Why we support WCC creating new low-speed zones

'thirty' text from James Burgess. CC free to use.

Wellington City Council are consulting on whether to introduce 30km/h speed limits in several suburban centres. The consultation is open until 12 October. Have your say!

We think it’s a great idea. Our CAW committee member Andy Gow is writing our submission. Here are some of his key points.

  • The Council’s own statistics make it clear that 30km/h limits make a massive difference to injury rates in crashes. Analysis of crash data comparing statistics from 2007-2009 to statistics from 2012-2014 showed:
    • 82% reduction in injury crashes within the shopping centres where the 30km/h speed restriction has been introduced, but:
    • 24% reduction in the shopping areas where 30km/h restrictions have been approved but not introduced.
  • All of these places are currently busy and narrow with limited or no alternative routes for cyclists.
  • Our experience of riding in 30 km/h zones such as Aro valley and Miramar is that car drivers tend to treat other road including cyclists with more respect, and dangerous overtaking is much less common (bike riders tend to be going much closer to the speed of the cars, which is the main benefit).
  • None of these places have yet benefited from improvements to facilitate easier cycling, and we would still strongly encourage that even with a 30 km/h limit, cycle provision is considered in accordance with the WCC Cycling Framework 2015. Where these zones would already benefit from being a ‘Shared 30 km/h zone’ under the framework, we recommend that the zone is designed as such at the same time.  Where other alternatives (quiet routes, protected lanes, alternative routes) are available we recommend that these are built expediently in addition to the 30 km/h zone.

The proposal relates to six Wellington communities – a portion of Happy Valley Road (reducing the limit from 70km/h to 50km/h) and the shopping areas in Berhampore, Khandallah, Ngaio, Northland and Wadestown (all from 50 km/h to 30 km/h).

We’d love the proposed 50km/h limit for Happy Valley Road to extend through to fill the whole of the current 70 km/h zone.

  • As it stands, a mere 700m or so will be left at 70km/h, so time savings for drivers will be negligible.
  • The road is busy with heavy vehicles heading to and from the tip, and is popular with recreational cyclists (especially at the weekend) as well as commuters.
  • The remaining 70km/h zone includes Carlucciland, houses, and two bus stops.