Limit saving lives
A lower speed limit on Ponsonby Rd is proving its worth as the third anniversary of the change to a 40kmh maximum approaches.
The limit was reduced from 50kmh on September 1, 2009 after years of campaigning fuelled by the high number of pedestrian injuries and two deaths on the road.
It started in 2004 with a Walk Auckland survey which showed that more than two-thirds of road users wanted traffic to slow down.
The average speed along the road was then only 38kmh but advocates hoped the change would bring down higher speeds of up to 100kmh that were being recorded and curb the severity of crashes.
Almost 30,000 vehicles use Ponsonby Rd daily.
Figures released by Auckland Transport this month show the slower pace is saving lives and money.
Ponsonby Rd continues to have a high number of pedestrian users, but the number of crashes involving pedestrians has dropped from eight between 2006 and 2008, to three between 2009 and 2011.
The severity of all types of crashes has reduced by 37 per cent across the same period.
This has cut the social cost of the collisions from $5.20 million to $2.87m.
Living Streets Aotearoa president and walking advocate Andy Smith was instrumental in bringing about the speed restrictions.
"The results speak for themselves.
"There wasn't much spent on the paint for putting 40 on the road - it might have been a few hundred thousand, but it wasn't as much as the millions we're saving from not killing people," he says.
His organisation is using the third anniversary of the introduction of the restrictions to remind drivers to slow down on the road and has organised a month of celebrations to raise awareness and reward those who are following the speed limit.
"We want to normalise 40kmh and hopefully people who are doing over this will feel like they don't belong in the Ponsonby community," he says.
Mr Smith says the 2004 survey of Ponsonby Rd users is to be repeated later this year.
The Albert-Eden Local Board has approached the Auckland Council to see if it is possible for residential streets to have lower speed limits while main arterial routes remain high.
The concept is called home zoning and has been instituted in many cities overseas since the 1970s.
Board member Graeme Easte says the proposal is still in its early days.
Visit facebook.com/groups/139895184446, or email andy firstname.lastname@example.org .
- © Fairfax NZ News
Do you wear a lifejacket when you are on the water - no matter what vessel you are in?