Schools win battle over speed limits

The roads around West Rolleston Primary will soon be safer when the speed limit is dropped to...
The roads around West Rolleston Primary will soon be safer when the speed limit is dropped to 30km/h at pick-up and drop-off times. Photo: Supplied
Schools across the Selwyn district have finally won their fight for lower speed limits.

Thirty-two schools will have 30km/h zones during pick-up and drop-off times over the coming months after NZ Transport agency Waka Kotahi approved the council’s interim speed management plan.

For West Rolleston Primary School board chair Rob Hunt, it brings an end to an eight-year fight since the school opened in 2016.

“We’ve made two long term plan submissions, we’ve made multiple other presentations and it’s been in the safe travel plan since 2016. We are just delighted at the outcome,” Hunt said.

Rob Hunt.
Rob Hunt.
The changes were on track to get under way for the start of term one, as part of a district-wide speed management plan which included all roads, but this was derailed after the Government asked all councils to pause changes until it could finalise speed limit rules.

In March the council decided to forge ahead with an interim speed management plan which only included schools.

“I do recognise the council has had to push forward with this against the narrative of Government and I do appreciate them putting the safety of students around our school and other schools first,” Hunt said.

Hunts’ comments were echoed by Blair Dravitski, principal of the South Island’s largest primary school Lemonwood Grove in Rolleston. 

“We’re most excited about the digital (sign) drop on East Maddisons Rd, it is the widest of the roads around the school . . .  and it was the only 60km/h road around our school,” Dravitski said.

Photo: Subbed
Photo: Subbed
Variable speed limits will be displayed on flashing electronic signs on main roads around each school, and static signs on side roads will show the variable times.

For most schools, the reduced speed limits will be in place from 8.30-9am and 2.45-3.15pm. Some schools will also be able to activate the signs during the day when pupils leave for certain activities, such as bus trips.

The flashing electronic signs will activate during the reduced speed limit time and switch off outside those periods.

Said council executive director of infrastructure and property, Tim Mason: “Selwyn’s roads have been getting busier and busier as our population grows. Our speeds around schools need to account for this so that our kids can safely get to and from school each day.”

The council has $1.2m in funding allocated in the Waka Kotahi National Land Transport Plan for the implementation of speed limit changes around schools. 

• To find out your school’s plan, visit