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Speed Limits To Drop To 40km/h Outside Tauranga Schools For Drop-off And Pick-up

Speed limits outside some Tauranga schools will drop to 40km/h for drop-off and pick-up times to make it safer for students.

A decision to reduce speed limits outside school gates was made by Commissioners at today’s meeting of Tauranga City Council following a review of the safety risk outside schools as well as strong community support for lower speed limits outside schools.

The reduced limits will be variable, which means they will only apply 30 minutes before the start of the school day and 20 minutes after school ends. Outside of these times speed limits will remain the same.

Sixteen schools in the city already have 40km/h variable speed limits outside their gates. The 40km/h variable limit will be rolled out to 21 other schools based on either a safety risk assessment for each school or because of known safety challenges.

NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi (NZTA) funding for the implementation of a speed management plan is available to Council until the end of June 2024. The development of a plan is no longer mandatory following a change in central government and subsequent rule changes, however Council opted in February 2024 to continue with the development of a plan, including community engagement.

Council consulted with the community, including schools, during April 2024 to gauge support for a reduction in speed limits outside schools, some marae, and in the city centre, which has had a temporary 30km/h speed limit in place since 2018 while development projects have been under way.

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More than 1000 people took a survey with more than 71 per cent in favour of reduced speed limits outside schools. More than 52 per cent were in favour of making the temporary 30km/h limit in the city centre permanent.

Commissioners approved a recommendation today that the current 30km/h temporary speed limit between McLean Street and Second Avenue be included in the speed management plan as a permanent 30km/h zone.

There was less community support for proposed speed limit reductions on Domain Road, Tara Road, Te Puke Highway, and Parton Road and Commissioners decided these would be deferred until future development changed the current road environment.

Based on feedback from Waimapu Marae (Hairini), Waimapu Pa Road extending 200m east from the marae will have a permanent 40km/h zone. Feedback from Waikari and Hungahungatoroa Marae will also see a permanent 40km/h zone on Waikari Road, Hungahungatoroa Road and Matapihi Road (between Waikari Road and Hungahungatoroa Road).

Council’s Head of Transport Nic Johansson says the desire to manage speed limits at high-risk locations is about improving safety on local roads.

“Our local schools have told us that increased traffic and people driving vehicles at high speeds is a significant risk to student safety. While pedestrian fatalities aren’t a common occurrence, accidents do happen, and speed is a factor in the likelihood and outcome. Lower speeds allow for shorter sight and braking distances which is important in complex, busy situations such as school pick-up and drop-off times.”

The reduced speed limits, with signs advising when the speed limits are operational, will be introduced over the next few months as the signs become available.

Notes for editors:
An assessment of safety around 43 Tauranga schools has been undertaken. Crash analysis data from the Ministry of Transport shows from 2019 to early 2024:

  • There have been 85 crashes involving five to 19-year-olds. Of these 73 (86%) involved injury.
  • 74 (87%) of these crashes occurred before and after school. These occurred on weekdays between 7am and 9am and in the afternoon from 2pm to 6pm.
  • There were 63 crashes (74%) involving children aged five to 14 years old. This age group is overrepresented. Evidence shows that this age group generally finds it difficult to judge the speed and gaps in traffic and may take more risks.
  • The social cost of these crashes is estimated at $57 million.

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