Council proposes drop in speed limits

    The Invercargill City Council is proposing to drop speed limits on its streets. Photo: File

    THE Invercargill City Council (ICC) is proposing to drop speed limits on most of its roads in an aim to reduce deaths and serious injuries.

    During the council’s infrastructure services committee meeting on Tuesday, councillors approved a document which will be put out for consultation with Invercargill residents this week.

    ICC roading manager Russell Pearson said over time council was proposing to work towards 40kmh in urban areas and 60kmh in rural areas.

    While in the city centre and suburban shopping streets, such as Windsor and South City, roads would drop to a 30kmh speed limit.

    They also wanted to reduce speed limits in school areas to 40kmh for urban-based schools and 60kmh for rural schools.

    Mr Pearson said this review was part of a wider approach from Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s Road to Zero safety strategy making “a New Zealand where no-one was killed or seriously injured on its roads”.

    He said at the moment, there was at least one serious death or serious injury on the roads throughout the country every day.

    “What we do know is that speed is a contributing factor of most crashes. What we do know is the faster you go, the bigger the mess.”

    It was also important to reduce speed limits in the CBD as the council was aiming to create a more pedestrian friendly area, he said.

    Mr Pearson believed the matter would spark a great number of submissions from residents and the council was pen to any specific feedback before making any final decision.

    Cr Nigel Skelt said he was impressed with the statistics and he believed council should show leadership on the matter and act sooner than later.

    Cr Graham Lewis queried the school speed limits – he was concerned a flashing light sign showing the new speed limit in school areas could cause some confusion for drivers as they would still need to reduce their speed to 20kmh when passing a school bus.

    Mr Pearson was aware of this risk, but said council would be working with schools to make sure the traffic rules and bylaw could be effectively followed by drivers.

    Consultation will start on Friday and will close on March 7.

    Hearings will place on March 22 and, if approved, the roading and traffic Bylaw would come into effect on July 1.