From 6 November to 15 December 2019, Let’s Get Wellington Moving engaged on a proposal to lower central city speed limits in Wellington.
Feedback was sought on reducing speed limits on all central city streets to 30km/h with the exception of the main roads (Waterloo Quay, Customhouse Quay, Jervois Quay, Cable Street, Wakefield Street, Kent Terrace, Cambridge Terrace, Vivian Street and Karo Drive) which were proposed to remain at 50 km/h.
There were 1,190 pieces of feedback received from 475 people, including seven submissions from stakeholder groups.
We’d like to hear what you think about lowering the speed limit to 30km/h on most central city streets. We’d also like to know what you think about keeping some of the main roads at 50km/h.
We’re suggesting these main roads – Waterloo Quay, Customhouse Quay, Jervois Quay, Cable Street, Wakefield Street, Kent and Cambridge terraces, Vivian Street and Karo Drive – all remain at 50km/h.
We’ll use your feedback to help refine the recommendation, which we’ll consult on in early 2020 before any changes are made.
We need to make a start now on moving more people with fewer vehicles. To do this, we need to create a better environment for people walking and on bikes.
Setting safer speeds in the central city is an important first step.
Central Wellington has the highest numbers of pedestrians in the country.
With 80,000 people travelling into the city each day, walking is the main way people make short trips around the central city for work, shopping, eating out, entertainment or as part of their commute. Some parts of the Golden Mile have nearly 30,000 people passing through on foot each day. Lowering the speed limit will help create a more pleasant, liveable central city.
A more welcoming street environment that encourages more people to walk and bike instead of using private vehicles will also help to reduce carbon emissions.
In the next 30 years, we expect between 50,000 and 80,000 more people to make Wellington their home. This will change not just where we live but how we live.
The central city is also one of our fastest growing residential neighbourhoods, and will increasingly be a place where people want to enjoy spending time. In the next four years, we expect around 4,000 more people to live here.
Research shows that a 50km/h speed limit is too high for busy city streets where many people are walking.
Small reductions in speed can have a major effect on a person’s chances of survival. A pedestrian hit by a vehicle travelling at 30km/h has on average an 85% chance of surviving compared with 30% survival at 50km/h.
It all comes down to physics; a car travelling at 30km/h only needs around 13m to stop, whereas a car travelling at 50km/h needs around 28m to stop – an extra 15m. On our busy central city streets that extra 15m can be critical.
In the central city, at peak times, most traffic is already travelling at about 35km/h. In the central city, vehicles are already stopping and starting at traffic signals and intersections. Alongside congestion, this has a much greater effect on your journey time than driving at a 30 km/h speed limit.
Wellington already has a number of safer speed areas. Parts of Lambton Quay and Willis Street have been 30km/h since 2006. The rest of the Golden Mile – Lambton Quay north of Panama Street, Manners Street and Courtenay Place – became 30km/h in 2010.
There are 30km/h speed limits in 15 suburban town centres, and 40km/h speed limits in Newtown, on Oriental Parade and around the north end of Miramar Peninsula.
Christchurch already has a 30km/h speed limit in their city centre and Auckland will be doing the same in 2020. Many cities in Europe, the USA and Australia have lower speed limits.
A 30km/h speed limit in the central city would also be would be consistent with the Government’s draft national road safety strategy, Road to Zero.
Wellington City Council consulted with the public on a central city 30km/h speed limit in 2014.
In general, public submissions were divided however a separate independent research survey at the time showed there was good support from Wellingtonians for the proposal. The survey was a more accurate representation of the views of the wider public. Read the survey