Plans to lower speeds on 700km of urban and rural roads in Auckland have been temporarily halted by the board of Auckland Transport.

Board chairman Lester Levy told the Herald the board has asked management to bring a paper to the board next month for final approval with more detailed information, including the communications strategy.

"The board wants this information before consultation commences, which will happen in February," he said.

Levy said the board received a paper from management about road safety and speed at today's monthly meeting and had a very good, in-depth discussion.

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The last-minute decision to put the brakes on the announcement follows concerns for a blanket speed limit of 30km/h in the CBD. There are plans for a 10km/h speed limit in shared spaces like Elliott and Fort Sts where cars and pedestrians share the roadway.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff is not publicly backing a 30km/h speed limit in the CBD.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff is not publicly backing a 30km/h speed limit in the CBD.

In September Mayor Phil Goff told the Herald he would not publicly back a 30km/h speed limit in the CBD.

He said Auckland had to address road safety issues with too many people dying, but expected AT "to make decisions on speed limits which are evidence-based and result in bringing down the road toll."

Plans for the announcement were well advanced, with Local Boards briefed on plans for their communities and a website due to go live on Thursday with maps and details.

Lower speeds on 10 per cent of Auckland's roads were to be made possible by a new speeds limit bylaw to be approved by the unelected directors of Auckland Transport in March or April next year.

Public consultation was set down for four weeks starting this month and the new speed limits were expected to start coming into force from April next year. The changes will require new signage and other measures to reduce speeds, including raised zebra crossings, raised tables, speed humps and narrowing roads.

The well-flagged measures are a response to a sharp rise in serious injuries and road deaths in Auckland, which rose from 48 to 64 between 2013 and 2017.

Lower speeds are part of a $700 million safety programme that aims to reduce the number of roads deaths by 18 per cent over the next three years.

AT has been planning to introduce a speed limit of 30km/h in the city centre bounded by the central motorways to make the streets safer for growing numbers of pedestrians, cyclists and residents.

The central city 30km/h speed limit will be bounded by the motorway network.
The central city 30km/h speed limit will be bounded by the motorway network.

Under the current plans, town centre roads like Broadway in Newmarket and Tamaki Drive in Mission Bay and St Heliers would have their speed limit reduced to 30km/h.

Rural roads that will drop to 80km/h include parts of the Coatesville-Riverhead highway out west, Matakana Rd to the north and Alfriston Rd in the south.

Consultation is already underway to reduce speeds from 50km/h to 30km/h at Rosehill in Papakura and Te Atatu South after safety concerns were raised by locals.

Figures show there were 51 crashes in Rosehill in the past five years. In Te Atatu South, speeds of more than 121km/h have been recorded on School Rd and Flanshaw Rd.

The Automobile Association's principal adviser for infrastructure, Barney Irvine, has previously told the Herald lower speeds in a lot of CBD streets was a no-brainer where there were many pedestrians and distractions.

But on busy multi-lane streets like Hobson, Nelson and Fanshawe Sts that connected to motorways, reducing speed limits might not be the answer, he said.

"There's a risk on these bigger roads that we change the speed limit, but don't get the compliance, because 50km/h still feels like the natural driving speed," Irvine said.