Road seen as racetrack
Motorists who frequently use Paekakariki Hill Rd deplored the risks faced – and taken – by drivers, at a public hearing last week.
Porirua City Council has been seeking feedback on its proposal to permanently reduce the speed limits on Paekakaraiki Hill Rd and Grays Rd to 60kmh – the latter has had a temporary 60kmh limit in place since 2009 – and review limits on Raiha St, Titahi Bay Rd and outside some schools.
Thirty- eight submissions were received; many in favour of the 60kmh restrictions for the Pautahanui roads. There were exceptions, however, with the common gripe being motorists will speed no matter what the signposted limit is.
Stephen Wickens, a senior driving instructor for Ministry of Transport, told the hearing last Thursday that he lived 12km from Pauatahanui village and would be ‘‘extremely frustrated’’ if the entirety of Paekakariki Hill Rd was 60kmh. He said there was no evidence a reduction in speed would lead to less accidents on the road.
‘‘ I can understand the reasoning for Grays Rd, which is just 4.8km long and has sharp corners, but we have 14km of road up Paekakariki Hill. That’s a long journey at 60kmh [and] your frustration level is such that you will want to stab yourself in the eye with a fork.’’
Mr Wickens said better enforcement of the current limits was the answer, as ‘‘those who disregard them now will disregard them even if the limit is 60 [kmh]’’.
Fiona Robinson, who has lived on Paekakariki Hill Rd for 12 years, says people regularly drive well in excess of 100kmh on the road. Her submission included comments from more than 12 other residents and families.
‘‘It’s just horrific, especially for those with concealed driveways, trying to dodge people who use it as a race track. Some families won’t let their kids down near the road. It’s a narrow, winding road – 60kmh worked on Grays Rd, it will work on Paekakariki Hill Rd.’’
Alan Gray, on behalf of Pauatahanui Residents Association, said he knew the 60kmh reduction on Grays Rd had been a success because ‘‘people were not crashing into my gate’’.
‘‘ None of these [ Pauatahanui] roads are safe at 80kmh. They are arterial routes so you have the conflict of through-traffic and local residents and people do feel unsafe coming out of their properties.’’
He said motorists continue to drive ‘‘ crazily’’ through Pauatahanui village. All oral submitters were in favour of a 40kmh limit outside Pauatahanui School.
The council will consider the submissions at a meeting on August 16.