Lower Christchurch speed limits raise commuting time concerns

Humphreys Drive. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Humphreys Drive. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Linwood-Central-Heathcote Community Board member Darrell Latham wants Christchurch City Council to keep Humphreys Drive at 70km/h.

He says the proposed speed reduction will increase commuter times for motorists driving into the city.

“Given the recent speed reductions from 50km/h to 30km/h through the Woolston Village, transit times for residents commuting to the city are likely to increase,” he said.

“The route via Humphreys Drive provides an alternative and quicker option for many coastal residents.”

The city council is proposing to reduce the current 70km/h speed to 60km/h in an effort to make it safer for both cyclists and motorists who share the road.

City council transport operations manager Steffan Thomas said the speed limit reduction would also “better reflect the safe and appropriate speed recommended by current speed management guidance from Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency.”

In the past five years, there have been six recorded crashes along the 70km/h section of Humphreys Drive.

Two resulted in serious injury, two resulted in minor injury, and two resulted in no injury.

One of the serious crashes involved a cyclist.

The proposal comes as the Rapanui-Shag Rock cycleway will be completely constructed by mid-2022.

Thomas said the city council had not considered putting in lights along the bike path in the nearby Charlesworth Reserve, which is used as an alternative during the day for cyclists who would usually travel along Humphreys Drive.

“The intention is for Humphreys Drive to remain as the night-time cycle route,” he said.

“Improvements to the existing on-road cycle lanes along Humphreys Drive include street lighting assessments/improvements, two sets of pedestrian and cycle signalised crossings, widening of the existing road shoulders and other safety improvement features.”

Darrell Latham.
Darrell Latham.
Latham said it concerned him the city council’s intention was for Humphreys Drive to remain a route for cyclists, “particularly given a serious injury accident and after spending ratepayers dollars creating a safer alternative route through Charlesworth Reserve.”

“It’s nonsensical to have two routes as we have the opportunity to keep cyclists 100 per cent safe on a dedicated pathway,” he said.

He said night-time lighting should be installed in Charlesworth Reserve, making it safer for cyclists rather than encouraging continued use on Humphreys Drive.

“Safety is of paramount importance for all road users,” he said.

The city council is also proposing that Tidal View’s current 50km/h speed should be reduced to 30km/h.

Public consultation is open for the proposed speed reductions. It closes on August 24.

Businesses along both Humphreys Drive and Tidal View have been asked to share their perspective on the proposal, alongside residents in Redcliffs, Ferrymead, Brookhaven, Mt Pleasant, Sumner and Heathcote.

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