12/06/2019 3:00:00 p.m.
12 June 2019
A recommendation that Council undertake a comprehensive road safety review around all rural schools in the Rotorua district will be considered by the Strategy, Policy & Finance Committee tomorrow [Thursday 13 June].
The recommendation follows a recent presentation by Lake Rerewhakaaitu School students to the Rotorua Rural Community Board. The school undertook its own assessments and presented a report, asking that consideration be given to improving road safety in the vicinity of the school, including reducing speed limits.
Students from the school will also present their research and findings to the committee tomorrow.
The committee will be asked to support a recommendation for council staff to undertake a comprehensive road safety review including assessment of posted speed limits around all rural schools and report back to council with findings and recommendations. If the Strategy, Policy & Finance Committee supports the recommendation, the matter will then go to the Full Council for final decision.
Lake Rerewhakaaitu School students presented to the Rotorua Rural Community Board on 20 May requesting the speed limit through the village be reduced from the current 70km/h to 50km/h and that a 40k/h variable speed limit be introduced in front of the school during school hours, as per New Zealand Transport Agency’s Traffic Note 37. In support of their submission the students presented a report including research, evidence-based observations and the outcome of local community consultation they undertook.
Council has a statutory role to set speed limits on roads under its jurisdiction and these are set under a bylaw. Council reviews posted speed limits periodically on all roads where safety concerns
have been identified and speed limit changes are requested, and recommends changes where national criteria for change is met, as per NZTA’s Speed Limit Setting Rule. This ensures consistency across all roading networks and ensures any change is valid and cannot be challenged, a report to the Strategy, Policy & Finance Committee says.
The last Traffic Bylaw review was conducted in early 2018. Generally a review of posted speed limits on the Council’s roading network is undertaken every three years for efficiency and consistency.
Following such a review, public feedback is sought regarding any proposed speed limit changes and is factored into final recommendations to Council for final decision-making.
The initiative taken by the Rerewhakaaitu students has prompted a wider conversation and a recommendation that there should be a review of road safety around all 16 rural schools in the district, many of which are on roads with speed limits higher than 50km/h, including some on state highways.
A systematic approach towards reviewing all rural schools road safety risks will provide the benefits of fully understanding all the issues related to traffic around the various schools and provides the ability to work with NZTA on a possible standardised approach for subsequent recommendations for speed limit changes, the report to the Strategy, Policy & Finance Committee says.
Support for the proposal will activate a review similar to what will be undertaken in Rotorua’s CBD. That review will be looking at road safety, parking, speed limits and the present day relevance of the green corridor (in the context of the emerging comprehensive cycle network across the city today).
A road safety assessment around all rural schools can be accommodated within existing budgets. A Speed Limit Bylaw review is budgeted for in the 2018-28 Long-term Plan.
Go to p13 of the Strategy, Policy & Finance Committee agenda to view the full report on this matter, including the school’s Roadside Safety Report in support of its request for a road safety audit, including reviewing speed limits, in the vicinity of the school.
The meeting will be livestreamed. Livestreaming/recordings can be accessed via THIS LINK on Council's website.