After safety-focused investigations and significant public input into seven proposed road speed changes, Hastings District Hearings Committee, involving all councillors, announced its recommendations yesterday afternoon.
The recommendations would now be drafted into the speed bylaw and considered by full Council at its June 28 meeting.
The review was instigated by residents who contacted Council, concerned about road safety. “This has been very much driven by people asking Council to put a focus on road safety; particularly speed on our local roads,” said Hastings deputy mayor Tania Kerr. “It’s also very timely that we have held the public hearings and reached recommendations during what is national Road Safety Week New Zealand.”
Council staff investigated the roads put forward by the public and made recommendations to be considered by the hearings committee.
Mrs Kerr said there had been very strong interest from the public with 785 formal submissions lodged with Council. “Each and every one of those submissions has been considered as part of this process.”
The hearings committee considered the opinions and experiences of submitters, crash records, the impacts of changing or not changing a speed on nearby roads, increased development in the areas of the roads, and consistency (ie the number of speed changes along a road).
“We have carefully looked at a great deal of information; however it is fair to say that safety has been our first priority. As well as that we have consulted with residents of the roads concerned and road users, including the general public and industry.”
Farndon Rd was a good example, said Mrs Kerr. “It has a significant crash record [22 crashes in five years, two fatal]; there are drains, power poles, overbridge, a narrow shoulder, and multiple driveways along the length of it. The road is mixed use – general traffic and many slow rural vehicles, and had a range of speeds limits along it. Farndon Rd also has new residential development.”
The committee recommended that the proposed speed limit of 80km be adopted for the road (outside of the already sign-posted 50kmh in the built-up area).
Farndon’s crash record has also seen it singled out for further improvements in Council’s Road Safety Strategy, about to be considered as part of the Long Term Plan discussions. Upgrades could include roadside barriers, road shoulder widening, and enhanced road safety signs.
York Rd was another with a significant crash record: 13 crashes in five years including one fatal in the 100kmh area. The committee agreed that its speed should be reduced from 100kmh to 80kmh. It also features in the Road Safety Strategy.
The other recommendations accepted were: Arataki Rd (reduced 70kmh zone to 50kmh); Kirkwood Rd (reduce 70kmh zone to 50kmh); Percival Rd (reduce 70kmh zone to 50kmh); St George’s Rd (reduce 100kmh zone to 80kmh).
The speed limit in Chatham Rd was also changed to 50kmh. However the committee recommended that its road speed be reviewed again in future, through a process that would also look at speeds in two similar nearby roads: Wilson and Henderson.
If the amended bylaw is accepted by Council, it is envisaged that the new speed limits will come into effect on August 1.
As part of the process, members of the public named more roads they would like considered for speed review. Council would look at those over the next 12 to 24 months, said Mrs Kerr.
9 May 2018
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