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Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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Council’s school speed reductions

Motorists in Masterton District are at risk of being ticketed if they haven’t kept up with recent reductions in speed limits outside schools.

The previous government’s speed laws required Masterton District Council [MDC] to reduce limits outside the vicinity of schools and marae to a maximum of 30km/h in urban areas and 60km/h in rural areas – some of them permanent and others variable.

Although the council had until 2027 to make the changes, MDC has already reduced the speed limit outside most of the district’s schools.

A permanent speed limit of 30km/h has now been established outside four Masterton schools – Chanel College, Douglas Park School, Masterton Intermediate School, and Ōpaki School – while there’s a new 60km/h limit outside Rathkeale College.

Eight schools now have variable speed limits in their vicinity – 50-30km/h for Lakeview School, Masterton Primary School, Mākoura College, Solway School, and Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Wairarapa, 60-40km/ for Whareama School, 80-40km/h for Fernridge School, and 100-60km/h for Wainuioru School.

Permanent speed limits have yet to be introduced outside four of the district’s schools – Wairarapa College, St Matthew’s Collegiate, and Mauriceville School, which will have a 40km/h limit, and Tīnui School [30km/h].

“Changes to speed limits will be ongoing as development in the district continues, and to achieve alignment with the Government’s Road to Zero Action Plan with respect to speed management,” the MDC Speed Management Plan states.

“This initial Speed Management Plan provides guidance on Council’s approach to when, how, and why speed should be managed on each of the roads identified.”

MDC highlights that travel speed is indicated as being a contributing factor in 35 per cent of all fatal and serious crashes on local roads, as well as playing a significant part in the number of crashes.

The council was unable to provide the specific dates for when speed limit changes will be made outside the remaining schools.

Although the council has enforced the majority of speed changes, further changes may be in train soon, due to the coalition government introducing a new Land Transport Rule that’s set to be signed by the end of 2024 and looks likely to roll back permanent speed reductions in the vicinity of schools.

“Implementing variable speed limits on roads approaching schools during pick-up and drop-off times, rather than permanent reductions, will keep young New Zealanders safe when they are arriving at or leaving school,” Minister for Transport Simeon Brown said.

“Similar approaches are used in parts of the United Kingdom, Australia, the United States, and other countries to prioritise safety.”

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