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Speed limit proposals aim to make streets safer for all

Making the streets where we live safer is the main driver behind the latest round of Waikato District Council’s proposed speed limit reductions.

This is the third year of a three-year plan to assess and consult on our district’s speed limits and the main areas of focus are Raglan, the Newcastle Ward (Whatawhata and Te Kowhai) and Tuakau.

And consultation opens on 17 October for the Proposed Amendments to the Speed Limit Bylaw 2011.

There are also other stretches of roads in the district being considered that haven’t been captured in previous years.

The council is following the same tack as last year regarding urban residential areas – and that is the proposal of reducing speed limits from 50kmh to 40kmh.

If a driver reduces his or her speed from 50kmh to 40kmh, the likelihood of a pedestrian or cyclist fatality as a result of an accident reduces from 85% to 30%.

This is sobering information for all communities but is particularly relevant when you look at Raglan’s urban area.

Raglan has a lot of people cycling and walking in town, especially during summer when the population explodes thanks to visitors heading there to enjoy what this special place has to offer.

Raglan has only one main road (SH23) and two minor roads (metal) entering the greater township and a whole-of-town approach is being proposed to support the extensive walking cycling community.

Additional walking cycle ways are also planned for construction 2019/20 and 2020/21 and the proposal from 50kmh to 40kmh will support these community facilities and help to encourage even more walking and cycling in town.

A 30km/h speed zone is also proposed for Raglan’s CBD along the length of Bow St similar to what has been successfully operating in Hamilton’s CBD. This reduction in speed would reduce death and serious harm risk from 70-80% to less than 10%.

In the middle of Whatawhata and Tuakau Council is also proposing some reductions down to 40kmh and elsewhere.

And there’ll also be a focus on a reduction to 80kmh on rural roads where either development levels or road conditions would mean that a 100kmh may not be suitable.

All the information required to make a submission is available on the council website – Submissions close on 17 November 2019.

There’s an interactive map there that has all the roads proposed for a speed limit reduction this year.

There are also a couple of drop-ins planned. Head to the Raglan Town Hall on 24 October from 3pm-7pm or the Tuakau War Memorial Town Hall on 30 October from 3pm-7pm. All are welcome.

A hearing is also planned for February 2020 – the date will be confirmed closer to the time.