Choice of additional safer speed areas in city based on crash record

AARON LEAMAN
Last updated 05:00 01/03/2014

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Hamilton motorists will have an extra reason to watch their speed from today with the rollout of 10 new "safer speed" areas in the city.

About 95 residential roads on both sides of the Waikato River are included in the new safer speed areas and will have permanent 40kmh speed limits.

It brings the total number of safe speed areas around the city to 36.

As well as reducing speed limits, the areas will feature a mixture of minor physical works such as raised pedestrian platforms and pedestrian islands.

Hamilton City Council operations team leader Robyn Denton said the new areas were chosen because of previous crashes and in response to residents' requests.

She said 50kmh was often too dangerous for residential streets and reducing the speed limit by 10kmh could reduce the chance of road fatalities by 40 per cent.

The safer speed areas were first introduced in the city in 2011 as part of a national road safety initiative. The initiative has not been without its critics, however, with residents and motoring advocates arguing the safer speed areas were 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 near schools, and was worried it would put the city out of step with speed limits elsewhere.

Last month the council agreed to review its speed management policy, effectively putting a hold on any further decisions on speed-limit reductions.

Meanwhile, National's Hamilton West MP Tim Macindoe said residents' opinions were divided over the merits of a 40kmh speed limit in Dinsdale Rd.

Mr Macindoe said most people he had spoken to said it made no sense to impose a 40kmh speed limit for the full length of Dinsdale Rd.

"From Thomson Ave to the intersection with Newcastle Rd at the top of Dinsdale Rd there are no facilities such as schools or retirement homes . . ..

"However it does make sense to impose a safer speed limit at the bottom of Dinsdale Rd because that area is close to one of the busiest roundabouts in the city."

To view maps of the 10 new safer speed areas visit saferspeedarea.org.nz

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- Waikato Times

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