Sunday, May 19, 2024

Slow down around Hamilton schools

Drivers are being urged to pay extra attention when students return for the start of Term Two this week, with new 30km/h speed limits now in place around all Hamilton schools.  

Hamilton City Council City Transport Unit Manager, Gordon Naidoo said the new speed limits, which come into effect around all 58 of the city’s primary, intermediate and high schools from today, aim to make these areas safer for all road users, particularly children. 

“With the relationship between speed and road injuries well established internationally, by reducing speed limits around schools we are taking practical steps to help protect our youngest road users,” said Mr Naidoo.

“Children travelling to school can be easily distracted by their surroundings. They may also find it difficult to judge distances and could step into the road without warning, so it is important that drivers are patient, take extra care and stick to the speed limit when driving near schools.”

The new 30km/h speed limits will replace the previous 40km/h speed limits around Hamilton schools. The change was approved at Council’s Traffic Speed Limit and Road Closure Hearing Panel in December 2023, following full consultation with schools and the public earlier in the year.

Strong support for the change was received from schools, while 293 comments were generated from 177 respondents during public consultation – of these, 63% of comments (186 comments) were supportive of speed reductions, while 19% (55 comments) opposed the changes.  

Knighton Normal School Deputy Principal, Materoa Collins, is welcoming the reduced speed limits, which will help ensure students get to and from school safely each day. 

“Having safer speed limits around schools keeps our tamariki at the heart of all that matters to us. It puts their safety first and foremost,” said Ms Collins. 

Rather than a ‘one size fits all’ approach to the change, Mr Naidoo said careful consideration was given to each school location to determine whether a permanent speed limit was appropriate or if it better suited a variable speed limit, which would see the limit reduce to 30km/h around drop-off and pick-up times only. For schools located on roads considered to be important for moving people and freight, variable speed limits will be in place, he said.

“As part of the process we also worked with schools to better understand the journeys that their students take to determine whether any changes should be made to the area covered by the new speed limits.” 

“As a result, in some areas there will be additional side streets and back entrances covered by the 30km/h speed limits, to better reflect how students are getting to and from school.”  

The introduction of the 30km/h speed limits around schools aligns with the Hamilton Speed Management Plan 2022 and Council’s Vision Zero goal where there are no serious injuries or deaths on local roads.  

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