Kaiwaka speed limit increase sparks opposition

Kaiwaka residents are lobbying NZTA to stop a proposal to raise the speed limit through the heart of the town.

The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) is proposing to create a blanket 60kph zone throughout the town, increasing the current 50kph area in the town centre, but reducing the 70kph zone at the town entrance.

Residents were notified of the decision on October 6 without any public consultation.

Kaiwaka Can community group chair Derek Christensen says despite months of work liaising with Kaipara District Council on initiatives to slow traffic, he was stunned the group were not consulted.

“We had no warning, no discussion, nothing. It came out of the blue and we had just days to respond,” Mr Christensen says.

NZTA network performance and safety manager Tim Crow says they liaised with Council to get feedback on behalf of the community. He believes the new limit will improve safety.

“By introducing just one speed limit that is clearly signposted and doesn’t change part way through the township, it’s anticipated that more motorists will know what’s expected of them,” Mr Crow says.

Mr Christensen says that he does not understand the logic that increasing the speed limit will improve safety.

“We had a fatality here three months ago when a vehicle turned out of a car park onto SH1. A truck travelling at the current 50kph speed limit hit the car and killed the driver.”

Mr Christensen says he has been working towards creating multiple traffic calming measures, including narrowing the road and constructing a pedestrian crossing.

He says the NZTA have dismissed these options.

NZTA plans to improve speed limit signage and road markings. They have also installed avehicle speed feedback display sign and plan to build a pedestrian refuge.

But Mr Christensen says more needs to be done.

“It’s not a proper crossing, it’s a refuge, which means if you make it over the first carriageway you can hide behind some railings, get your breath back and then make a run for the second half,” Mr Christensen says.

Mr Christensen submitted a 1800-word document outlining the group’s objections to the NZTA proposal on October 21.

Following consideration, Northern Area NZTA officials will make a recommendation to the national head office.

Once approved and published in national media, the new signs will be erected and the speed limit will be legally enforceable.