Tuesday, April 23, 2024

LGNZ says highway speed reduction plan ‘simplistic’

Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) says it will prepare a high-level submission to Waka Kotahi’s plan to reduce speed limits across the nation’s state highway network.

The local government advocacy body said it supports the vision for a “state highway network where no one is killed or seriously injured”, but says the current proposal is too simplistic.

“While we see some need for speed changes, we also see a need for a broader suite of changes, including infrastructure maintenance/renewals, driver education, investment in road safety signage, investment in campaigns around drunk driving/driving under the influence of drugs etc,” LGNZ said in a statement.

“We know members are concerned that reducing speeds shouldn’t be at the expense of investing in the maintenance of the network – and that there is genuine engagement with communities around appropriate speed limits rather than blanket approaches.”

It said sensible speed reductions outside schools, marae and townships “probably make sense”.

“But speed restrictions in general need to be balanced against the ability to move people and freight – which is a core purpose of the state highway network.” 

“We also have concerns about congestion and travel times, particularly for people living in rural areas, where public transport is often not a viable alternative.  

“We have some concerns that speed reductions are an overly simplistic approach that doesn’t address the underlying issue of the condition of the SH network.

There’s also a “maintenance mountain” that must be considered, the advocacy body said.

“And there must be an investment into safety improvements. Newer, and well-maintained, roads are safer roads,” it said.

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