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Council planning to pump the brakes

The great slowdown of the region’s roads continues with Masterton District Council’s new draft speed management plan proposing slashed speed limits around schools, marae, and on “high-risk” roads.

Residents will be consulted over the next month on the plan, should the consultation document be approved today by elected members.

It outlines a 10-year-vision and three-year implementation plan for “a whole of network approach to speed management” and involves a changed speed limit on 75 sections of Masterton’s roads.

This follows Waka Kotahi’s speed management guide and aims to provide safer roads.

The first priority in the plan is reducing speed limits near schools.

The current speed limit on roads in the vicinity of urban schools and marae is either 50kmh or 40kmh, and either 70kmh or 100km rurally.

By 2027, the council will be required by the government to have reduced the limit around schools and marae to a maximum of 30kmh in urban areas and 60kmh in rural areas. “For locations that are on through roads with higher speed limits, we propose utilising variable speed limits, as they protect pedestrian activity during high-use times while helping ensure driver acceptance and compliance,” the council’s consultation document states.

It proposes a 30kmh permanent speed limit at Chanel College, Douglas Park School, Masterton Intermediate School, Opaki School, and Tinui School; and a 30kmh variable speed limit at Lakeview School, Masterton Primary School, Makoura College, Solway School, and Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Wairarapa.

Mauriceville School would have a 40kmh limit, Rathkeale College a 60kmh permanent speed limit, and Wainuioru School a variable limit of 60kmh.

“There is one area where we are taking a slightly different approach,” the council’s consultation document states.

“This is Pownall St, where Wairarapa College and St Matthew’s Collegiate are located.

“We propose a permanent speed limit of 40kmh from south of Wairarapa College to north of St Matthew’s Collegiate.

“The intention of this change is to improve safety outside these schools and the surrounding area, without having multiple speed limit changes within a short distance.”

As part of the draft speed management plan the council reviewed crash data for roads within the Masterton District for 2012-2021.

Travel speed was indicated as being a contributing factor in 35 per cent of all fatal and serious crashes on the local road network in that time.

The council said this indicated that inappropriate speed [not necessarily above the speed limit] played a significant part in the number of crashes in this district.

Roads that have had three or more serious or fatal crashes in this period have been considered high-risk roads.

The council does not propose to make changes to high-risk roads before 2027, unless there are significant changes to the road conditions and assessed risk.

The following “high-risk” roads are proposed to have speed limit changes: Akura Rd, Gordon St [urban growth area], Kibblewhite Rd, Ngaumutawa Rd, Te Ore Ore-Bideford Rd, Paierau Rd, Lees Pakaraka Rd, Te Whiti Rd, and Masterton-Castlepoint Rd.

The section of Akura Rd that is 70kmh would drop to 60kmh and the 100kmh section would drop to 80kmh, while the adjoining Kibblewhite Rd would also drop from 100kmh to 80kmh.

Three sections of Ngaumutawa Rd will have a reduced speed limit, and one section is increasing from 50kmh to 60kmh.

Te Ore Ore-Bideford Rd would drop from 100kmh to 80kmh, as would Paierau Rd and parts of Te Whiti Rd.

Lees Pakaraka Rd would drop from 80kmh to 60kmh.

Gordon St would drop from 80kmh to 60kmh.

Parts of Masterton-Castlepoint Rd would also be reduced to 80kmh and 60kmh.

Should the council approve the consultation document today, feedback will be open until May 1, and a hearing held on May 17 and 18, with deliberations on June 7.

The council is currently set to adopt the plan on June 28, with Waka Kotahi certification following in July. – NZLDR

    Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

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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