Council looks to reduce vehicle speeds through parts of the district.

The Hurunui District Council is looking to reduce speed limits in parts of Amberley Beach, Culverden, Hanmer Springs, Rotherham and Scargill.

As part of a review of it’s Speed Limits Bylaw, the Council is proposing a reduction in existing speed limits in some parts of the district by 20km/h.

Mayor Winton Dalley says in most cases the proposed changes are the direct result of requests from the individual townships.

“They have told us of their fears for the safety of children and the elderly, in particular, trying to cross roads where speed limits currently allow vehicles to travel at up to 100 km/h.

“We agree, that where practical, we should do all we can to minimise conflict between vehicles and pedestrians and where reducing the speed limit can help achieve that, we are happy to consider it.”

He points out there are national criteria governing speed limits that will still need to be met.

“While we are willing to challenge these in support of our communities, and have done so in the past, we need strong arguments and community support to make a case to the New Zealand Transport Agency to use maximum discretion.”

He says Rotherham is a case in point, where the Council reduced the speed limit along one stretch of road to 50km/h in response to community concerns, and in particular, those of the local school.

“While the speed limit met the community’s needs, it did not meet the Transport Authorities national standards, which meant it could not be formally gazetted or enforced”, which he says is “unsatisfactory for all parties”.

The Council is now proposing a revised speed limit of 70km/h for the one kilometre stretch along George Street in Rotherham.

“We accept the standards are there to provide consistency across the country and while we understand our community’s desire we also need to work within the law. That means compromises on both sides to find a solution that can meet everyone’s needs.”

“That is why we are hoping to negotiate a new limit of 70km/h, which is still 10km/h below the guidelines. We can then also look at complementary traffic-calming measures to help control traffic speed.”

The Council is also proposing to set up a separate Register of Speed Limits which would allow adjustments to be made to speed limits in the district in the future by way of a resolution of Council, rather than full review of the Bylaw.

The Register would incorporate all speed limits established under the 2005 Bylaw and any of the changes proposed at Amberley Beach, Culverden, Hanmer Springs, Rotherham and Scargill, if adopted.

Proposed changes under the Speed Limits Bylaw Review are:

* to reduce the speed limit for the whole of the Amberley Beach urban area from 50km/h to 30km/h. This would bring it in to line with other beach settlements in the district.

* to reduce the speed limit in the Hanmer Springs village centre from 50km to 30km/h and on Lochiel Drive, Elien Place and Woodbank Road (to the Chatterton Bridge), from 70km to 50km/h.

* to reduce the speed limit along St Leonards Road, Culverden from 70km to 50km/h for the first 470 metres from the intersection with Mountainview Road (SH7).

* to reduce the speed limit in the Scargill area from 100km to 80km/h.

* to revise the speed limit on George Street Rotherham from 50km to 70km/hr in recognition that it is a district arterial route.

The Community has until June 3rd 2011 to let the Council know its thoughts on the proposals.


For further information contact:

Judith Batchelor

Environmental Services Manager

Hurunui District Council

P: 03 314 0102