pedestrian crossing at Bay Rd and Rongotai Rd.” He says people cross diagonally where there isn’t a diagonal crossing.

The council expects the costs to vary depending on the area. The work will involve changing the signs, painting the roads and planting in the surrounding area.

Island Bay will cost about $20,000 and the larger-sized Kilbirnie, $30,000.

The Go Wellington bus company was reluctant to comment on whether the speed limit changes would affect bus timetables.

Submissions are being accepted until April 7 and, if the proposal goes ahead, the speed limits will be changed in July.

Councillor Celia Wade-Brown says the changing of drivers’ attitudes is what the council wants.
“I’m interested in hearing what people think.”

She says one of the aims of the lowering of the speed limit is to make the streets “slower and more pleasant”.

There are also wider issues about residential areas, with a number of people requesting slower zones around their streets.

The issue is part of a wider, four-year project focused on lowering speed limits in 21 suburban shopping areas.

The council website says lower speed limits will increase the safety of vulnerable road users, encourage more active models of transport and create a safer, more pleasant shopping and business environment.

Tinakori is the only suburb for which the council has so far lowered the speed limit around the shops. 


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