After Masterton’s CBD reductions, Featherston residents are calling on local and central government to reduce the town’s limits. PHOTO/FILE

Calls for NZTA to act on town’s speed limits
Review of SH2 coming, NZTA says

ARTHUR HAWKES
arthur.hawkes@age.co.nz

With Masterton’s CBD being decelerated to 30kmh, some Featherston residents have voiced their desire for the same.

The only problem is that New Zealand Transport Agency oversees the state highway speed limits, meaning South Wairarapa District Council, and the local voices they represent, are powerless until the agency performs a speed review and changes the limits themselves.

NZTA confirmed that a speed review was coming for State Highway 2, but did not specify when.

As it stands, cars travel down from Remutaka Hill at a speedy 70kmh, despite passing driveways and even a well-used public park, Dorset Square.

The 50kmh limit only kicks in at the top of Fitzherbert St, by the turn to Wairarapa Moana.

At the north end of town, the 70kmh limit takes drivers right up to the Donald’s Creek crossing, past numerous houses and parked cars, well into the town proper.

For Featherston resident Kirsty Colvin, this isn’t good enough.

“When are they going to change the speed limit from 70kmh to 50kmh coming into Featherston’s north end?” Colvin said. “Every time I go out from my driveway on to the main road, I nearly get rear-ended by someone speeding into town.

“People are only taking their foot off at the speed sign, they’re not even down to 70 by the time they get to my place, pets don’t stand a chance around here.”

In 2017, Colvin’s Jack Russell, Spike, was killed by a driver in Featherston’s 70kmh zone after he got out of the front yard. She’s also lost three cats to the stretch.

Colvin said she had been reluctant to get another dog since Spike’s tragic passing because of the high speed limits around her area.

Featherston resident Greg Byrom said, “there are more people walking, many more residents and many more driveways.

“It shouldn’t have to take an accident and someone injured or killed for something to happen.”

SWDC’s Euan Sitt, group manager partnerships and operations, said that a district-wide review of road speed limits was coming, but wouldn’t happen until a 12- to 18-month public consultation period – it also wouldn’t include any of the state highways.

“As mandated by central government, SWDC will be undertaking a district-wide review of road speed limits,” Sitt said.

“Over the next 12 to 18 months, there will be a community consultation process, followed by implementation of new speed limits where appropriate.”

Emma Speight, NZTA’s agency director of regional relationships, said that before state highway limits could be changed, the agency would have to perform a speed review.

“We commence a technical assessment which takes into account crash history, average vehicle speeds, volume of vehicles on the road, and development of surrounding areas.

“We also complete informal council, partner and community and road user engagement, which is an important step for speed reviews.”

Speight was able to confirm that a speed review of SH2 was coming, but said the agency was still “finalising the exact timing”.



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