Port Chalmers speed restriction funding sought

The effectiveness of several temporary 30kmh  speed restriction signs in George St, Port Chalmers...
The effectiveness of several temporary 30kmh speed restriction signs in George St, Port Chalmers, will be assessed during a series of traffic surveys in the area next week. Photo by Tim Miller.
A temporary speed restriction in Port Chalmers' main street has been a hit with business owners but its impact on motorists is yet to be established - and the question of who will pay for it has arisen.

In November last year, the New Zealand Transport Agency approved an application by the Chalmers Community Board, supported by the Dunedin City Council, to introduce a temporary speed restriction of 30kmh in George St, near Port Otago. Under the temporary traffic management plan,

30kmh signs were put up and lane-change bollards installed. The change was introduced on December 21 and will continue until February 28.

The cost of the plan, including the signs, bollards, monitoring and removal, was about $5800 and this had been covered so far from the council's maintenance budget, DCC senior traffic engineer Ron Minnema said.

However, it was possible the costs could result in scheduled maintenance in the Chalmers Community Board area being deferred until the 2014-15 year.

''If money is tight, some projects may have to be deferred,'' Mr Minnema said.

The council asked the Chalmers Community Board to consider making a financial contribution to the costs, at its first meeting for 2014.

Chalmers Community Board chairman Steve Walker said the request would need to be discussed in depth, but he hoped the ''financial implications could be minimised''.

The aim of the speed restriction, and the widening of two pedestrian crossings in George St, was to ease concern about the possibility of accidents involving pedestrians, in particular cruise-ship tourists, he said.

''I have spoken to the shop owners in Port Chalmers, and most seem pleased with the restriction - they feel the traffic has definitely slowed down ... The community is behind it and the shopkeepers are behind it,'' Mr Walker said.

To see whether the plan has reduced speeds and whether it is diverting traffic to Ajax Rd, which runs parallel to George St, a series of traffic surveys will be carried out between February 10 and 17.

Mr Minnema said the surveys would look at driver behaviour in George St and Ajax St, and compare cruise-ship days with non-cruise-ship days.

The results would be reported back to the NZTA, the Chalmers Community Board and Port Otago by the end of June, and would inform discussion on ''what to do next'', Mr Minnema said.


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