November 12, 2020 at 11:58 am #35441
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THE decision to lower speed limits on rural roads has already been made, the Otorohanga Community Board heard last week.
Community board member Rodney Dow said he’s been told by NZTA and the police that every road in New Zealand that hasn’t got a median barrier is going to be 80km/h.
“They are going to try and force councils into it, they have pretty much made up their minds,” Rodney said.
The information came from a regional transport committee meeting where police explained how they go about road policing.
“They just go to target areas, they don’t have enough police the whole of New Zealand so they just go to what they call the hot spot areas,” Rodney said. “What they get told is: ‘this is your shift you go to this area’, so they are never going to be on a back road unless they just happen to be driving along.”
When asked by the Waitomo News if the median barrier/speed limit decision had been made as claimed, Megan Heffield, NZTA spokesperson ,says it was mentioned as part of an informal discussion at the RTC meeting, but not by an NZTA representative.
“Our position is that speed reviews are done on a case-by-case basis to determine what is appropriate for a particular section of highway,” she says. David van Staden, NZTA Programme Director – Safe Network Programme says improving safety on New Zealand roads is a priority.
NZTA is working with NZ Police, Ministry of Transport, local government, WorkSafe and others to deliver Road to Zero, government’s road safety strategy for 2020-2030.
“Road to Zero sets a target to reduce deaths and serious injuries on New Zealand’s roads by 40% in the next 10 years and is guided by the Safe System approach, which remains the international gold standard in road safety,” he said.
“Setting safe and appropriate speeds on our roads is one of the most effective things we can do to prevent deaths and serious injuries.
“A small change in speed makes a big difference. Speed affects both the likelihood of a crash, and the severity of it. Even when speed doesn’t cause the crash, it is most likely to determine whether someone is killed or injured or walks away unharmed.”
The agency is currently reviewing speed limits on sections of New Zealand’s state highways where changing speed limits could make a big difference in preventing deaths and serious injuries. Speed reviews are done on a case-by-case basis to determine what is appropriate for a particular section of highway.
The main cost savings are from fewer deaths and serious injuries. The costs for attending crashes, hospital care, rehabilitation, loss of family members and loss of productivity are all significant, he says.
Otorohanga District Council recently hosted a series of public meetings discussing lowering speed limits on rural roads. Otorohanga District Council transportation Engineers assessed the district road network and recommended safe and appropriate speeds. The recommendations are a starting point.
The recommendations are:
• rural roads that are sealed 100km/h down to 80km/h;
• rural roads that are unsealed and sealed rural roads that are particularly arduous to drive 100km/h down to 60km/h;
• rural roads adjacent to a school 100km/h down to 60km/h;
• urban roads around Otorohanga and Kawhia 50km/h down to 40km/h;
• urban roads adjacent to a school 50km/h down to 30km/h;
• Aotea Township 50km/h down to 30km.
Changing a speed limit is a legal process expected to take about a year to complete.
Rodney said at the same regional transport committee meeting both himself and the Te Aroha delegate again raised the issue with NZTA about re-painting the bridges in both towns.
“One of the first meetings I went to, Te Aroha had the same problem. We brought it up again at our last meeting,” Rodney said. The guy from Te Aroha said, ‘Will we have to go back to what we did in the 90s, when all the locals painted the bridge ourselves?’
“It’s not settled whether that’s what’s going to happen now.”
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