Selwyn District Council moves ahead with plan to drop speed limits

About 600 West Rolleston Primary pupils use the kea crossing outside the school every day. Photo:...
About 600 West Rolleston Primary pupils use the kea crossing outside the school every day. Photo: Supplied
Selwyn District Council has opted to ignore Government advice and move ahead with a plan to lower speed limits around schools.

Council staff presented the interim speed management plan, focused on schools and high-risk areas, to district councillors at their meeting on Wednesday.

Despite Transport Minister Simeon Brown advising all councils stop work on speed limit changes, district councillors unanimously agreed to move ahead with the plan to lower speed limits around schools in Selwyn.

"Council is committed to making speeds safe for our communities around all of our schools and numerous sites across the district that critically require a speed reduction,” a report from council staff said.

West Rolleston Primary School board chair Rob Hunt, who has been to council three times to plead for lower speeds, was pleased to see councillors move forward with the plan.

"It is great to see progress being made. The only caveat is until it’s done, it is not done."

The key difference between the new plan and the one presented to councillors in December is now all schools have variable speed limits.

The council has allocated $1.26 million in funding from the NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi National Land Transport Plan for the implementation of speed limit changes around schools.

The report said it was a situation of “use it or lose it” with the funding due to expire in June.

“This option carries some financial risk as there is currently no guarantee of certification nor indication from the Government around their intentions of the continued use of bilingual signage or the nature of the variable signage to be used. Staff perceive the associated risk as low,” the report said.

In the plan, 32 schools across the district will see lower speed limits at pick up and drop off times. Signs showing the new speed limits and times will be placed outside each school.

“It is the intention of SDC to use static variable signs instead of electronic variable signs until sufficient stocks of electronic signs are obtained,” the report said.

The council has applied for a further $1.41 million in funding for school safety infrastructure in the 24-27 NLTP.