Speed limits up for debate

SIMON BLOOMBERG
Last updated 09:17 14/02/2013

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Reducing the speed limit on Richmond's Queen St from 50kmh to 30kmh is one of the key proposals discussed by the Tasman District Council in a review of speed limits around the district.

The council was to discuss the changes to the district's speed limit bylaws at its Engineering Services committee on Thursday. Although the changes will go through a public consultation process next month, Richmond councillors Judene Edgar and Kit Maling said reducing the speed limit on Queen St between Salisbury and Gladstone roads was likely to be well supported.

Judene said the change had "been on the cards for a while" and was not a reaction to the accident on the courtesy crossing on Queen St last September. A 10-year-old boy was hit by a car on the crossing opposite Croucher St prompting a debate on the safety of the crossings.

"We wanted to make the Queen St environment more pedestrian friendly and reducing the speed limit is the best way of doing it."

Judene said the proposed change was unlikely to result in a major shift in driver behaviour because most cars already travelled at considerably less than 50kmh on that section of Queen St. If traffic volumes remained the same then it was also unlikely to have any impact on retailers on Queen St.

"Does anyone drive down Queen St at 50 kilometres an hour? No.

"I don't think it's going to stop people driving along Queen St so the retailers won't miss out."

Kit said the raised courtesy crossings on Queen St were already keeping the speed of cars down below 50kmh and it made sense to "reinforce it with a bylaw". However, he said council would need to listen carefully to any concerns that Queen St retailers had about he proposed changes.

Judene also suggested that the proposed changes in Richmond's central business area didn't extend far enough.

She said the obvious omission was that the speed limit in Croucher St through Sundial Square needed to be reduced from 50kmh to "even less than 30".

"If you do 50 through there you'll wreck the underneath of your car. I think we may get some submissions on that."

Judene said the proposed changes were not set in concrete and encouraged people to make public submissions on the draft bylaws.

"I'm fairly relaxed about the proposal because we need to see what people think about them first. Every speed limit on every road is up for review here so we need people's input."

The council is expected to call for public submissions on the proposed changes later this month.

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