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Is 40 the new 50, or should 30 be top speed?

Aug 4th, 2011 | By | Category: Latest News, News

JAYWALKING: Wellingtonians’ tendency to jaywalk was criticised by councillors.

COUNCILLORS spent a convoluted morning trying not to pass their confusion to the public in traffic speed limit consultations for Wellington city.

A maximum 40kmh speed limit has been proposed for all of Wellington apart from major roads.

However councillors variously described the proposal as a balls-up, a dog’s breakfast, a camel with two humps and as trying to smash a nut with a big hammer as they tried to get their heads around a proposal to vote on.

In today’s Wellington City Council strategy and policy committee meeting, councillors spent almost three hours haggling over the wording of recommendations for consultation on 30, 40 or 50 kmh speed limits.

“We can’t get the paper right, which is illustrative of what’s going to happen out there – no one will have a clue,” says Councillor John Morrison.

The proposed area for the blanket speed was stated in the report as “in Wellington City other than arterial and principal roads”, which caused heated debate in the chamber.

Confusion between the councillors arose over what suburbs were defined as Central Wellington and which roads were to be considered arterial and principal roads, and how the public would work it out.

Councillor Leonie Gill, describes the confusion of the motion as “a complete and utter balls-up”.

Despite the confusion most councillors agreed with the report’s focus on safety.

In a city notorious for jaywalking, the main reasoning behind the proposed changes is the safety of pedestrians and cyclists, making Wellington a safer place to work, live and play says Councillor Paul Eagle.

Councillors finally agreed officers should consult with the public on the range of 50, 40 and 30kmh speed limits through meetings in individual wards, taking into account the nature of each area.

As part of the recommendations, councillors Paul Eagle and Bryan Pepperell will liaise with officers in their respective capacities as community engagement and walking, cycling, motorcycling and safety portfolio leaders.

Cycling advocate Patrick Morgan is happy with the decision.

“The slower speeds would make the streets much more attractive and safer for people on bikes, and almost has no effect on cars” says Mr Morgan, the project manager for the Cycling Advocates Network.

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is a journalism student at Whitireia who likes nothing more than a good scoop. Except for maybe a double scoop.
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