'Entire city centre should be 30kmh'

ANNA TURNER
Last updated 09:53 29/11/2012

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Christchurch's city centre should have a 30kmh speed limit, a transport expert says.

University of Canterbury professor Simon Kingham also said the city's draft transport plan had "missed opportunities".

There is a proposal to cut the speed limit on many streets to 30kmh in the Christchurch Central Development Unit's (CCDU) draft accessible central city transport plan.

However, the one-way system and streets further out will stay at 50kmh.

Kingham said the plan to include faster-moving vehicles would scare cyclists.

He believed slowing maximum speeds in the city core to 30kmh would encourage more people to cycle.

"There is a wealth of evidence that shows that reducing the speed of vehicles from 50kmh to 30kmh significantly reduces the risk of a pedestrian or cyclist dying in a collision with a car," he said.

"All Christchurch cycle-priority routes in the draft plan should have 30kmh limits. At the moment, they do not."

Kingham believed the speed limit for the whole central city should be reduced to 30kmh.

"Why stop there, why not do it in all residential streets too? Let us too reap the benefits of the most cost-effective way to improve quality of life.''

CCDU director Warwick Isaacs told The Press this month they were keen to gauge the public's views on the matter.

"We are quite interested to know if 50[kmh] is the right number, or whether 40[kmh] is appropriate," he said.

"Or we could have 50[kmh] on the one-ways and have three speeds."

Isaacs said the 30kmh limit in the city centre was based on achieving a more cycle and pedestrian-friendly environment and how fast people could actually drive on the central streets.

"Whilst some of the streets are 50[kmh], you can't get up to 50[kmh] between [two] sets of lights unless you're a boy racer," he said.

"Speed reduction is more in line with what the actual speeds were."

Kingham said in Britain, reducing speed limits to 30kmh was a growing trend and had been described as "the most cost-effective way to improve quality of life".

"Lowering urban and residential speed limits to 30kmh has been found to increase urban journeys by just 40 seconds maximum."

The draft plan is open for consultation and people have until February 1, 2013 to make submissions through the CCDU website at ccdu.govt.nz.

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- The Press

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