It will take longer to drive through Timaru's central business district if the council has its way.
In a bylaw review, the council is suggesting the speed limit on Beswick, Canon and Bank streets be reduced from 50kmh to 30kmh, with a similar recommendation for Cains Tce and The Terrace.
The speed on Stafford St and the Bay Hill was reduced to 30kmh in 2007 and the proposed changes would effectively mean all of the main part of the central business area would have the slower speed.
Councillors agreed to the speed reductions 12 months ago, but a change to the bylaw is required.
Drivers are effectively already abiding by the lower speed limit, district land transport manager Andrew Dixon said. Under the Land Transport Act the limit cannot be reduced to less than 50kmh unless 85 per cent of traffic is already travelling at the lower speed. Roads needed to be engineered to bring the speeds down, then the limit could be reduced.
Pedestrian safety was the overwhelming reason. A pedestrian hit by a vehicle travelling at 50kmh had a 90 per cent chance of being killed while a pedestrian hit by a vehicle at 30kmh had a 90 per cent chance of surviving, Mr Dixon said. He attributed the low number of pedestrian incidents on Stafford St to the low traffic speeds and the road design.
Also being considered for speed changes through the bylaw process are Aorangi Park, where the speed is recommended to drop from 30kmh to 20kmh.
A reduction of 10kmh to 50kmh is being suggested for parts of both Washdyke Flat and Old North roads, and the 50kmh areas should be extended on both Halstead Rd in Pleasant Point and Talbot St in Geraldine. Also on the list is an extension of the 80kmh area in Beaconsfield Rd.
Some drivers do not know the current speed limits, The Herald found yesterday. Stafford St drivers, when asked for the street's limit, gave answers ranging from 20kmh to 50kmh. However, all agreed on the need for a 30kmh speed limit on the main street, with most happy for it to be extended to neighbouring streets.
Submissions on the draft bylaws and dog control policy review close on December 10. They can be made at timaru.govt.nz, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or by freepost to Bylaw and Dog Control Policy Review submissions, Box 522, Timaru.
- The Timaru Herald