New 40 kilometre per hour variable speed zone signs have been installed outside Kihikihi and Te Awamutu Primary Schools in a bid to improve safety.
The schools have met the conditions set by the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) and have made a contribution to the installation of the signage which will be reinforced when Waipa District Council's Speed Limit Bylaw 2012 becomes operative next Tuesday.
Road corridor manager Dawn Inglis says traffic surveys outside the schools in the district showed inappropriate speeds past Kihikihi and Te Awamutu Primary Schools.
Speeds outside other schools were more moderate. Pekerau and St Patrick's primary schools have also qualified for the signage but are yet to proceed with the installation.
"The new variable speed signage will reduce the speed in front of these schools when they are busiest by reminding and reinforcing the message to drivers of the likely presence of children in the area and encouraging them to be cautious," says Ms Inglis.
Schools where the 40km/h speed zone applies will have digital and static signs in place to notify drivers of when the reduced speed limit is in operation. The signs are in place on Whitmore Street for Kihikihi Primary School and on Teasdale, Bank and Princess Streets for Te Awamutu Primary School.
The times of operation for the 40km/h speed limit will vary depending on the start and finish times of each school. Generally though, the 40km/h variable speed limit will operate 35 minutes before the start of school and 20 minutes after school.
The schools can also use the signs for a 10 minute period when there will be large numbers of people crossing to attend a school-related activity or function. Outside of these times the underlying 50km/hr urban speed limit applies.
Ms Inglis says the installation of the signs highlighted the positive working relationship between the council, Te Awamutu Community Board, NZTA and the schools.
Along with NZTA, the council has worked with local communities seeking to provide a safe road environment that encourages more people to walk and cycle.
A number of initiatives have been investigated including active warning signs, variable speed limit signs, increased signage and traffic calming measures.