Slow­down ahead on Queen St

Central Leader - - News - By Jo­ce­lyn Rein

Queen St traf­fic could soon be mov­ing more slowly as plans to re­duce the speed limit to 30kmh fall into place.

Auck­land City Coun­cil’s trans­port com­mit­tee has voted unan­i­mously to re­duce the cur­rent 50kmh speed limit.

The new limit ap­plies from May­oral Drive to Cus­toms Street, with the up­per part of Queen St un­af­fected.

Com­mit­tee chair­man Ken Bag­u­ley says slower traf­fic will make the street a bet­ter place for peo­ple.

“The char­ac­ter of the street has changed,” he says. It’s turn­ing into a far more peo­ple­ori­ented area.”

Fol­low­ing changes made dur­ing the Queen St up­grade, com­pleted ear­lier this year, the street is sub­stan­tially dif­fer­ent, he says.

“Es­pe­cially at night with peo­ple wan­der­ing down the road.”

The pro­posal to re­duce the speed limit was ap­proved by the CBD Board in July 2007 and con­sul­ta­tion with key stake­hold­ers and the pub­lic be­gan in Fe­bru­ary.

Mr Bag­u­ley says the driv­ing force be­hind the pro­posal is safety.

Though the av­er­age speed is only 31kmh, top speeds of 70kmh have been recorded.

The new limit will make it a far more se­ri­ous of­fence to travel at 60 or 70kmh, re­duc­ing top-end speeds and al­low­ing po­lice to en­force the limit ac­cord­ingly.

More than 75 per­cent of 265 pub­lic re­sponses sup­ported the pro­posal.

The Auck­land Re­gional Trans­port Author­ity, Land Trans­port New Zealand, the North­ern Re­gional Road Trans­port Author­ity and po­lice were in sup­port of the change.

But the Au­to­mo­bile As­so­ci­a­tion was dis­ap­pointed with the de­ci­sion.

Spokesman Si­mon Lam­bourne says the coun­cil should have waited to see the out­come of road en­gi­neer­ing changes made dur­ing the Queen St up­grade.

“It’s too soon. It would be far bet­ter to wait and see.”

Mr Lam­bourne says the AA also op­poses the change be­cause of the lack of data show­ing a speed­ing prob­lem on the street. He says with an av­er­age speed of 31kmh al­ready, there is no rea­son to re­duce it fur­ther.

While the AA is very sup­port­ive of road safety im­prove­ments, they should be done on a cor­rect ba­sis with sup­port­ing in­for­ma­tion.

He says a dis­ad­van­tage of chang­ing the speed limit is the con­fu­sion it causes driv­ers.

“That’s why we don’t have a plethora of dif­fer­ent speed lim­its in New Zealand,” he says.

The new speed limit needs to be signed off by the full coun­cil at its next meet­ing on Au­gust 28.

Mr Bag­u­ley says af­ter that it is just a mat­ter of no­ti­fy­ing peo­ple and or­gan­is­ing signs and the new limit should be in place by the end of Oc­to­ber.

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