Council says yes to lower speed zones

11 December 2015

Wellington City Council have said yes to lowering the speed limit from 50km/h to 30km/h in the shopping areas of Berhampore, Khandallah, Ngaio, Northland, and Wadestown, together with an extension of the existing 50km/h area northwards along Happy Valley Road.

Car at intersection in Khandallah.

The decision is in response to overwhelming support from the community to lower speed limits in these neighbourhoods. An average of 81% of the 391 submissions received were in favour of lowering the speed limits.

 From 2007 to 2013, a total of 68 crashes resulting in injury were reported in or near these five shopping areas, 18 of which caused injuries to pedestrians.

Councillor Andy Foster, Chair of the Council’s Transport and Urban Development Committee, says the lower speed limits are part of the Council’s strategy to improve safety on Wellington’s roads.

“Lower speed limits make our streets safer and more pleasant for all road users and are in line with similar initiatives throughout New Zealand as well as internationally – in Europe, the USA and Australia.

“By lowering the speed limit, we have seen less injury crashes occur and therefore a reduction in the risk of people being seriously injured or killed - whether you’re walking, riding a bike, in a car, or a motorbike.

“This is particularly important in suburban shopping centres where there are significant numbers of people on foot and needing to cross the road.

“Vehicles travelling at lower speeds have a shorter stopping distance – a few more metres can make all the difference.”

Cr Foster says safer speed limits in Wellington are in line with the national road safety strategy, Safer Journeys, which includes the principle of shared responsibility – from the people who design the roads to everyone who uses them.

“It’s based on human physiology and setting speeds that allow people the best possible chance to avoid death or serious injury in the event of a crash.

“If we create an environment where more people feel it is safe to walk or ride bikes then there is less congestion on our roads – so all road users benefit.”

The safer speed limits in these areas will come will come into effect in early 2016.

Other Wellington suburbs with lower speed limits already in place are: Aro Valley, Brooklyn, Hataitai, Island Bay, Kelburn, Kilbirnie, Miramar, Newtown, Seatoun, Strathmore Park and Thorndon.

The speed limit reductions comply with the criteria specified in the Land Transport Rule: Setting of Speed Limits (2003) and are generally supported by key stakeholders including The New Zealand Police, New Zealand Transport (NZTA) and the New Zealand Automobile Association (AA).

The Council plans to consult the community on the proposed introduction of lower speed limits in more areas around Wellington. This may also include extending the areas of existing lower speed areas.