Wellington Central City Safer Speed Limit

CAN Submission to WCC
Feb 2014
Cycling Advocates Network supports the Council's proposal to improve pedestrian, cyclist and motorist safety in the CBD by lowering the speed limit to 30km/h.

The Safer Journeys strategy (Ministry of Transport 2010) states that: "Pedestrians currently account for 10 percent of all road deaths and cyclists 3 percent. However, in urban areas, pedestrians and cyclists account for 30 percent of all road deaths. The majority of crashes involving a cyclist or pedestrian and a motor vehicle occur on urban roads, particularly busy urban arterials where vehicle speeds tend to be higher.

The evidence shows that the most obvious way to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists, especially in urban areas, is to reduce vehicle speeds. The faster a driver is going the harder it is for them to avoid hitting someone in their path. The speed at which a cyclist or pedestrian is hit determines how seriously they will be injured."

Good for Wellington
Apart from the compelling safety benefits, a 30 km/h CBD will be good for business, retail, property values and will boost Wellington's competitive advantage as a liveable city.

We would like the Council to consider the following points.

1. Safety
Lower speeds reduce both the likelihood and severity of crashes.

2. Safer bus routes
CAW runs Being Cycle Aware workshops with Wellington region bus drivers
(http://can.org.nz/being-cycle-aware) It is a half-day facilitated road safety workshop, which aims to give participants an understanding of the issues that people cycling face every day. It also aims to give cyclists an understanding of issues facing bus drivers. We found that bus driving is a demanding occupation, especially in the CBD. Lower traffic speeds reduce the workload demands on the driver and thus reduce the likelihood of crashes.

3. No fences
We do not support the fencing of footpaths. This is not a proven safety measure. Apart from blocking escape routes for pedestrians, fences also block a last-ditch escape route for people on bikes who are squeezed towards the curb by overtaking vehicles.

4. Popular
It's a vote winner. Once speed has been reduced, it's hard to find anyone living or working in a 30 km/h area who wants it back at 50.

5. Well supported
We note that previous safer speed proposals have support from NZ Bus, Greater Wellington Regional Council, Police, ACC and NZ Transport Agency.

6. Many benefits
Overseas experience shows that a safer speed limit also benefits drivers. From 20 is Plenty (UK campaign for safer speeds)
Far from being anti-motorist, slower limits give drivers many advantages. That's why 72% of drivers believe 20's Plenty on residential streets.

Drivers save money, and are healthier when authorities adopt community-wide default slower limits without humps. Average trips take less than 40 seconds extra. Driver benefits include:

1 Fewer injured car users. Overall there were 22% fewer casualties in Portsmouth: drivers had 23% fewer and passengers 31% fewer. Elderly drivers had 50% fewer injuries and 40% fewer injured passengers.

2 Fuel use, CO2 and costs fall 12%.

3 Less Congestion. At lower speeds more cars occupy the same road space due shorter gaps between them, easing traffic ‘flow'. Intersections are more efficient as drivers can merge into shorter gaps. Less risk encourages sustainable travel and public transport.

4 Easier parking. Fewer unnecessary car trips frees up road space and parking.

5 Cleaner air quality especially benefits motorists. They breathe in-car air which is three times more polluted than at the pavement. Standing traffic, which produces unnecessary fumes, reduces as traffic flow becomes smoother. Less fuel is burnt due to less acceleration and the transfer of some trips away from cars towards walking, cycling and public transport.

6 Motoring costs drop. As crashes fall in severity and frequency, so do legal and repair bills.

7 Repair bills fall. Vehicles maintain value from fewer crashes, less brake and tyre wear.

8 Stress reduces as drivers have more time to see and react to hazards. Fewer road rage
incidents occur due to more considerate driving styles, including less dangerous overtaking and it is easier to pull out.

9 Less parents' taxi duty. Road danger reduction brings safer independent child travel, improves their life skills, and frees up parents for more productive activities than driving.

10 Society benefits. Fewer road victims frees up facilities for other health needs. Fewer work days are lost. Active travel cuts obesity and heart disease. Inequalities reduce as less children die. Fewer potholes. Quality of life rises.

CAN's policy on speed: http://can.org.nz/canpolicy/speed-limits-for-urban-areas
ACC's Down with Speed http://can.org.nz/library/down-with-speed-0
Slow movement: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slow_Movement
Twenty is Plenty http://www.20splentyforus.org.uk/

About CAN
CAN is New Zealand's national network of cycling advocates. We work with government, local authorities, business and the community on behalf of cyclists, for a better cycling environment.
CAN aims to:
Promote the benefits of cycling
Improve safety for cyclists.
Encourage the creation of a good cycling environment.
Promote cycle tourism.
Advocate for integrated cycle planning.
Increase the number of cyclists on our roads
The Cycling Advocates' Network (CAN) was formed in 1997 as New Zealand's national network of cycling advocate groups. It is a voice for everyday cyclists - recreational, commuter and touring.

Patrick Morgan
Project Manager
CAN - Cycling Advocates Network
PO Box 25-424, 2 Forresters Lane, opposite Tory St Bunnings, Wellington
Join us: http://can.org.nz/ Find us on Facebook More people on bikes, more often

Central City Safer Speed Limit http://wellington.govt.nz/have-your-say/public-input/public-inputs/consu...


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