Maori Rd safety measures 'damaging cars'

Roadworks are under way to improve the safety of Maori Rd. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
Roadworks are under way to improve the safety of Maori Rd. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
Minor road safety improvements in Maori Rd are causing problems for drivers in Dunedin, opponents say.

Lee Vandervis
Lee Vandervis

City councillor Lee Vandervis this week said he had received ‘‘a lot of anxiety mail’’ from residents about the speed bumps designed to calm traffic, but that were, in practice, damaging cars.

He said he believed the city needed to take safety in school areas ‘‘much more seriously’’, but it was not appropriate to use the city’s crash statistics to justify more speed bumps on roads.

There were high crash rates in Dunedin because there were a high number of drivers in two demographics — ‘‘very old’’ drivers and ‘‘very young’’ drivers — that were statistically more likely to be involved in crashes.

‘‘We’d still like to get around the city without damage to our cars,’’ he said.

Last week, the Otago Daily Times reported one lane in Maori Rd would be closed for the remainder of the month while two new speed bumps and two raised crossings were installed.

Dunedin City Council transport engineering and road safety team leader Hjarne Poulsen said the road was used by pupils walking to the four schools in City Rise and by commuters walking through the Town Belt to the city.

The speed bumps would slow cars to less than 30kmh, which would reduce the likelihood of a pedestrian being killed from 80% to 10% compared with a 50kmh impact.

AA Otago District Council chairman Malcolm Budd said the 50kmh speed limit for the road was a maximum and drivers should always drive to the conditions, but current ‘‘safety improvements’’ were ‘‘an absolute joke’’ and increasingly lower speed limits would lead to increased congestion.

‘‘We’re all about safety, we definitely want the road safer for motorists and road users, but certainly it’s a bit of an overkill around Dunedin at the moment.’’

Crs Christine Garey and Jim O’Malley took issue with Cr Vandervis’ concerns at this week’s council infrastructure services committee meeting; both said road safety was often raised by schools.

‘‘It won’t suit everybody,’’ Cr Garey said.

‘‘They don’t necessarily understand the bigger picture.’’

hamish.maclean@odt.co.nz

Comments

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You can see the damage the new speed bumps are causing to cars - there are gauges in the road after several of the bumps already, caused by the undercarriages bottoming out.

Whoever put the new speed bumps in made them too steep.

But I suppose if you're a mayor who uses other people's cars to get around, car damage doesn't matter, does it!

Cr Carey, no maybe some don't understand the bigger picture, can you please explain to us all what that is ?

While caretaking a camping ground in Australia I got tired of asking people to slow down, these were all locals using our laundry and shower facilities. The situation was dangerous so I installed some simple gravel speed bumps one morning. I then sat back having my coffee and watched the result. Everyone was upset, the older woman in the yellow mini that nearly went into orbit was furious and never returned. But they all asked one question; "Did you do that because of me?"
Speed bumps work far better than signs, and anyone damaging their vehicle on speed bumps does so because they are hitting them too hard.
Those people complaining are upset by one thing only, speed bumps work without fear or favour. These people do not want to have to slow down, these people do not care about endangering pedestrians.
If they had slowed down earlier, then speed bumps wouldn't have been needed. Speed bumps are instant justice in action.

I agree but the big question is should we try to force people into driving safer or should we be trying to get unsafe drivers off the road? The other problem with speed bumps is that they are bad for the environment. Every time a vehicle has to brake and accelerate to it uses more energy. All that being said I am not necessarily against speed bumps but I think their use should be limited.

"The road is used by students walking to the four schools in City Rise", one wonders why there are students using the road to walk to school when there is a footpath provided.

How many pedestrians have been killed walking along Maori Road? Very few I'd say. This is simply another anti-vehicle policy but this anti-progression Council. Ironically, speed-bumps increase vehicle emissions as cars speed up between the bumps.

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