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Councillors keeping options open on speed

Carterton councillors chose not to adopt the principles and priorities of a draft interim speed management plan that proposes an end to 100kmh speed limits in the district.

Instead, elected members “noted” the principles and priorities, ensuring they were not locking themselves into a predetermined position on the speed review before community consultation.

The speed management plan, compiled by Tonkin and Taylor for Carterton and South Wairarapa councils, proposed to drop dozens of 100kmh rural stretches of road to 80kmh or 60kmh.

It also proposed dropping some to 40kmh.

The proposal follows Waka Kotahi NZTA’s speed management guide and aims to provide safer roads.

At Wednesday’s meeting, Carterton Deputy Mayor Dale Williams said he was “challenged” by the proposal “in 100 different ways” and asked what percentage of the district’s roads would change as per the draft plan.

A senior council staffer said all district roads would change under the draft plan.

Williams said the plan seemed to be “an overreaction” and a blanket solution as opposed to the best solution for safer roads.

Councillor Grace Ayling raised concerns with compliance and policing across a reduced speed network spanning hundreds of kilometres.

Councillor Lou Newman said she was “quite supportive” of the speed management plan and noted the focus was to create a safer roading network.

In Carterton, Hilton Rd from 35 metres southeast of Madison St to Marshall Rd would drop from 100kmh to 40kmh, under the draft plan.

All of Portland Rd would see the same reduction.

Richmond Rd from 40m northwest of Rutland Rd to Marshall Rd would drop from 100kmh to 60kmh.

Rutland Rd would also reduce from 100kmh to 60kmh.

For some roads, the proposed speed reduction reflected a point where the road changed from sealed to gravel.

The agenda said the councils were at stage two of eight, seeking feedback from stakeholders about priorities and speed concerns.

The final step was to implement the plan.

After deliberation, councillors unanimously decided to “note” the principles and priorities of the draft interim speed management plan, instead of adopting them.

The plan will now be reviewed by council staff, and changes will be made.

A new draft would be brought back to the council table before public consultation takes place.

Public feedback would be formally considered by council.

The plan would ultimately need to be approved by NZTA. -NZLDR

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

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Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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