Paekakariki Wants Speed Limits

1a paekakCommunity Board says speed limits must drop to cut accident toll on SH1 at Paekakariki

By Alan Tristram

The Paekākāriki Community Board is urging the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) to enforce new speed reductions along State Highway One near Paekākāriki.

“Accidents occurring on SH1 either side of Paekākāriki have highlighted how dangerous this road is,” says board member, and Paekakariki/Raumati Councillor, Janet Holborow.Ms Holborow says: ” We have been asking for the 70 km/h speed limit in place on part of that stretch to be extended since it was first put in place in 2007,”

Last year, the NZTA provided the board with a report recommending extending the slower speed area on SH1 either side of Paekākāriki, but the work was never carried out.

At the latest Community Board meeting, the board was told by Council staff that the work had been cancelled.

Accidents alarm the Community Board

“The accidents in this area should have rung alarm bells,” Cr Holborow says.

“The current location of the 70km/h signs don’t encourage compliance, as they don’t coincide with any other triggers to tell motorists to slow down, such

as developments on the roadside.

She adds: “If the threshold was moved further north, the presence of houses on SH1 would encourage motorists to adhere to the speed limit. NZTA’s own guidelines indicate that positioning the signs further north would be more appropriate.”

A proposal for a wire rope median barrier along this stretch of SH1, long under discussion, has been turned down by NZTA with the future construction

of Transmission Gully cited as the major reason.

Board chair Jack McDonald says that while the Board is hoping that decision can be turned around, extended speed limits on their own would increase safety.

“The Paekākāriki community has long been pushing for the speed reduction to be extended along this notoriously dangerous stretch of SH1 and see it as crucial that action is taken to achieve this,”says Mr McDonald.

The board also decided at its meeting to support a Council proposal to continue to allow right-hand turns (to turn south) from the south end of Ames Street on to

SH1.

A Council report had recommended not to proceed with an earlier proposal to stop vehicles doing this.

“This means traffic will continue to turn out of Ames Street, so it’s even more important that the speed on the main road is reduced and cars can go onto it safely,” says Mr McDonald.

To extend the 70kph further north and further south is not the answer and won’t increase safety, in fact it would probably make things worse through driver frustration for example.
I travel through this section of highway everyday by car and by truck & trailer. What we all agree on is that this section of highway does have heightened risk of danger and gets very busy and clogged up in the mornings and again in the early evenings due to obvious reasons.
What I and many others would not agree with is to suggest extending the 70kph zone and also incorporating the extension of the wire fence is not going to fix the problem.
It doesn’t matter how much input one puts into trying to fix these issues as there will always be accidents. The biggest hurdle I see on the roads is how do we tackle the many incompetent drivers on our roads. The ones that don’t pay attention when driving, the ones that make poor decisions, I see it everyday, and I see accidents just about everyday.
The only way to have a more safer part of this so called highway passing next to Paekakariki would have been to raise this section of highway and put in proper on and off ramps but we know the nzta wouldn’t pay for this costly exercise, and yet they can waste $5 million on a roundabout next to Southwards.