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The move was signalled part-way through yesterday's council planning and environment committee meeting, as council staff outlined plans for the next speed limit review.
The report outlined plans to consult the public over speed limit reviews for 13 city streets, including John Wilson Ocean Dr and Logan Park Dr, in a process that could take up to 18 months.
However, council transportation engineer Diana Munster also gave the meeting a ''heads up'' that staff were considering the possible introduction of variable speed limits outside some schools.
That would see areas outside schools designated as variable speed zones, with the limit lowering to 40kmh at busy times at the the start and end of each school day, before reverting to the normal speed limit at other times.
It would be the first time the zones had been used in Dunedin, although other measures were already in place in school zones, she said.
''This has been suggested as another tool.''
Ms Munster told the meeting staff were talking to school representatives about the new approach, which could lead to some suitable areas for the new zones being identified in the next month or so.
She wanted any areas identified as suitable to be included in the forthcoming speed limit review process and considered as well.
However, that prompted opposition from Cr Lee Vandervis, who worried the decision was being made ''on the hoof'' without enough supporting information from council staff or police.
Instead, councillors accepted an alternative approach that would see staff identify any suitable sites and then report to councillors at the next full council meeting on September 23.
Elsewhere, the council had received requests for the speed limits of 32 roads to be reviewed, of which 13 were considered suitable for reassessment, a report by council senior traffic engineer Ron Minnema said.
Most requests came from residents, but all wanted speed limits reduced, including in John Wilson Ocean Dr, which was proposed to drop from 50kmh to 30kmh.
The proposals would be the subject of public consultation, including submissions and a possible public hearing, before a decision was made.