Speed reduction gets the thumbs up

01:00, Jul 28 2010
slow
SLOWING DOWN: Resident feedback has cleared a path for the Onetangi Straight speed limit to be reduced.

Residents are backing a proposal to reduce the speed limit along one of the island's most dangerous roads.

The speed limit along Onetangi Rd is facing a reduction from 80kmh to 60kmh following the results of a survey sent to 8700 residents and home owners – including off-island property owners – by Auckland City Council.

Islanders were asked if they approved of lowering the limit presently set at 80kmh from Ostend's Erua Rd to Waiata Rd in Onetangi.

Of the 3023 residents that responded, 78 percent wanted the reduction.

Many told the council that the road was too dangerous for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists, saying it was winding with too many driveways.

The responses also included references to the number of accidents, with people commenting about there being "an accident waiting to happen".

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Those fears were first voiced by island GP Rebecca Potts, who has approached the Waiheke Community Board a number of times over recent years, pleading for the speed reduction.

She told board members about accident victims injured as a result of the 80kmh limit on that stretch of road.

Dr Potts has had widespread backing in her bid to get it lowered – from the police, residents, and council planner Anthony Yates, who lives in Onetangi.

The NZ Transport Agency, which has sole responsibility for setting speed limits, agreed to carry out an assessment and earlier this year approved the reduction to 60kmh.

But it said the council had to consult affected residents, property owners and other key stakeholders before it could happen.

Now residents have given their approval and the matter is being discussed at tonight's community board meeting.

Board transport spokesman Herb Romaniuk says he has no problems with the new limit and other board members are likely to be equally supportive.

Chairman Tony Sears and member Eileen Evans have been particularly keen to see a reduction.

Dr Potts is pleased residents have backed her concerns.

And she says she is keen to see more changes to make island roads even safer.

"The survey result is brilliant. Now we can get on to other things, such as making more room for cyclists."

Waiheke council roading officer Reg Cuthers has already spoken of other safety measures proposed for Onetangi Rd. They include traffic calming measures such as the installation of side islands, improvements to the road's geometry and condition, and facilities such as crossings and a cycle lane where possible.

The proposed works are based on funding availability and likely to commence in the year 2011/12 and 2012/13.

Meanwhile, the speed limit reduction should become a reality once it has been approved by the council's transport committee meeting next month.

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