Push against peninsula speed reductions makes inroads

The work will raise and widen a 3.3km section of Portobello Rd from Luss Rd, Company Bay, to...
Photo: ODT File
The Dunedin City Council looks set to keep speed limits on Otago Peninsula largely as they are following a public backlash to proposed changes.

On a second day of hearings yesterday, the council regulatory subcommittee of chairman Andrew Whiley and Crs Mike Lord, Jim O’Malley and Rachel Elder heard nine further submitters on proposed amendments to the Speed Limits Bylaw before beginning deliberations.

Proposed amendments to the bylaw included lowering speed limits from 80kmh to 60kmh for some high-risk rural roads; extending the 30kmh speed limit zone in the central city; introducing a 30kmh speed limit through the Green Island shopping area; and a 40kmh speed limit through Otago Peninsula urban areas.

The public consultation process wrapped up yesterday, and while deliberations by the committee began, they were adjourned until November 10 while a final recommendation is drafted.

However, the committee indicated it would drop a proposal to reduce speed limits in Otago Peninsula roads outside of town centres from 50kmh to 40kmh.

Cr O’Malley said keeping the speed at 70kmh between centres was a good compromise, acknowledging a submission from the Otago Peninsula Community Board, representing 450 residents, and other submitters, who worried about commute times with lowered speeds.

Board chairman Paul Pope, speaking to his submission on Wednesday, said more than 58% of those surveyed disagreed with cutting the speed limit to 40kmh in the main streets of the peninsula, and more than 73% disagreed the limit in all other roads be reduced to 60kmh.

He, alongside other submitters, said safety improvements along the peninsula were already sufficient, and the community would be affected by increased commute times under the changes.

Cr Whiley said making speeds in towns and near peninsula schools 40kmh would ensure consistency with speed limits at other schools in the city.

Councillors acknowledged concern expressed by several submitters about the dangers of speed at Pukekihi, and suggested speed limits around the village also be reduced to 40kmh — 30kmh lower than the present 70kmh — in keeping with other urban areas on the peninsula.

The committee agreed reducing speed in Three Mile Hill Rd would make it slower for commuters coming from Mosgiel, but discussed that it was becoming more of an arterial route in Dunedin and may need to be addressed at next year’s bylaw review.

The committee agreed on extending the 30kmh speed limits in the centre city, to reduce speed limits in Scroggs Hill Rd from 100kmh to 80kmh, and that the Shortcut Rd speed limit be halved from 100kmh to 50kmh.

Among those who submitted yesterday, Broad Bay resident and former volunteer firefighter Paul Valk said he was opposed to speed limit reductions along the peninsula except for in Macandrew Bay, where he had seen some "close calls".

Pedestrians crossing the road in Macandrew Bay were particularly at risk, he said.

Despite some submitters being against many of the speed reductions, others passionately supported them.

Amy Leuthauser, an emergency physician at Dunedin Hospital, said she saw patients who had been involved in crashes every day, many caused by speed.

"I have to fix patients literally broken as a direct result of speed ... reducing speed [limits] would be of benefit."

Shortcut Rd resident Chris Linsell said the road’s speed limit needed to be drastically reduced, but ideally it should be closed.

On November 10, the committee will finalise a recommendation before presenting it to a full meeting of the council.

If approved by the council, the changes will likely come into effect over the coming months.

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