News | 20 April 2023
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Council to discuss reducing speed limits on roads

Wellington City Council will next week discuss plans to consult Wellingtonians on reducing speed limits as part of Aotearoa’s Road to Zero.

An adult and two children wearing high vis vests and holding the school pedestrian crossing signs on a road.

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 be asked to 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.

Meeting Agenda

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).

The move 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.

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.

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.

If approved, a six-week consultation will start next month. The Council will embark 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.