Confusion over speed limit in reserve

Legal processes have been bypassed in the speed change proposal for a well-used road in Little Shoal Bay, authorities say.

Public feedback is being collated on North Shore City Council’s proposed speed change of 20kmh for a 100- metre section of road that runs through the reserve.

Currently the section of road has a 30kmh limit, as do 100-metre stretches of road at either side of the reserve, council transport infrastructure group manager Alan Wallace says.

But under the reserve’s bylaw which was established in the early 1990s, the limit should be 20kmh. This is supported by residents who made submissions at the time, councillor Tony Holman says.

Mr Holman, with support from councillors, is pushing for the speed reduction which has been subject to much debate and was put off for almost 20 years.

But they have not complied with a NZ Transport Agency setting of speed limits rule which requires it to consult with police and the New Zealand Transport Agency.

There is confusion as to whether the land should be treated as a legal road or reserve, Mr Wallace says.

It already has restrictions on heavy vehicles.

“It’s quite a unique situation that the road runs through a reserve,” he says.

“The land is designed as a reserve. There’s issues over what is its purpose. It’s an important road link.”

The 100-metre section is too small to impose the 20kmh limit, whereas the current 300-metre stretch of 30kmh is more appropriate, he says.

“It’s not long enough for police to observe,” he says of the proposed 20kmh limit.

Council parks policy and planning adviser Ezra Barwell says it’s up to councillors to decide what process they want to follow.

Advice from council’s transport infrastructure department will be presented along with public submissions to the council’s regulatory committee within the next few months, he says.

“What’s going to come out in this debate is whether the whole process is flawed.”

Shore resident and former mayor George Wood says council had been going through a “cack-handed” process and that about 6000 residents who may use the road could be affected.

In an email to Mr Wood, New Zealand Transport Agency legal counsel Emma Petersen said the council would need consent from the conservation minister but would be unlikely to get it if the setting of speed limits rule was not complied with.

“Despite the fact that the land used as a road is within a reserve, it is still under the control of the council, is available to the public and has been used as a road for at least 30 years.”
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NZTA plans to follow it up with the council, she said.

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Written by: MICHELLE ROBINSON
Reprinted with permission: Auckland Now – North Shore Times

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