Proposed speed limit changes now on backburner

Last year, the DCC proposed a raft of changes throughout the area including sizable parts of...
Last year, the DCC proposed a raft of changes throughout the area including sizable parts of Dunedin would be covered by 30kmh limits. Photo: ODT files
A raft of speed limit reductions throughout Dunedin will remain stalled after the government raced ahead with new proposed limits.

Earlier this week, Transport Minister Simeon Brown confirmed it proposed to scrap all planned speed limit reductions introduced since the start of 2020 on local streets, arterial roads and rural state highways.

As part of consultation on the draft rule, the government was seeking feedback on enabling speed limits of up to 120kmh on Roads of National Significance that were built and maintained to safely accommodate that speed.

It will also require variable speed limits outside schools during pick up and drop off times.

Last year, the city council proposed a raft of changes throughout the area.

It proposed sizable parts of the city would be covered by 30kmh limits, a series of arterial routes could have had 40kmh limits and rural roads would be subject to blanket traffic speed reductions.

All rural roads that are the responsibility of the Dunedin City Council and which have 100kmh limits could have been reduced to 80kmh limits or, if they are unsealed, 60kmh.

But infrastructure committee chairman Cr Jim O’Malley said the government’s announcement had put all of those changes on the backburner.

"It was flagged by the government they would do this ... there wouldn’t be much point lowering the speed limit if the government were to put it back up again.

"We’ll take a look at the government’s proposals ... I do think in Dunedin there was an appetite for some of the changes we proposed [last year], but we cannot be in direct opposition to the government on this one."

Cr O’Malley said the changes would have been "enormous".

He wanted to "look at" changes to arterial roads, particularly the busier ones.

"Depending on the government of the day, there will be an appetite for road safety or road efficiency.

"Clearly the previous government’s focus was more on road safety, this government’s focus is on road efficiency."

His own personal preference was to "err on the side of safety" where possible, he said.