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Marlborough: Kids campaign sees 40km school speed limit plan

Kids campaign leads to proposed 40kmh speed limit outside school

Children have helped convince a regional council to lower speed limits outside their school and cut the chances of being "squished".

Tua Marina School students took their clipboards to the street, surveyed parents, tallied the result, and made a submission to the Marlborough District Council's speed limit review.

Tua Marina School students, from left, on bottom, Peyton Couper, Frank Brought, Quinn Verran, Jasmine Tierney, and above, Ethan Abbott, Henry Nott and Lucas Collins, asked the Marlborough District Council to reduce the 100kmh zone at their school. CREDIT: CHLOE RANFORD/LDR

Online maps showed the school, about 10 kilometres north of Blenheim, is surrounded by two 100kmh zones, an 80kmh zone and a railway line.

Now, the council has proposed dropping speed limits at Tuamarina to 40kmh as part of a push to make the region's roads safer.

Marlborough Roads manager Steve Murrin said this included Blind Creek Rd and parts of Hunter Rd, which had 80kmh limits, and Campbells Rd and Cotterill St - which bordered the school. They currently had "undefined speed limits", so were 100kmh zones.

The proposal comes as the Government last week announced it would lower speed limits surrounding schools to a maximum of 40kmh in urban areas and 60kmh in rural areas from mid-2020, with roll outs to occur over the next decade.

The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) said there were 323 schools in New Zealand by roads with 100kmh speed limits.

Motorists were currently required to drive 40kmh at schools, but only when children were going to or from school, or when children were around.

But Tua Marina School student Frank Brought, 9, said it was not enough.

"A young child could walk to their parent's car on the road and a car could come speeding up the road at 100kmh and squish the small child," he said.

"I think the speed limit on Campbells Rd is very, very dangerous."

Henry Nott, 8, said animals, such as cattle, often crossed Campbells Rd.

"Also, people walk their dogs and there are people playing [the children's game] fox and hound, and there is a high crash rate," he said.

a painted picture
of a traffic light, attached to a school fence

Signs made by students to slow down drivers. CREDIT: CHLOE RANFORD/LDR

New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) data showed there had been nine crashes within 100 metres of the school since 2001, but none were fatal.

A total of 560 people and organisations submitted to the council's review of speed limits along local roads. More than 50 of those were from Tuamarina.

Tua Marina School principal Nick Raynor said the school submitted to the review in support of their students, and requested speed reductions.

Canvastown School also had a 100kmh zone on its front door, in the form of State Highway 6, but the speed limit was being reviewed by NZTA, not council.

Tuamarina resident Neville Ham says the village's current speed limits are a hazard. CREDIT: CHLOE RANFORD/LDR

Tuamarina resident Neville Ham, who submitted on the speed limit review, said he'd used a forklift to move about three cars off the roads after crashes.

"I once saw a car upside down at the church here. The driver told me she was only doing 50kmh, but you can't bowl a car over only doing 50kmh."

Ham, who has lived in Tuamarina for 60 years, said narrow roads, vehicle blind spots, and a high number of speedsters made the area a hazard.

"At school times, it's just chaos. I worked in the dairy (company), which has since burnt down, and used to sit in the office looking over the intersection. I've seen some pretty hairy stuff. There's been a lot of close calls," he said.

Tuamarina and Waikakaho Residents and Ratepayers Association chairman Greg Woolley, who made a personal submission to the review, said he had seen five crashes or near misses during his time in Tuamarina.

"In each of those, speed was most probably a factor," he said.

He said most residents were unhappy with the village's 80kmh speed limits.

A report presented at the council's assets and services committee last month said submissions mostly supported speed reductions across the region.

It suggested a region-wide approach to speed limits, rather than reviewing individual roads.

A draft speed bylaw would be presented to the council early next year, the report said, and would go out for public consultation in February 2020.

Proposed Marlborough speed limit changes (council roads)

Unsealed roads, such as Taylor Pass Rd: 60kmh

Current 100kmh roads: 80kmh

Blenheim and Picton's central business district: 30kmh

Rural settlements, including Tuamarina and Canvastown: 40kmh

Marlborough Sounds sealed roads: 60kmh and 80kmh

Queen Charlotte Drive: 40kmh at settlements; 60kmh or 80kmh at Linkwater

ENDS

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