Auckland Transport’s plan to radically reduce the speed limit in the CBD is an over-reaction that would prove deeply frustrating for Aucklanders, National’s Transport spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.

“Consultation on a plan to reduce the speed limit for the entire CBD inside the motorway loop and for a significant slice of the city’s road network will begin in the New Year. There will be a 40 per cent speed reduction in significant parts of the transport network, with cars only able to travel 30 kilometres per hour down major roads, like Hobson Street and Nelson Street.

“It looks as though regardless of the consultation, transport planners are determined to press ahead.

“Aucklanders need to push back on this plan. This is a radical change, driven as much by anti-car zealotry as it is by safety concerns. It is hard to understand given cars have never been safer than they are now.

“The spike in accidents in Auckland last year is absolutely a cause for concern, but we should consider all factors, such as enforcement of current rules around drink driving, red-light running, drivers distracted by cell-phones, not wearing seatbelts, driving under the influence of drugs and exceeding current speed limits, before a radical slowing down of the city.

“The purpose of transport planning should be to make it easier for Aucklanders to get around. Public transport, cycling and walking will work for some people, but most families – with parents picking up kids from sports practice on the way home from work and the countless complications of everyday life – rely on cars and roads. 

“Arbitrarily and radically slowing down traffic makes it more difficult to get around. A 30 kilometres per hour limit will make sense in some streets, but a blanket speed reduction across the entire CBD is an overreaction.

“The Council also seems to forget there are 24 hours in the day – and forcing people to crawl down wide roads at many times of the day when there is little or no traffic on the road is intensely frustrating and unnecessary.

“The CBD proposals are just one of many and follow NZTA moves to turn increasingly large sections of the motorway network into 80 kilometres per hour.

“Auckland Transport’s radicalism needs to be tempered with common sense.”

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