Council to review speed limits

by Mike Isle

Selwyn District Council has announced it is conducting its most comprehensive review yet into speed limits around the district’s schools.

This follows a speed limit review council completed last year in which some responses called for a lower speed limit outside schools.

“As part of the council discussion, it was decided to review all Selwyn schools,” council’s asset engineer transportation, Mark Chamberlain, said. 

Mr Chamberlain said the three-month review would involve directly engaging with schools to see what they want.

“Proposed speed limits will be based on feedback we receive from the schools and assessed in accordance with the NZ Transport Agency Speed Management guide. 

“At present there are no school speed zones in Selwyn,” Mr Chamberlain said.

The district’s police and school principals have welcomed the council initiative.

Rolleston-based Senior Sergeant, Grant Stewart, said police are pleased to see the review happening and would cooperate fully with the review team. “The safety of young people in the community is paramount, and it is good to see that the council is proactive in promoting and improving that.

“We have members of the police who attend the council’s monthly road safety meetings. We also have, in Rolleston School, the second largest primary in New Zealand, so anything we can do with the council to improve road safety around schools we will fully support.”

The principal of Rolleston Primary, Andrew Morrell, has greeted the news with delight. He sees it as a positive move by the council and is eager to be part of the review.

“Traffic volumes in Rolleston are increasing constantly, and children out on school crossings and my staff monitoring them are finding it more and more challenging. So, anything to help them in that setting is wonderful. Great.”

Clearview’s principal, Rob Rush is looking forward to working with council

Clearview Primary’s principal, Robb Rush, is another to endorse the council’s review. He has seen his school roll climb to 735 since it opened in 2010, and although he doesn’t see the inevitable increase in traffic as a major problem yet, he, like the council, is taking steps to stop it becoming one.

“One initiative already taken by the Clearview Primary was to form a working group in collaboration with the council and police to address the question of road congestion around the school.

“This involved a large amount of public consultation in 2016 and resulted in a comprehensive travel management plan for Clearview, including identification of travel times, modes of transport, etc.

“We found that upwards of 50% of our students arrived at school by vehicle, so it is absolutely crucial and urgent that collectively we do everything we can to ensure drivers are really vigilant around schools.

“We are right behind this review and look forward to working with council on it.”

Mark Chamberlain, who will lead the review for the council, says the review is part of a suite of initiatives the council has taken to improve road safety around schools.

“Selwyn District Council employs a dedicated school road safety coordinator who engages with our schools to develop customised school travel plans. In urban areas such as Rolleston, the focus of these travel plans is on behavioural change and to encourage the promotion of active transport becoming part of school culture and reducing congestion at the school gate.”

Mr Chamberlain said the planned review would also include public consultation on speed limits generally, but particularly the 70-kilometre speed limits around townships and the Speed Limits By-law itself.