AA criticises Hamilton's speed limit changes
The Automobile Association has heavily criticised widespread speed limit changes being rolled out by Hamilton City in the name of road safety.
Hearings today are fielding the public's reaction to the first wave of the council's push to drop speed limits on many residential streets back to 40 km/h, before a final report on more changes comes back for a decision.
Efforts to consult the public on rolling out further changes to the city's Traffic Bylaw have instead been swamped by opposition to the changes already made.
The driver organisation's 11,000-strong city membership have pilloried the speed limits being rolled out across the city under its Safer Speeds policy as unjustified, surreptitious, and confusing, and want the changes rolled back.
They had served up an unprecedented level of comment when surveyed on the issue, AA representatives appearing before city councillors today said.
"The AA supports making our roads safer and lower speed limits may well be appropriate in some areas," said AA vice president Trevor Follows.
But many saw no need for lower limits apart from around schools, he said.
A huge number of drivers didn't know about or disagreed with the changes.
There was also strong concern that the moves put the city out of step with speed limits elsewhere, creating further confusion for the motoring public.
"It is time to pause, fully evaluate how the earlier changes have worked or not worked, and to rethink the wider roll out of lower limits," said Mr Follows.
"People are not happy with the way these speed limits have been implemented. The council needs to improve the signage and other methods of letting drivers know what the speed limit is on the roads they are driving on. They also need to better inform the public about what they are doing and why," he said.
Mr Follows said the AA wanted to see more work done to change the look and feel of roads so there were obvious differences between roads with speed limits of 40kph or 30kph compared to 50kph or higher speed
He said that signage alone was not sufficient to flag speed limit changes.
"Merely adding some signs on the side of the road will do very little to reduce people's speeds unless the public know what the speed limit is and understand and support the changes. The huge number of tickets issued within a few hours on Dinsdale Rd recently showed what happens when the road environment doesn't match the limit, people will be caught out and see it as a speed trap."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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