Aro Valley Speed Limit Change, August 2009

Aro Valley Speed Limit Change, August 2009

Submission on behalf of CAW by Julian Boorman:

Cycle Aware Wellington (CAW) supports lowering the speed limit in Aro Valley to 30 km/h, especially the 130m section of Aro Street indicated on the map in the brochure, because it will make walking and more so cycling on Aro Street safer and more pleasant.

> CAW agrees with the brochure when it states "Studies show that pedestrians and cyclists struck by a vehicle at 30km/h receive significantly less severe injuries than at 50km/h." Indeed the national road safety strategy "Road Safety to 2010" by Land Transport NZ notes that in a collision with a car, pedestrian and cyclist fatalities increase rapidly as vehicle speeds increase, such that "death is virtually certain" if the impact occurs at or above 60 km/h, wheras if pedestrians or cyclists are hit by motor vehicles travelling at 30 km/h or less, the probability of death is less than 10%. 51% of fatal and serious crash casualties in Wellington in 2006 were pedestrians and cyclists. This compares with 27% for Auckland City and 32% for Christchurch City (Land Transport NZ, 2007).

> Lowering operating speeds and speed limits on most urban streets will improve safety for all road users (not just cyclists) and encourage more people to cycle. Reducing motor vehicle speeds will have two benefits for pedestrians and cyclists. People struck by motor vehicles at lower speeds will be less likely to be killed or seriously injured, and also the chances of them being struck will be reduced as motorists have more chance to avoid hitting them, when travelling at lower speeds.

> The pedestrian crossing across Aro Street at the corner with Devon Street will be even safer and more enjoyable (less courage needed) for pedestrians to use as the speed limit there is reduced from 50km/h to 30km/h. More people walking and using public transport (which the pedestrian crossing facilitates) reduces carbon emissions, increases fitness and aids community cohesion.

> Cyclists in general don't like holding up traffic and being considered a nuisance, but this is an inevitable consequence when you have a comparatively narrow road like Aro Street catering for the storage of private property (i.e. parked vehicles) as well as cycling and motor vehicle traffic. With a 30km/h speed limit, however, cyclists don't feel they're slowing traffic down so much (or not at all if the cyclist reaches 30km/h) and motorists are less likely to become angry and impatiently pass when they see half a chance.

> The perceived increase in safety will encourage more people to cycle, fewer people to drive, carbon emissions will be reduced, climate change will be mitigated (albeit imperceptibly), the fitness of your average Wellingtonian will increase and health costs will decrease.

> Cyclists are already enjoying the reduced speed limits in Newtown, such as on Riddiford Street, and CAW welcomes the reduction of speed limits, especially to 30km/h, elsewhere in Wellington.

Document Type: 
Groups audience: