30 July. There is strong disgruntlement from our local community about Auckland Transport’s announcement this month that the Coatesville Riverhead Highway is to have its speed limit reduced from 80km/h down to 60 km/h.
The justification from Auckland Transport is this will reduce the deaths and serous injuries which occur along the road. This is a policy being driven by central government which Councils are having to implement.
This disgruntlement is largely around the reduction being considered as excessive and that travelling at 60km/h will create its own safety issues through frustrated drivers taking risks and making reckless decisions.
People feel they have not been listened to when Auckland asked for public feedback on its proposal to change the speed limit. This has added to people’s discontent.
When Peak Road is to have a speed limit of 80km/h and the Coatesville Riverhead Highway is to have a speed limit of 60km/h the logic becomes confusing. The Coatesville Riverhead Highway is a much better road.
Friends in Riverhead tell me they are so annoyed that they plan to sell their homes. Putting up with the fiasco of the traffic jams on SH16 is hard enough to live with, but adding a 60km/h speed limit on the Coatesville Riverhead Highway is too much for them to bear.
Auckland Transport says the decision has been made and they intend to go ahead and make the speed limit changes regardless. They advise that no changes to their decision would be possible without following bylaw change procedures. The only way to review their decision would be when a second set of roads elsewhere in Auckland go out for public feedback about having their speed limits also reduced that the Coatesville Riverhead Highway is included. This is planned to occur 30 November.
Furthermore, the Auckland Transport Board of Directors would have to give specific permission for the Coatesville Riverhead Highway to be reincluded in such a consultation process.
With other roads across Rodney the feedback about speed reductions has been generally extremely well received. However, I am hearing enough incensed outrage to fight to have a second review done of this particular road.
Thus, I have written to the Chair and Chief Executive of Auckland Transport formally requesting the decision around Coatesville Riverhead Highway be reviewed. In addition, there needs to public support behind having the review done, so I have started an online petition. Please Google the “Petition against 60km/h on Coatesville Riverhead Highway” to register your support or nonsupport. (THIS PETITION IS NOW CLOSED).
Perhaps a 70km/h speed limit could be an acceptable compromise. Saving lives and people from serious injury should always be of top importance.
If the Coatesville Riverhead Highway speed limit was reserved, this would mean safety features along the road would also have to have money spent on them and be upgraded.
Petition Update: The results from a public submission exercise , along with everyone’s comments, were submitted to the Chief Executive of Auckland Transport, as well as to the Chair of the Board of Directors.
There was a total of 1,104 submissions and 90.3% of respondents “strongly opposed” or “somewhat opposed” the changed speed limit.
The detailed breakdown to the question asking how much people supported or opposed the 60km/h speed limit was;
Most people (75%) felt the speed limit should be reinstated to 80km/h. Support for a speed limit of 70km/h was 17%.
Over 90% of participants thought Auckland Transport should spend money upgrading the road they if they considered it was unsafe, rather than lowering the speed limit.
Auckland Transport’s CEO advised me that the NZTA (central Government’s roading authority) has issued a directive to all Council’s in New Zealand to phase out all 70 kph speed limits, so the 70 kph option was not going to considered.
They also refused to relook at changing the road back to 80kph for a minimum of a two year period, saying they wanted to see if there were less accidents at a 60 kph then their records showed for 80 kph.
Auckland Transport did consult before the changes ( limited to an ad in the Herald I understand) they got about 200 replies. The majority of which did not want the speed limit dropped.