Cambridge principals have welcomed indications that speeds outside Cambridge schools will most likely be reduced this year, along with over 200 speed changes across the district.
Waipa District Council proposed the speed limit changes in February, following extensive engagement with the public on road safety in August last year.
Council released its public feedback results earlier this month, revealing that 84 per cent of the 578 Waipa residents who responded to the proposal supported the speed changes.
Councillors will now hear verbal submissions on the bylaw in June before it is formally adopted by Council in July. Councillors will review all submissions and take into account expert advice, before making their final decisions.
From there normal speed signs would be updated within four to six weeks, and electronic speed signs from two to three months.
If approved, the most significant changes would see the Cambridge town centre drop to 40km/h, as well as significant speed changes outside schools.
All schools in town would go from 50km/h to 40km/h – reducing the chance of fatality by 55 percent when it comes to being hit by a car. A pedestrian hit by a vehicle travelling at 50km/h has an 85% chance of fatality, and a pedestrian hit at 40km/h has a 30% chance of fatality.
“I’m very happy,” Cambridge Primary School (CPS) principal Mike Pettit said following the announcement of the public’s support. “With relatively narrow roads once cars are parked on the sides, it makes perfect sense. The children, parents and staff at CPS certainly see it as a potential injury or life saver.”
“It is about safety for our students and we have a lot of students walking and riding to and from school,” said Greg Thornton, Cambridge High School principal. “Slower traffic will increase reaction times and the ability to react to student behaviour.”
Cambridge Middle School’s acting principal Tagget Christophersen said “Any step in ensuring our students get home safely is a positive outcome in our eyes.”
Cambridge Middle School is also set to get a new kea crossing outside the school as part of Council’s additional plans to improve roads, pedestrian crossings and cycle lanes around the district. Widening work is planned for Maungatautari Road, east of Mighty River Domain, and a new intersection is planned for the Hanlin Rd turn off from Cambridge Rd.
Hanlin Rd, outside St Peter’s School, would also reduce from 100km/h to 30km/h as part of the new speed changes. In fact speed limits outside all rural schools are planned to reduce by at least 20 per cent. The speed limit outside Horahora School and Roto-o-rangi School is set to go from 100km/h to 60km/h, Kaipaki School will go from 100km/h to 80km/h, and Te Miro School from 70km/h to 60km/h.