Blanket 30kph limits to go

Speed sign near Phoenix Preschool and Ashburton College.
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The Government is removing blanket speed limit reductions, likely to see 30kph restrictions around Mid Canterbury schools apply to school drop-off and pick-up times only.

Transport Minister Simeon Brown made the announcement on Tuesday afternoon, which was welcomed by mayor Neil Brown and Rangitata MP James Meager.

Brown said the likely scenario in Mid Canterbury would now be for the 30kph signs to remain, but there to be an extra panel attached to those signs dictating the hours at which the speed limit applied to.

Currently the speed limit applied around the clock, and the only signs legally allowed to vary these were expensive electronic flashing signs. The district council would no longer have to consider these signs, which would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

‘‘There will be no need for them. Instead you have 30kph 7.30am to 9am and then 2.30pm to 4pm, which is not legal at the moment, but these changes will make them legal,’’ Brown said.

Meager said he was looking forward to significant changes to the inflexible speed limits around the district’s schools.

‘‘Blanket speed limits that are in the wrong places lower productivity, impacts our ability to get to school and to sport, and don’t improve road safety. ’’

District councillor Richard Wilson is among councillors welcoming the announcement. At a meeting last week he made a tongue-in-cheek suggestion the district council place black rubbish bags over the 30kph signs around Mid Canterbury schools when they are closed for summer.

‘‘There’s a saying ‘The law is an ass’, and that was sort of the case in that situation,’’ Wilson said.