A local cycling group was among the submitters at a Carterton District Council [CDC] hearing supporting lower speeds on the district’s roads, while most written submissions opposed the changes.
Of 217 submissions received on the draft speed management plan, 27 were confirmed to be heard in person. The agenda showed about one-third of in-person submitters wanted speeds reduced, with the rest opposed.
The concerns of the attendees at yesterday’s hearing in Carterton who supported the reductions on the districts’ secondary roads included safety and increased traffic due to people diverting from SH2 to rural roads with higher speeds. Some argued for a system with just one speed, saying current multiple speeds are confusing. Others used the opportunity to complain about lower speeds on the state highway, saying lower speeds did not mean roads would be safer.
The proposal comes after the open road limit on SH2 between Masterton and Featherston was reduced from 100 to 80kph earlier this year. CDC asked for feedback on lowering the speed limit around schools, marae, and roads designated as “high priority”.
Lesley MacGibbon is a cyclist and member of the Carterton Cycle Group, as well as the chair of the Carterton District Trails Trust.
She said there is an effort to make Carterton more friendly for cyclists.
“It’s an informal group and we cycle twice a week on the roads around Wairarapa,” she said.
“Carterton district and the Wairarapa as a whole is a cyclist’s dream. We are so lucky we have so many quiet country roads to explore.
“We think it’s important to have consistency across the three council areas. It’s no good having slow, fast, slow, fast, slow. It will end up with people just doing the fastest across the whole area.”
The group supports CDC coordination on speeds with Masterton and South Wairarapa District Councils, MacGibbon said.
“With SH2 now 80kph, we believe all rural roads should be 80kph as well. We are worried that if some local roads remain 100kph, we are going to get displacement off SH2 onto those quieter, more bendy, less safe roads. And they are the roads we cycle on.
“The most dangerous roads for cyclists in the Carterton district area are currently Park Rd and Carters Line.
“We keep off them as much as we can because they are not safe,” she said.
“Park Rd in particular has nothing on the sides. There is no boundary where bikes can go – you’ve just got the sealed road, and then you’ve got a ditch. There’s nowhere for cyclists to go, and cars do speed down Park Rd, and the same with Carters Line.”
Daryl Hind was one of the majority of submitters who opposed the proposals.
“Putting up a sign with a lower number on it will not and does not fix Waka Kotahi’s ‘Road to Zero’ campaign,” he said.
“Putting up different speed signs in smaller areas may also be confusing to other drivers.”
John Wildy echoed other submitters calling for increased education and regulation of things like phone use rather than speed reductions, while Bryce Johnston said lower speeds would double travel time, frustrate drivers, and increase crash numbers.
Charles Post spoke for the Te Whiti community and Gladstone School.
“I fully support the reduction in speeds up and down the Carterton area. I think it’s overdue,” he said.
“We see the cars going past Gladstone School at a rate of knots, which is just terrifying. We’ve got a top field where kids are kicking the ball over the fence and having to go over and get it and cross a really busy road.”
Post described it as a miracle there hasn’t been more accidents.
Georgiana Morison, who lives on Millars Rd, asked for her road to be included in the plan so the speed went down to 80kph.
“The reasons for this, from my perspective, are high vehicle use and there are quite high speeds along that road. Sometimes it’s used as a racing track by motorbikes and other vehicles,” she said.
More than 40 roads, including parts of roads, in the district, are listed in the consultation document, with some speeds recommended to remain as is.
Proposals include parts of Carters Line from 100kph to 80kph, Hughes Line from 100kph to 60kph, Kokotau Rd from 100kph to 80kph, and part of Ponatahi Rd from 100kph to 80kph.
The majority of written submissions opposed lowering speeds on high priority roads [62 per cent] but supported reducing speeds at schools [82 per cent], and marae [67 per cent].
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