Hamilton's 40kmh speed limit zones put on hold

City bosses have put the brakes on a roll-out of further 40kmh speed limits around Hamilton.

Hamilton City Council's strategy and policy committee this week voted to review the council's contentious speed management policy, effectively putting a hold on any further decisions on speed limit reductions.

The council introduced the policy in November, creating several 40kmh areas in the city.

But the move triggered a backlash from residents and motoring advocates, who argued the policy was unjustified and confusing.

At a council hearing last year, Automobile Association district vice-president Trevor Follows told councillors he saw no need for lower limits, apart from around schools, and was worried the policy put the city out of step with speed limits elsewhere.

He said AA wanted more work done to change the look and feel of roads so there were obvious differences between speed limits of 40kmh or 30kmh, compared to 50kmh or higher speed roads.

Signage alone was not sufficient to flag speed limit changes, Mr Follows said.

A council report said public submissions on the policy revealed a large section of the community were either unaware of the purpose of the speed management policy or were "just opposed" to it.

The policy indicates minor and major arterials should have 60kmh or 80kmh speed limits, to reflect their function for moving goods and people around the city.

Local roads and "collector roads" should have lower speeds because of higher pedestrian and cyclist activity.

Some changes to city speed limits as a result of last year's consultation will still go ahead next month.

City infrastructure general manager Chris Allen said the policy review would allow the council to better reflect on the direction of two key national projects which would each have a direct influence on the speed management policy.

Council network operations team leader Robyn Denton said a national speed management working group would consult around March and April and would make a final recommendation to the National Road Safety Committee in June. aaron.leaman@waikatotimes.co.nz

Waikato Times