Otago Daily Times

AA crit­i­cises ap­proach to speed limit changes

WANAKA

- KER­RIE WATERWORTH ker­rie.waterworth@odt.co.nz Queenstown · Otago Region · New Zealand · Wanaka · The Automobile Association · Hawea · Albert Town · The Automobile Association

THE Queen­stown Lakes Dis­trict Coun­cil (QLDC) has been ac­cused of hav­ing ‘‘moved the goal posts’’ over con­tro­ver­sial changes to speed lim­its in Wanaka.

Au­to­mo­bile As­so­ci­a­tion (AA) Otago dis­trict coun­cil chair­man Mal­colm Budd made the claim this week fol­low­ing dis­grun­tled posts on so­cial me­dia about the re­cent in­stal­la­tion of 40kmh signs in ur­ban roads in Wanaka, Hawea and Al­bert Town.

The QLDC adopted the Speed Lim­its By­law 2019 in Au­gust last year fol­low­ing a for­mal two­month con­sul­ta­tion process and a hear­ing panel in June chaired by deputy mayor Calum Ma­cleod.

Sixty per­cent of the 357 sub­mis­sions the QLDC re­ceived on the by­law were op­posed to re­duc­ing the speed limit and ur­ban traf­fic re­duc­tions across the dis­trict.

Cr Ma­cleod said the NZ Trans­port Agency had not re­quested the speed limit change and it had been a QLDC de­ci­sion.

How­ever, ‘‘they [the agency] do pro­vide guid­ance through their speed man­age­ment guide and in­fra­struc­ture risk rat­ing, too,’’ he said.

Mr Budd said the AA was a sup­porter of the guide but that ap­proach had not rec­om­mended blan­ket speed limit changes.

He said it tar­get­ted roads that would de­liver the most safety ben­e­fit as the first pri­or­ity and took a range of ac­tions that made them safer, in­clud­ing im­proved road en­gi­neer­ing.

‘‘Most of the ur­ban roads be­ing pro­posed for 40kmh lim­its do not fea­ture in the first 10% or even the sec­ond 10% of the road net­work iden­ti­fied as a pri­or­ity by the speed man­age­ment guide map­ping tool, so the AA sees this pro­posal as be­ing mo­ti­vated by wider coun­cil goals around cre­at­ing cer­tain types of com­mu­nity en­vi­ron­ments than just road safety.

‘‘We be­lieve there is a role for some strate­gic ar­te­rial roads to be main­tained at higher speeds if their main pur­pose is the flow of traf­fic and there are not high num­bers of vul­ner­a­ble users present,’’ Mr Budd said.

The AA be­lieved the QLDC needed to ex­plain the pur­pose of the re­duc­tion and seek the pub­lic’s en­dorse­ment.

‘‘It ap­pears that the QLDC have moved the goal posts after the con­sul­ta­tion process was com­pleted,’’ Mr

Budd said.

Cr Ma­cleod said the in­ten­tion had been ‘‘to set speed lim­its to sup­port safety for any­one us­ing the roads, whether it is a child cy­cling to school, a learner driver out on their own for the first time, com­muters, etc’’.

Ac­tive Trans­port Wanaka spokesman Si­mon Telfer said peo­ple on bikes were ‘‘very ap­pre­cia­tive’’ of the re­duced speed lim­its.

‘‘In the ab­sence of a net­work of pro­tected cy­cle­ways this is one way to make bik­ing to school and around town safer and more ac­ces­si­ble for all road users,’’ Mr Telfer said.

Asked when the new speed limit would be en­forced, a po­lice spokes­woman said any road user ex­ceed­ing the limit could ex­pect to be stopped.

‘‘Our staff will speak with them and any fur­ther ac­tion taken, should that be ed­u­ca­tion or enforcemen­t, will be based on the cir­cum­stances pre­sented.’’

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 ?? PHOTO: KER­RIE WATERWORTH ?? Changes . . . Traf­fic can travel up to 70kmh in Golf Course Rd but at the in­ter­sec­tion with Cardrona Val­ley Rd the speed limit is now 40kmh.
PHOTO: KER­RIE WATERWORTH Changes . . . Traf­fic can travel up to 70kmh in Golf Course Rd but at the in­ter­sec­tion with Cardrona Val­ley Rd the speed limit is now 40kmh.
 ?? PHOTO: KER­RIE WATERWORTH ?? Slow drive through Wanaka . . . Cardrona Val­ley Rd has a 40kmh speed limit.
PHOTO: KER­RIE WATERWORTH Slow drive through Wanaka . . . Cardrona Val­ley Rd has a 40kmh speed limit.
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