The implementation of new 30 kilometres per hour speed zones in the Mt Somers area came into effect last week.
Pattons Road, near the Mt Somers village store, and Ashburton Gorge Road, near Mt Somers Springburn School, have all seen their speed limits reduced from 50 kilometres per hour.
The changes have been made not only in Mt Somers but in the whole Ashburton District, to coincide with the start of the new school term.
The new zones are part of the interim Speed Management Plan, adopted by the council and certified by Waka Kotahi.
The 30km/h limit will be permanent around schools in urban areas, while rural schools will have variable speed limits that apply during peak activity times in the morning and afternoon.
The changes are part of a national plan to regulate speed around schools and Ashburton District Council is among the first in the South Island to make the transition.
The lower speed limits around school areas will provide drivers with more time to react to potential hazards and decrease the severity of crashes. Data was gathered and the community were consulted upon making the decision.
In fact, the research showed that the average speed on urban streets was actually about 35 km/h, so the change shouldn’t impact road users travel times too much.
The new signs are all within about 200 metres of a school entrance and will be reviewed over time to make sure they are in the best location to catch the attention of road users.
Mt Somers local, Cint Jade has an 11-year-old child who goes to Mt Somers Springburn School and she is all for the change in speed limit in key areas.
“Not all the roads in the village have footpaths to make children’s walk to and from school safe.
“So lowering the speed gives parents piece of mind to make their trip a lot safer.
“People passing through may not realise that there is a school here and could quite easily zoom through in a car.
‘‘Lowering the speed limit should go along way to preventing a serious incident”.
The new speed limits are now in the National Speed Limit Register and have been certified by Waka Kotahi.