Slowdown ahead on Queen St
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.