'No sign, no fine': Masterton speed limit drops before signs installed

2:59 pm on 5 August 2020

Speed limits across Masterton are set to drop today, but signs will not be up in time to warn travellers.

Masterton's roads are experiencing higher volumes and faster speeds. The district council is set to lower speeds across the area.

Masterton's roads are experiencing higher volumes and faster speeds. The district council is set to lower speeds across the area. Photo: Photo / Wairarapa Times-Age

New road bylaws for lower maximum speeds in the district will likely be introduced after today's council meeting.

Signs will go up within the next four to six weeks.

Masterton District Council [MDC] will be running a "no sign, no fine" policy.

There will be no fines given for speeds under existing limits but over the new limit, until a sign is in place.

Submissions on State Highway 2 will undergo further reviews, however.

Councillors will likely rubber-stamp a staff report into new road bylaws at today's council meeting at 3pm.

The report says that Masterton District Council [MDC] is aiming to make sure speeds "are appropriate for the type of roads across our roading network, and making our roads safer for all users".

It seeks to manage speed around schools, in areas with high numbers of vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists, and changes relating to growth and changes in land use.

Variable limits around schools, already in place, will mostly lower to 40kmh when in use.

The bylaws will take effect as and when the resolution is passed, and work will then start on erecting signs.

The report also recommends a stocktake of all roads raised by submitters to be considered for inclusion in the second stage of the Speed Limit Review, and to forward comments on State Highway 2 to the New Zealand Transport Agency.

No changes to the SH2 can be made by the district councils because NZTA is responsible for those routes.

MDC launched its request for public feedback on the area's road speeds in February.

Wrapped up during lockdown, it sought to address measures raised through the national speed review, launched as part of central government's road safety strategy, "Road to Zero".

The Road to Zero campaign's aim is "a New Zealand where no one is killed or seriously injured in road crashes".

Motorsport champion Aaron Slight was among the Masterton residents who spoke in verbal submissions on the initiative.

He said he stood by his submission that the wide range of speeds, which has been maintained after the review, would cause confusion, and would not necessarily improve safety.

"How many speed limits do we need? [There's a] different speed at each end of a street."

Slight said Masterton's streets were just "getting busier and busier" and lowering speeds would not help traffic flow or increase safety.

Bruce Pauling of the Wairarapa Road Safety Council.

Bruce Pauling of the Wairarapa Road Safety Council. Photo: Photo / Wairarapa Times-Age

"They're all trying their best but ... after the submission, I was told there's a lot less damage at 30kmh than 50kmh, which is all true but we're only doing 30kmh now as travel time studies prove.

"There is also a lot less damage at 10kmh, but you've got to draw a line."

Wairarapa Road Safety Council general manager Bruce Pauling commended the council's moves.

Pauling said having safe and appropriate speeds on our local roads "are essential for all road users", and councils were being made to look at their speed limits to "understand if they truly reflect this ethos".

"Just because these speed limits have been in force over the years, this does not mean they are safe.

"Marked increases in land development and population translate into increasing school rolls, and pedestrian traffic in our urban areas, shopping precincts and CBDs."

"Just remember that in 2019, road crashes cost $4 billion in social costs, which was the annual transport spend across the country.

"Wouldn't it be nice to put the savings from reduced crashes towards safety infrastructure on all roads?"

Pauling said another phase of the review will involve the New Zealand Transport Agency, and all Wairarapa Councils to look at local roads and those which adjoin our State Highways.

"I hope [the next review] will address higher-speed crashes and their outcomes. Our regions' biggest crash issue is loss of control due to speed There is no doubt that on some sections of these roads, the 100kmh speed limit is not 'fit for purpose'.

"An argument against lowering speeds is the increased travel time, however unless we are talking about travelling hundreds of kilometres, then any increase in travel times are negligible. Who would rail against a few minutes increase in travel time if it was safer and saved lives?"

The bylaws will be updated by today's decision, if passed.

National speed rules require signage 20 metres from the point on the road where a speed limit changes.

Changing speeds

From August 5 the following roads will change to these speeds, should the recommended changes be approved:

Maximum speed: 20kph

Memorial Drive [from the Dixon St intersection to the south eastern end of Memorial Drive]

All roadways, parking areas and public places contained within the Henley Lake site area [between Te OreOre and Colombo Rds, and the Ruamahanga and Waipoua Rivers].

Maximum speed: 30kph

Queen St [from a point 72m northeast of Bruce St intersection to a point 32m northeast of Worksop Rd], Bruce St [from Queen St to Dixon St], King St [from Queen St to SH2 Chapel St], King St Service Lane, Park St [from Queen St to Dixon St], Lincoln Rd [from Queen St to SH2 Chapel St], Church St [from Queen St to Dixon St], Church St Service Lane, Perry St [from Queen St to SH2 Chapel St], Cricket St, Bannister St [from Queen St to Dixon St], Jackson St [from Queen St to SH2 Chapel St], Queen St [from Crayne St Intersection to High St], First St [from SH2 Opaki Road to Cooper St], Most roads within Riversdale and Castlepoint urban traffic areas.

Maximum speed: 40kph

Intermediate St [from a point 38m northwest of the Intersection with SH2], High St [to a point 40m northeast of the Pownall/York St intersection], Lowes Pl, Daniell St, Cole St [from a point 40m northwest of the Pownall St intersection to a point 20m northeast of Essex St intersection], Kummer Cr.

Maximum speed: 50kph

Masterton Castlepoint Rd [from a point 90m north of Otahome Road intersection to a point 66m south of Otahome Road intersection], Mace St [Tauweru], Duncan St [Tauweru], Old Main Rd [Tauweru], Gilligan St [Tauweru].

Maximum speed: 60kph

Upper Waingawa Rd [unsealed section, 1.47km northwest of the intersection with Falloon Settlement Rd to end of road], South Rd [from the South Belt intersection, to the south-western end of South Rd], Te Ore Ore Rd [from a point 240m south east of Gordon St to a point 135m east of the Te OreOre Road-Bideford Rd intersection].

Maximum speed: 80km/h

Tararua Dr, Evans Rd, Skeets Rd, West Bush Rd [from the intersection with Ngaumutawa Road to the intersection with Skeets Road], Totara Park Dr, Upper Manaia Rd, Masterton Castlepoint Rd [from a point 30m northwest of the Mace St to a point 600m northeast of the intersection with Te Parae Rd].

Variable speed zones for schools

Maximum speed: 40kph

Upper Plain Road [Fernridge School], Ngaumutawa Road [Solway School], Johnstone Street, [Childcare and Makora College], South Road [Masterton Primary School], Te OreOre Road [Lakeview School], Colombo Road [Lakeview School].

Maximum speed: 60km/h

Variable Langdale Road [Whareama School].

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