DAN­GER ZONES

Piako Post - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS -

Mata­mata-Pi­ako Dis­trict Coun­cil has de­vel­oped Dan­ger Traf­fic Zones in com­mer­cial and res­i­den­tial ar­eas. It main­tains 50 kph speed limit; it has crudely linked mis­aligned cul de sacs to pro­vide through ways, with dan­ger­ous bends and en­cour­aged high den­sity housing in­creas­ing traf­fic over un­suit­able roads. Other coun­cils have de­vel­oped Safer Speed Zones. These are groups of res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial streets with re­duced speed lim­its.

In Hamil­ton these safer speed zones have speeds re­duced to 40 kph and in Christchurch and Welling­ton to 30 kph. Re­duced speed lim­its logic is sim­ple. Hamil­ton City Coun­cil states the prob­a­bil­ity of a pedes­trian be­ing killed when hit by a ve­hi­cle in­creases from 40 per cent at 40 kph to 80 per cent at 50 kph.

Re­duced ve­hi­cle speeds also re­duces the num­ber of in­ci­dents. In 2014 Christchurch Coun­cil Re­search found in­jury crashes had re­duced by 82 per cent across the sub­ur­ban ar­eas where the speed limit had been low­ered to 30kmh, while at the same time, those sub­urbs with a 50kmh limit ex­pe­ri­enced a slight in­crease in in­jury crashes. The costs of im­ple­ment­ing lower speed lim­its is min­i­mal. It is im­por­tant that mo­torists are aware of the changes in speed lim­its. Signs should be placed at the en­trances to each Safer Speed Area both on posts and, in some cases, painted on the road it­self. Large bill­boards are also used to re­mind driv­ers as they drive through the ar­eas. Phys­i­cal works like land­scap­ing and plant­ing, and raised cross­ings can help with the recog­ni­tion of speed limit changes. Time costs to driv­ers are lit­tle. Christchurch City Coun­cil re­search found the de­lay be­tween travelling at 30kmh rather than 50kmh over 275 me­tres - the long­est road length there af­fected by the speed limit changes - was just 13 sec­onds.

-Noel Har­vey-Webb

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