Thirteen Palmerston North schools are being lined up for 40kmh speed zones outside their gates at the start and finish of the school day amid continuing concern about the behaviour of motorists.
The proposals will be included in a city council draft speed limits bylaw that will go out for public consultation over the summer holidays.
The change would be gradual over the next five years, with imposition of each zone needing to be backed up with about $25,000 worth of LED lights and other signs and road changes.
Cr Chris Teo-Sherrell has already criticised the approach as too tame.
He told the council's community wellbeing committee yesterday it would be cheaper and more effective to impose a speed limit of 40kmh outside every school at all times.
"We need to consider a blanket rule for the city, that whenever you pass a school, you go more slowly.
"It's good that we are making progress, but maybe we are approaching this in a way that's relatively expensive."
The perceived traffic dangers around schools discourage parents from letting their children travel to school on their own, he said.
Sport Manawatu chief executive Mike Daisley earlier told the committee that parents thought it was too dangerous to let their children bike to school.
"They feel it's unsafe for kids on the road."
Cr Pat Kelly said councillors should debate whether they should make a political stand to reduce speeds around all schools, rather than have staff spend a lot of time investigating each case and setting priorities for spending.
"If we went along with 40kmh for every school, it becomes acceptable for everybody, and part of our pattern of driving."
Senior transportation engineer for roading Glenn Connelly said reducing speeds was not just about putting signs out.
It was also unrealistic to expect restricted speed zones to be respected unless roads were designed in a way to slow down traffic.
Speed humps around the central city were an example of the road treatments that kept speeds down without the visual clutter of extra signage, creating "self-explaining" streets.
"But it is very difficult to change arterial roads like College St [near Intermediate Normal School] to impose significant reductions."
Another case in point would be Park Rd, in line for a variable speed zone near Linton St by the back entrance to Palmerston North Girls' High School.
Among the schools not included on the list are Awatapu College and nearby West End School.
Road planning team leader David Lane said traffic lights helped keep speeds down in the area already.
The schools proposed for variable speed zones and the streets affected are:
Hokowhitu Primary School - Albert St; St James School - Albert St; Palmerston North Girls' High School - Park Rd; Ross Intermediate and Freyberg High School - Featherston St and Freyberg St; Central Normal School - Featherston St, Aroha St and Beresford St; College St Normal School - College St; Roslyn School - Shelley St; Monrad Intermediate and Takaro School - Botanical Rd, Brighton Cres and Highbury Ave; St Mary's School - Ruahine St; Terrace End School - Ruahine St; Ashhurst School - Cambridge Ave.
Other Palmerston North roads around the urban fringe are in line for lower speed restrictions.
- Kelvin Grove Rd from James Line to Henaghans Line, from 100kmh to 80kmh
- Summerhill Dr from Williams Tce to Turitea Rd, from 70kmh to 50kmh
- Reserve Rd, Longburn, from 70kmh to 50kmh
- Rongotea Rd for 700m from Longburn, from 100kmh to 80kmh
- Walkers Rd for 750m south of State Highway 56, from 100kmh to 80kmh
- Milson Line, from Flygers Line to 300m south of Kairanga-Bunnythorpe Line, from 100kmh to 80kmh
- Kairanga-Bunnythorpe Rd for 500m east of Rongotea Rd, from 100kmh to 80kmh
- Rongotea Rd for 500m south of Kairanga-Bunnythorpe Rd, from 100kmh to 80kmh
The main urban traffic area with 50kmh restrictions would be extended at Kelvin Grove, with new areas proposed for Longburn and Linton.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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