40 kph Speed Zone Pilots Successful
40 kph Speed Zone Pilots Successful At Christchurch Schools
Christchurch City Council is successfully leading the country in piloting part-time 40kph speed zones outside schools.
The pilot scheme ran from the beginning of Term 1 2000, to the end of the school year in 2001, and saw the installation of electronically-operated, illuminated 40kph signs in addition to permanently displayed yellow-green schools warning signs, at five Christchurch schools.
Lee Kelly, Christchurch City Council’s Schools Advocate, said that the part-time speed zones were established by the City Council in conjunction with Transit New Zealand, with the objectives of slowing traffic in school areas, and ultimately improving safety for school children when crossing busy roads near their school.
Recent evaluations by the City Council and LTSA of the school speed zone pilot have clearly indicated that the initiative is effective, particularly in higher speed environments. The trial proved to be most effective for Belfast school on the Main North Road (a 60kph zone), Halswell School on Halswell Junction Road (an 80 kph zone), and Harewood School on Harewood Road (a 70 kph zone). The other two schools involved in the pilot were Bishopdale School and Branston Intermediate School.
Because of the success of the initiative, the trial period has been extended to the end of June 2002. This will enable the Council and LTSA to finalise the details of a permanent selection criteria for the installation of further 40kph school speed zones in Christchurch and throughout New Zealand.
Christchurch City Council hopes to introduce two part-time speed zones per year over the next five years. Two schools considered as high priority are Marshlands School on Preston Road (speed limit 80kph) and Templeton School on Kirks Road (speed limit 50kph). The total cost per site/school is $20,000.
The initiative was in response to Christchurch City Council and Transit New Zealand’s review of speed limits in the city, during which concerns were raised where speed limits had been raised on roads outside schools in the city. Information about successful part-time school speed zones in other countries was used to adapt for the New Zealand, and specifically Christchurch, roading environment.
The project is one of a number of initiatives undertaken by the Council’s Road Safety for Schools Steering Group, which aims to improve the roading environment for pedestrians, particularly for children and the elderly, so that walking and cycling are encouraged and supported in the community.