Speed limit plan could play havoc

AARON LEAMAN
Last updated 05:00 11/10/2012
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Hamilton City Council is being to urged to "take a deep breath" on plans to reduce speeds limits on most residential streets - with concerns it could play havoc with city bus timetables.

The city's radical speed limit plan is expected to be a key talking point when the newly formed Hamilton public transport joint committee meets today.

The committee includes two councillors each, from Hamilton City Council and Waikato Regional Council.

Under the proposal , 18 new "safer speed areas" will be created in the city, and be governed by 40kmh limits.

Click on the markers in the map below for more details

Minor and major arterial roads - the city's main routes - will be 60kmh or 80kmh.

But in a report by Hamilton City Council city transport manager Phil Consedine, the council acknowledges the effects of the speed limit plan on public transport was still unknown.

Mr Consedine said because safety was the primary reason for the reduction in the speed limit on residential roads, "there has not been any detailed studies into likely changes to traffic flows, commuter rat-running on local streets or the impact of reduced speed on the bus timetables."

Regional councillor Lois Livingston, a member of the joint committee, said it was crucial the city council assess the impact of the proposed speed limits on buses before making any changes.

Waikato Regional Council runs the region's bus network, including Hamilton buses. Ms Livingston said regional staff were frustrated by the lack of engagement from their city counterparts.

"We [Waikato Regional Council] always try to have with territorial authorities a ‘no surprises' policy and this proposal has come as a bit of a surprise," she said.

"If most of our residential streets become 40kmh zones that's going to hold the bus network up quite considerably and that involves cost. What we are saying to the city council is please let's just take a deep breath, look at what we're trying to achieve and see whether we can't fully understand all the implications first."

A review of the Hamilton City speed limits bylaw was publicly notified on October 3, with submissions closing on November 5.

Underpinning the changes are statistics showing exponential increases in the likelihood of death with higher speeds when pedestrians, and other vehicles, are hit by cars.

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Map by Harkanwal Singh

- Waikato Times

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