News | 27 April 2023
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Green light to have your say on reducing speed limit

Wellington City Council has today given the green light to consult on reducing speed limits and also approved the city's first Zero Waste Strategy.

Three students on bikes on cycleway in Kilbirnie

Consultation is now open to have your say on the Wellington’s Draft Speed Management Plan. You can have your say from Wednesday 24 May to Friday 30 June 2023.  

Have your say

The proposed slower speed limit is Council’s approach to the Government’s Road to Zero strategy which aims to reduce deaths by 40 percent by 2030 – and eliminate deaths on New Zealand roads by 2050.

Council is required to introduce safe speed limits of 30km/h near 40 percent of its schools by June 2024 – that’s 33 out of 81 schools in the city. Safer speed limits need to be introduced outside all 81 schools by the end of 2027.

As Wellington has a high density of schools, Council will consult on reducing speed limits on all streets in the city. Around 80 percent of Wellington’s streets currently have speed limits that do not align with the safe and appropriate speed calculated for the streets.

Mayor Tory Whanau says it’s important that a balanced approach is taken in making speed limit changes.

“We want to hear from a cross section of Wellingtonians – from business owners and retailers, to parents and others who regularly use our streets – to paint a good picture of the views out there.

“But we should always remember that the proposed speed limit may add a few minutes to your journey but it could save a child’s life. That is at the heart of the issue.”

Chances of receiving serious injuries increase and survival decreases when a pedestrian, cyclist or motorcyclist are hit at speeds above 30-40km/h.

The survival rate is just 20 percent when a pedestrian is hit by a vehicle at 50km/h compared to 90 percent survival rate at 30km/h.

Kōrau Tūāpapa | Environment and Infrastructure Committee Chair Councillor Tamatha Paul says there are other benefits for cities with slower speed limits.

“International research shows slower speed limits not only reduce injuries and death in urban areas, but also make cities healthier and more enjoyable to live in.

“This includes environmental factors like minimising emissions, improved physical health by encouraging people to find alternate means of travel like walking and cycling, and significant noise reduction.”

The consultation will ask Wellingtonians for feedback on:

  1. A speed limit of 30km/h for all non-arterial (local) streets.
  2. A speed limit of 30km/h for arterial streets within city and town centres, near Kohanga Reo, Kura Kaupapa, public housing, schools, suburban shops, kindergartens, play-centres, early childhood education facilities and where cycling or pedestrians safety warrants lower speeds.
  3. A speed limit of 40km/h for all other arterial streets (with exception for a few arterial roads, and regional, national, high-volume roads which would remain at 50km/h).
  4. Lower speed limits where appropriate (eg, the existing 10 km/h on Cuba Street between Wakefield and Manners Street).

The mean operating speed on Wellington’s streets is currently 23.4km/h (excluding state highways).

During the 2012-2021 period, 3992 injuries, including 31 fatalities and 650 serious injuries were reported from crashes on Wellington city’s urban street network, with a social cost estimated at $945m. The Council’s approach offers substantial cash reduction benefits – $529m over 40 years.

The consultation starts 19 May, with Council embarking on a widespread information campaign to get as large and diverse range of opinions on the Council’s approach to reducing speed limits in the city.

Council also formally approved Wellington city's first Zero Waste Strategy today. 

He anamata para kore mō Pōneke a Zero Waste Future for Wellington, outlines the work the Council is undertaking to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill by half by 2030, and to continue to divert waste from the landfill beyond that.