Auckland Transport has been forced into an embarrassing backdown after it erected speed-limit signs without following correct process.
The 10km/h speed-limit signs went up in Elliott and Federal Sts in March. Both are shared spaces, which mean they can be used by pedestrians and vehicles, but pedestrians have right of way.
Auckland councillor George Wood, a former police officer, told the Herald on Sunday that no consultation took place and usual procedures were not followed.
"I was astounded," he said. "There's a strict protocol that has to be followed if council authorities wish to change the speed limit from the established 50km/h. You have to consult the community and then go to the New Zealand Transport Agency to ratify it."
Motorists were fortunate no "zealous" police officer had tried to enforce the limit, Wood said.
Wood complained to Auckland Transport. Council engagement manager Roger Wilson described the situation in an email to Wood as "more a case of the signs being unenforceable than illegal, which is an important distinction".
Signs in Federal St were intended to be a temporary disincentive to driving too fast and would be removed as planter boxes had been put into the street to slow motorists, he told Wood.
But signs in Elliott St would remain until other measures were put in place to reduce speeds, "noting, of course, that the limit cannot be enforced", Wilson wrote.
Wilson later told Wood the matter had been "reconsidered" and the signs would be removed. Auckland Transport spokesman Mark Hannan said the Federal St signs were an "urgent safety measure".
"A number of drivers were going too fast for the shared space. Our monitoring showed 15 per cent of drivers were travelling at speeds exceeding 25km/h, which is dangerous in a confined space with a large number of pedestrians about."
The signs had been removed because other traffic-calming measures had been established, including extra planter boxes to narrow the road.
A formal review of the speed limit for the street was under way and would involve consultation with the local board, businesses and other interested parties.
Once completed, a speed limit would be formally adopted for Federal St and possibly other shared spaces, Hannan said.
New Zealand Transport Agency spokesman Andrew Knackstedt confirmed temporary speed limits could be set to manage a risk of danger to anyone but they must be accompanied by a sign saying "temporary".