Safety review aims to slow risky roads (+video)

By Matthew.Martin@dailypost.co.nz

1 comment

Council still to decide which routes will get calming measures

Several roads deemed dangerous around the Rotorua district have been earmarked for safety upgrades but the Rotorua Lakes Council is yet to decide which ones will get improvements.

Brent Rd in Owhata is soon to have three new speed bumps, known by the council as traffic calming measures, while work has already started on four new speed bumps on Clayton Rd.

According to the council's transport solutions director Stavros Michael plans are being finalised for more traffic calming measures on other streets in Rotorua, but details would not be known until after the start of the coming financial year in July.

In the meantime, Mr Michael has released to the Rotorua Daily Post the top five roads in Rotorua, according to the council's roading policy, that new safety measures could be installed on.

They are Takinga St at Mourea, Devon St, Pukehangi Rd, Koutu Rd and Springfield Rd.

Average speeds measured on those roads are greater than the maximum speed limit of 50km/h, the worst being Pukehangi Rd where drivers averaged 57.3km/h.

"The top five doesn't mean in public demand. It means those that have had at least one request and have been assessed as having the highest risk and implementing traffic management measures would give the greatest safety improvements for the funding invested," Mr Michael said.

"This doesn't mean they will be undertaken in this order, or even get done.

"Each road will be assessed prior to doing anything and other programmes, such as cycling, can influence the actual work," he said.

But, Kawaha Point Rd resident Graham Diment thinks his road should be on the list too.

"I don't think the excessive speed is on Koutu Rd, but when they hit Kawaha Point Rd it's open slather due to it being a long straight road.

"There's a hell of a lot of speeding that goes along here. I'd say the average speed for Kawaha Point Rd is more than 55km/h.

"Because of the cheap road seal they use when you get cars doing in excess of 60km/h - there is an awful lot of noise."

Mr Diment said he felt most roads in the urban area could do with some form of safety measures.

"They should build them on all the roads."

According to the council, Kawaha Point Rd has an average speed of 54.4km/h with 15 per cent of drivers averaging 58.8km/hr.

Mr Michael said the council had a long list of roads that had significant public demand for some form of traffic management.

"Roads are prioritised under policies that target both speed and short cutting on local roads," he said. "We prioritise roads based on a risk assessment. There are a number of other factors such as pedestrians, crash rates etc, which we include in prioritising traffic management."

New speed bumps will be built along Brent Rd in Owhata to slow down traffic passing local schools.

Rotorua Lakes Council will begin work on the "traffic calming measures" before the end of the financial year at a cost of around $17,000.

The council's transport and waste solutions manager Stavros Michael said 15 per cent of drivers travelled faster than 55.4km/h along the road that had a speed limit of 50km/h.

The average speed as tested by the council on Brent Rd is 50km/h, but Mr Michael said there were other factors used in deciding where to put speed bumps.

"The work is also associated with cycleway development," he said.

"There are approximately 2000 children accessing that area every day. In the vicinity are three schools, one childcare centre and a special needs school. Our team prioritise roads based on a risk assessment."

He said other factors such as the number of pedestrians, crash rates, drivers using roads as short cuts and public demand were used to determine which streets would have safety measures installed.

He said this financial year three speed bumps would be installed on Brent Rd and there were plans to put them on other roads around the city.

The news comes after the council decided to build four new speed bumps along Clayton Rd at a cost of around $27,000. Once work is complete, there will be 12 speed bumps on Clayton Rd where the average speed is 57km/h.

Owhata School principal Bob Stiles said the bumps were an excellent idea.

"The traffic heads up and down pretty fast on that road, so they will allow things to slow down a little bit.

"We have a school traffic patrol, and for us it's important in the mornings and afternoons. Most of our whanau are really good in slowing down but people who don't know the area can be a bit of a problem in speeding.

"We all want our kids to get to school safely."


Top 5 streets in line for new safety measures

Takinga St (Mourea): Average speed 52.5km/h, 15 per cent of traffic is going faster than 60.4km/h

Devon St: Average 53.8km/h, 15 per cent of traffic exceeds 58.7km/h

Pukehangi Rd (50km/h section): Average 57.3km/h, 15 per cent of traffic is going faster than 62.6km/h

Koutu Rd: Average speed 53.5km/h, 15 per cent of traffic i exceeds 57.8km/h

Springfield Rd: Average 53.6km/h, 15 per cent of traffic exceeds 57.8km/h

- Rotorua Daily Post

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