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Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is proposing safer speed limits outside 34 schools across Northland and north Auckland.

The proposals are a key focus of the Northland and north Auckland speed review, and a key action under New Zealand’s Road to Zero road safety strategy, which aims to set safer speed limits around all New Zealand’s schools by the end of 2027.

Steve Mutton, Director of Regional Relationships Te Tai Tokerau me Tāmaki Makaurau at Waka Kotahi, says keeping students safe from vehicles outside the school gates is the top priority for the review.

“We heard loud and clear from the community that one of their biggest concerns was the speed people drive past schools. We couldn’t agree more, which is why we are proposing change. There is simply no need for high speeds near schools, especially during the really busy drop-off and pick-up times,” said Mr Mutton.

Initially, for schools within the review area, the proposed changes include reducing existing permanent speed limits for some schools and/or using variable speed limits.

Variable speed limits are used to reduce speeds at the peak periods when students arrive and depart school, and at other times such as special events outside or around the school when students may be present in numbers.

Kimberley Rope-Battcher, Board of Trustees member at Ruawai College in Northland, says the changes couldn’t come soon enough for her school.

“The speed cars come past our school is currently 80 km/h which is a real concern for us and our students. It’s just far too fast. I myself have witnessed near misses and desperately want to see change before someone is hurt. We will be providing a submission in full support of these changes and encourage everyone in our community to do the same,” said Mrs Rope-Battcher.

Andrea Clarke, Principal at Kaukapakapa School, north Auckland, is one of the few schools on the road corridors currently under review to have a safer speed limit in place thanks to the community campaigning for it two years ago.

“I no longer hear screeching brakes from my office in the morning so am far less anxious,” said Mrs Clarke.

“Safer speeds outside of our school has made a huge difference. The last thing we want is for tamariki to be put in a stressful situation right before the school day starts. We are thrilled to see our children’s safety being put first by road safety experts at Waka Kotahi who are proposing to reduce the speed limit outside our school further, from 40 down to 30 km/h – a change we 100 percent support,” said Mrs Clarke.

The changes form part of the Northland and north Auckland speed review that aims to set safer speeds across 11 road corridors most in need of change. The review is currently open for public consultation, which runs from 17 May and closes at 11pm on Tuesday 14 June 2022.

The public are being asked to read over the speed review proposals and changes here(external link) and let Waka Kotahi know whether there is anything further to consider.

Feedback can be given online nzta.govt.nz/naklspeedreviews(external link), by emailing naklspeedreviews@nzta.govt.nz  or phoning 0800 141 777.

MIL OSI