Support for 30kmh zone

Chalmers Community Board chairman Steve Walker is advocating for the temporary 30kmh speed...
Chalmers Community Board chairman Steve Walker is advocating for the temporary 30kmh speed restriction on a section of George St, Port Chalmers, to be made permanent in response to a groundswell of public support. Photo by Brenda Harwood.

There has been a groundswell of community support in Port Chalmers for the lower speed limit in George St to be made permanent.

In November, the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) approved an application by the Chalmers Community Board, supported by Dunedin City Council, to introduce a temporary speed restriction of 30kmh in a 220m section of George St, near the Port Otago wharves.

It was introduced for a test period, from December 21 to February 28. Associated monitoring and driver behaviour surveys were carried out by the council on behalf of the board.

At their recent meeting, community board members received a letter from the Vision Port Chalmers group, urging the permanent lowering of the speed limit. It was also advised that the Port Environment Liaison Committee, which includes representatives of Port Otago, ''was not opposed'' to the possibility of a permanent speed reduction.

Board chairman Steve Walker said there had been a strong groundswell of community support for making permanent the restriction.

At the first council annual plan roadshow in Port Chalmers last week, the speed limit was the number one issue.

''It was a surprise to me, since the cycleway-walkway is usually always the top issue for local people,'' Mr Walker said.

''People who spoke to me were very enthusiastic about getting the 30km speed limit put in permanently,'' he said.

Vision Port Chalmers member Pete Cole, also a community board member, told The Star that feedback from business owners and local residents had been that the speed reduction test period had been a resounding success.

Council senior traffic engineer Ron Minnema, who oversaw the speed restriction test period, will report the survey results to the Chalmers Community Board at its meeting on April 30. The results will also go to the NZTA.

While not being able to be too specific, he told The Star there had been good compliance from all road users. The speed of heavy vehicle traffic in general was less than other traffic.

Feedback from police had been that the speed restriction had ''worked well'', Mr Minnema said.

Mr Walker said the Chalmers Community Board was in the process of planning its submission to the DCC's annual plan, but would most likely include a request to reintroduce the 30kmh speed restriction on George St for the next cruise ship season and possibly as a permanent fixture beyond that.

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