Tikorangi speed humps beaten by rules

TARYN UTIGER
Last updated 05:00 12/08/2014

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The rules have scuttled a plea from Tikorangi residents for a lower speed limit to curb the effects of petrochemical trucks.

In May a group of Tikorangi residents spoke out about their frustrations with traffic in their area and said the New Plymouth District Council had only made the problems worse.

Abbie Jury and Helen Powick said the residents had constantly put up with heavy traffic generated by petrochemical development in the area and the council had ignored suggestions of how the situation could be better managed.

Instead of listening to the plea to lower the speed limits, council went ahead and widened, strengthened and straightened the roads, which had caused vehicle speeds to further increase, the women said.

The pair called for the council to lower the speed limit to 70kmh on Otaraoa Rd to see if a lower limit would make a difference, even if it was a temporary measure.

However, in a report to be discussed at tonight's council's meeting, Stephen Bowden, the council's roading programming engineer said lowering the limit was not possible.

Council set speed limits in accordance with national standards set by the New Zealand Transport Association, he said. "To introduce a general temporary speed limit on Otaraoa Rd would be a misuse of the provision and set an undesirable precedent for other roads around the district."

A speed survey was undertaken last month, Bowden said, and out of the 3088 vehicles counted, 0.9 per cent were travelling more than 100kmh, while 79.1 per cent travelled at speeds ranging from 69-90kmh.

Jury and Powick had raised a raft of other issues in May, including heavy and unnecessary council signage in the area and the appropriateness of the designated cycle route through what had become an area with considerable heavy traffic. In his report to the council Bowden said council would not be changing the cycling route as experienced cyclists would be very familiar with travelling on busy roads.

The trucking industry prided itself on having professional drivers who would offer courtesy to more vulnerable road users, like cyclists, he said.

The council had not received any complaints from cycling clubs or individuals other than Jury and Powick, he said. The council did concede there were too many non-official traffic management signs in Tikorangi and had started to remove redundant signs.

"There has, in the last two years, been a wave of oil and gas related exploration and production work in Tikorangi with associated traffic impacts which will continue over the next 18 months or so," Bowden said.

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The council would continue to discuss the matter with Todd Energy, Greymouth Petroleum and the Tikorangi community.

The report will discussed at tonight's full council meeting, from 4.30pm at the New Plymouth District Council chambers.

- Taranaki Daily News

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