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Speed zones coming to a school near you

AUCKLAND CITY COUNCIL

MEDIA RELEASE

14 November 2006

Speed zones coming to a school near you

Speed zones restricting traffic to 40km/h will be introduced at seven high priority schools, following a successful trial in Onehunga.

Auckland City is assessing 77 primary schools to establish those schools at highest risk according to a history of road-related injury crashes, average speeds before and after school and pedestrian congestion at the school gates.

The seven zones identified as high priority will be introduced this financial year [by July], with more to follow as council funding allows.

Councillor Richard Simpson, Transport and Urban Linkages Committee chairperson, says Auckland City is concerned about the high number of vulnerable road users involved in on-road crashes around the city.

“In the last five years, 258 young pedestrians were involved in traffic accidents, with more than 50 per cent of crashes occurring during morning and afternoon travel to and from school.

“We believe speed zones at high-risk schools, in conjunction with initiatives like walking school buses and school travel plans, will play an important role in helping to change this alarming trend,” says Mr Simpson

Preliminary research shows that the council’s speed zone trial at St Josephs School in Onehunga has been a success.

“Since the trial began in June, average speeds at the end of the school day have fallen from 47km/h down to 42km/h,” says Mr Simpson.

“We will continue to work with police to reduce speeds even further.”

Auckland City plans to introduce speed zones at all schools meeting Land Transport New Zealand (LTNZ) criteria.

Requirements are:

 speeds above 50km/h before and after school or speed related crashes on the road outside the school within the last five years

 a high level of on-road, school related activity (at least 50 children crossing the road or getting in or out of cars on the roadside).

Auckland City has been working with the New Zealand Police to ensure speed zones are enforced. The police have also agreed to provide a strong presence around schools with high speeds which do not meet the requirement for a high level of crossing activity.

Mr Simpson says the school speed zone initiative is just one of many examples of Auckland City working hard to improve road safety around schools.

“Our school travel plan programme encourages safe and sustainable travel to school, identifies safe walking routes and ultimately helps to reduce traffic near the school gates,” says Mr Simpson.

“We are committed to improving the different travel choices children have for getting to and from school.”

A report requesting an amendment to the speed limit bylaw for the seven proposed speed zones will go before the Transport and Urban Linkages Committee in December.

--

Note to editors:

* High priority schools identified for school speed zones within the next financial year are:

- Gladstone Primary, Mt Albert

0 Ruapotaka Primary, Glen Innes

1 Te Papapa School, Onehunga

2 Christ the King, Mt Roskill

3 St Mary’s School, Avondale

4 Three Kings School, Three Kings

5 St Heliers School, St Heliers


* A graph listing all schools to be further assessed for school speed zones is available upon request. Please note that some of these schools have high speeds but may not meet LTNZ’s requirement for at least 50 children entering and exiting the school from the roadside.

--

Fact sheet

- A road safety study before the St Josephs School speed zone trial showed a significant number of road-related injury crashes around the school as well as vehicles reaching speeds of up to 70km/h during morning and afternoon peaks.

- The St Josephs speed zone cost around $56,000, jointly funded by Auckland City and the Maungakiekie Community Board.

- Each speed zone requires close consultation with the school community, a bylaw speed limit amendment and installation of innovative solar-powered LED road signs.

- School locations most likely to benefit from speed zones are on major arterial and multi-lane roads with high speed environments, or where the presence of the school is not immediately obvious to approaching traffic.

- Research has shown reducing speeds to 40 km/h or less significantly reduces the level of injury if a child is struck by a vehicle.

- Auckland City is committed to the road casualty reduction targets set out in the national road safety to 2010 strategy and the regional road safety plan, which focuses on engineering safety improvements on the existing network, the education of road users and enforcement of road traffic laws.

- Speed zones aim to provide a safer road environment for children outside schools, increase driver awareness of the likely presence of children and encourage safe and active travel to school

ENDS

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