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Views sought on Lambton Quay speed limit change

NEWS RELEASE
3 November 2005


Views sought on Lambton Quay speed limit change

A lower speed limit on Lambton Quay and part of Willis Street is on the cards as Wellington City Council plans changes to make the central city safer and an even better place to shop.

As part of an upgrade of the area and the citywide SaferRoads project, the Council is proposing to reduce the speed limit from 50km/hr to 30km/hr on Lambton Quay; Willis Street between Lambton Quay and Manners Street; Customhouse Quay between Lambton Quay and Hunter Street; and Mercer Street.

Consultation starts next week so people can comment on the plan to lower the speed limit – a move which has been recommended by Wellington Coroner Garry Evans. The Council also wants feedback on upgrade plans for the area before detailed design work is carried out.

The Council’s Urban Development Portfolio Leader, Councillor Andy Foster, says the proposed speed restriction would apply to all vehicles at all times, cover a distance of approximately 1.3 kilometres and include the Lambton Interchange.

“The lower speed is more appropriate for the busy shopping area and in line with the speed many motorists already travel in this area,” he says. “It will also help reduce the high accident rate.”

In the past five years (2000-2004) there have been 104 crashes reported, a third involving pedestrians. Investigations show that every 1km/hr speeds are lowered should produce a two to three percent reduction in the number of crashes. Lowering the speed limit would also reduce the severity of the accidents that do happen.

Other measures being proposed to reduce the number of crashes along the route include raised crossing points at side roads on the seaward side of Lambton Quay at the intersections of Panama Street, Brandon Street, Johnston Street, Waring Taylor Street, Stout Street and Ballance Street.

Cr Foster says it is planned to extend footpaths on each side of these intersections to make it safer and easier for pedestrians to cross. The changes proposed reduce the distance pedestrians have to cross, the time it takes to cross, and also reduces traffic delays because ‘cross’ phases can be shorter.

“Lambton Quay is the country’s premier shopping street but it can be difficult to stop and talk, or to window shop at peak times because of the huge number of pedestrians who use it,” he says.

Footpaths adjacent to bus stops on the Terrace side of the Quay have already been widened and the Council is proposing to widen the remaining narrower stretches to reduce congestion.

Loading zones would stay but it would be necessary to remove the remaining carparks on that side of the street and shift the two existing taxi stands. The stand in front of Capital on the Quay would move to Panama Street and the stand in front of Midland Park would move to Waring Taylor Street. The new sites would still be obvious from Lambton Quay, would provide a wider range of exit options for the taxis and free up space for other uses.

Grey Street already provides a popular and pleasant walk down to the waterfront. Plans to upgrade Willeston and Johnston Streets would provide a choice of attractive and easy walking routes from Lambton Quay to the harbour’s edge.

It is also proposed that access to the Terrace be improved by upgrading Farmers and Masons Lanes and providing better signs to indicate routes through buildings.

Brochures with more information about the upgrade and plans to lower the speed limit are available from libraries and Council service centres, by phoning 499 44444 or emailing saferroads@wcc.govt.nz. Fill out the submission form included in the brochure or make one online at www.Wellington.govt.nz by 5pm on Monday 5 December.

ENDS

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