Christchurch City Council has moved to reduce speeds outside all schools across the city and Banks Peninsula to 30km/h, with the approval of the Safe Speed Neighbourhoods Interim (phase one) Speed Management Plan.
The changes will come into effect outside Christchurch schools and within the surrounding neighbourhood to look after children travelling to school.
Council says the approach reflects new rules set by the Ministry of Transport and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency in May 2022, requiring councils to set safe and appropriate speed limits for all streets and roads, in accordance with national standards set by the Safe System approach.
Some schools on busier streets will have ‘variable’ zones where the limit drops to 30km/h during school hours and is higher at other times, however most local streets will have a permanent 30km/h limit.
Along with slower speeds on streets outside schools, the interim plan will reduce limits to 30km/h or 40km/h in selected neighbourhoods.
The Council approved funding for five safer speed neighbourhoods each year in the 2021-2031 Long Term Plan. There will also be speed reductions on some rural roads.
In total, almost 2,000 streets will have speeds reduced.
“This is part of the Council’s ongoing commitment to improving safety for all road users, but particularly for our children and our most vulnerable,” says Acting Mayor, Pauline Cotter.
“Our aim is to make it safer around schools and neighbourhoods so that if you’re walking or scootering to school, biking to the shops or driving to work, you can do so safely.
“During the consultation process we heard from residents wanting greater consistency and an extension of some speed zones within small areas and where feasible staff have accommodated this.
“Where additional areas for safer speeds have been requested these will be addressed as part of the full Speed Management Plan and the public will have the opportunity to comment on that later in the year.”
Council developed an Interim Speed Management Plan for the 2023-2024 period to enable consultation on a range of speed limit changes that were already planned, says Head of Transport Operations Stephen Wright.
“This included the Slow Speed Neighbourhood long-term plan project, the Christchurch Regeneration Acceleration Fund programme, and consultation on the changes outside schools.
“Changing speed limits around schools to make them safe and appropriate is a requirement of the new rule. The interim plan contains the first phase of speed limit changes across the city and Banks Peninsula,” says Mr Wright.
The first signs are expected to be installed later this year.