50kmh speed limit on way out
Ubiquitous 50kmh speed signs are on their way out after Hamilton City Council adopted a new speed limit bylaw to come into force in March.
The bylaw is the first step towards 40kmh becoming the default limit in residental areas, underpinned by research showing exponential increases in the risk of death at higher speeds when pedestrians and cars collide.
The new bylaw prescribes 40kmh limits on 282 roads or portions of road, 80kmh on another 41, with a handful set at 30, 60, 70 and 100 kmh.
Council strategy and policy chairman Maria Westphal said that the bylaw would make it safer for pedestrians and all road users and sent a strong message that managing speed is vital if we all want to live in a safe city.
‘‘We are leading the way in proposing 40, 60 and 80 km per hour speed limits which over time will rationalise the many speed limits we now have and lead to a balance between road safety on neighbourhood streets and support economic development on our arterials,’’ said Mrs Westphal.
Included in the changes were the introduction of several 40kmh variable speed zones around schools which would mean that every school in the city would have the lower speed limits in place in the morning and afternoon.
City transportation operations team leader Robyn Denton said 40kmh speed limits are part of the Safer Speed Area project that has been funded through the 10 Year Plan and would build upon the demonstration project undertaken last year which had eight areas installed throughout the city.
‘‘Signage and roadmarking will be used to inform road users of the limits. A special sign for safer speed areas has been developed with NZTA and these can be viewed at the existing safer speed area locations, along with the 40km/h roundel that will be marked on the road,’’ she said.