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Hastings: Huge interest in speed limits

Huge interest in speed limits

Interest in the proposed changes to speed limits in Hastings is high, with almost 800 formal submissions received ahead of a public hearing of submissions this Friday (May 4).

Of the 785 who had written to Hastings District Council, 48 had asked to address Council on their submissions.

Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst was pleased with the input. “This is a very high number of submissions and reflects the effort we have undergone to get the message out. We are very much looking forward to hearing submissions and then making a decision on the best way forward.

“This is a community-driven initiative, with members of the public interested in road safety asking us to investigate the issue. We are now up to the stage of deliberation and want to assure everyone that all submissions will be taken into account.”

On five of the eight nominated changes (with one of those encompassing a number of lesser changes to move speed signs and/or zones to match), the majority of submitters agreed with the proposed speed changes. Over the remaining three sites, the responses were close to evenly split.

Of interest were the number of other sites that the public wanted reviewed. Of 25 sites outside of those being consulted on, submitters asked that 22 be considered for a speed reduction and that three be considered for a speed increase. Council said while those requests could not be considered as part of this process, the list would form the basis of a further report to Council. If a decision was made to consider changes on those routes, full consultation would again be undertaken.

General comments in favour of reduced speeds along the roads under consideration included that: Reduced speed is key to reduced accidents; the roads are too narrow with too many intersections and driveways to operate safely at 100kmh; young inexperienced drivers can’t drive these roads at 100kmh; safety of drivers and passengers should be the overriding factor in setting speed limits; speeds need to be reduced due to increased cyclists on the roads; [reduced speeds] will make it safer for pedestrians.

Comment from those against speed reductions included: The current speed limits are working fine; the issue is old cars in need of repair; different speed limit areas increase confusion and people don’t know what speed they should be travelling; improve road quality instead of reducing speeds; the number of crashes in comparison to the amount of traffic is minimal; it’s not the speed limit – it’s the drivers.

The hearing will be held in Council chambers from 9am this Friday, with oral submissions expected to take until about 3pm.

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