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Tuesday, 23 September 2008

SPEED-LIMIT EMAIL TO JUDITH TIZARD

Copy of an email sent to Judith Tizard on the 23rd of September 2008, as she had requested on the 21st at a public meeting on Waiheke:

LOWERING THE SPEED-LIMIT ON THE ONETANGI STRAIGHT & ELSEWHERE TO 50KPH

Below, between the dotted lines, are the resolutions passed by the Waiheke Community Board on the 25th of June 2008 and the 27th of August 2008.

I made personal representations to what is now the Transport Agency, but the man who administers that area, John Jansen, is to Sir Humphrey what a nuclear waste-dump is to a wheelie-bin. All he can talk about is The Rule. The well-being of the Waiheke Community, safety, human life are nothing to him. The Rule must be applied; The Rule must be applied in the same way everywhere in New Zealand, so that when people come to the island they will find the same conditions applying here as everywhere else.

.........

WEDNESDAY 25 JUNE 2008 - MINUTES WAIHEKE COMMUNITY BOARD

4.3. ROAD SAFETY ISSUES ­ DR REBECCA POTTS Dr Rebecca Potts was in attendance to address the Board regarding road safety issues on the island and the posted speed limit on Onetangi straight.

A. That Dr Rebecca Potts be thanked for her presentation to the Waiheke Community Board regarding road safety issues on the island and the posted speed limit on Onetangi straight.

B. That the Waiheke Community Board advocates directly with Land Transport New Zealand to reduce the speed limit from 80km/hr to 60km/hr on Onetangi straight.

Board member Evans moved the following amendment by way of replacement:

B. That the Waiheke Community Board advocates directly with Land Transport New Zealand to reduce the speed limit from 80km/hr to 50km/hr on Onetangi straight.

A division was called for, voting on which was as follows:

For the Amendment: Mr Nobilangelo Ceramalus Mr Ray Ericson Ms Eileen Evans Mr Herb Romaniuk Cr Denise Roche Against the Amendment: Mr Tony Sears

The amendment was declared CARRIED by 5 votes to 1. The amendment became the substantive motion. The Chairman moved the following substantive motion:

A. That Dr Rebecca Potts be thanked for her presentation to the Waiheke Community Board regarding road safety issues on the island and the posted speed limit on Onetangi straight.

B. That the Waiheke Community Board advocates directly with Land Transport New Zealand to reduce the speed limit from 80km/hr to 50km/hr on Onetangi straight. CARRIED

WEDNESDAY 27 AUGUST 2008 - 9 MINUTES WAIHEKE COMMUNITY BOARD

11. NOTICE OF MOTION ­ TRAFFIC SURVEY FOR REDUCING SPEED LIMITS Moved: Ceramalus/Roche That the relevant council officer be asked to complete traffic surveys for the New Zealand Transport Agency for the Onetangi Straight and the lower part of O'Brien Road, and to make his estimates so generous and forward-thinking that the number of points then generated by the speed limit rules will force the limits to be changed down to 50kph, and that the survey be completed and in the hands of the Agency by 19 September 2008.

Councillor Roche moved the following amendments by way of replacement: Moved: Roche/Romaniuk

A. That the Waiheke Community Board requests the Transport Committee to actively seek a 50kph speed limit for the western part of Waiheke Island from Piemelon Bay west to Matiatia, due to widespread community support and the ambience of the island.

B. That the Waiheke Community Board requests that the Transport Committee note that the Board is willing to fund the necessary officers report from its SLIPs budget, and will prepare evidence from the community to support our request for a lowered speed limit on the island.

C. That these resolutions be forwarded to the appropriate central government minister in view of the legal intransigence of the New Zealand Transport Agency in recognising community concerns. CARRIED

.............

There was of course no guarantee that doing generous estimates in order to promote community
well-being in the present and for the future would be enough to satisfy The Rule, and Auckland City Council has not shown itself over-anxious to serve our community in this. It is not an entity that can be described as Waiheke-friendly.

We are therefore left with the highly unsatisfactory state of affairs (as no doubt are many
communities in New Zealand) where we cannot apply common sense, local knowledge and concern for public well-being to the situation and lower the limit on that or any stretch of road.

Communities should be allowed to set speed-limits first and foremost according to section 10 of the Local Government Act 2002--'democratic local decision-making and action, by and on behalf of communities, and to promote the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of communities, in the present and for the future'--not forced into an arbitrary number by a cookie-cutter Rule.

How silly it is is underlined by the fact that on the stretch of road between Ostend and Onetangi there is a change from 50kph to 80kph just below Shepherd's point at the Ostend end, followed about 10 metres later by a 45kph advisory because of a dangerous bend ahead, followed by a short downhill straight, then another 45kph advisory, another bend, with an intersection off it, then another 45kph advisory and a third bend. Then comes the 'Straight' proper, which ends in a tight left-hander coming into the outskirts of the Onetangi village.

It is a busy stretch of road by island standards, being the main route from the western end of the island to Onetangi and points east. It is narrow, the sign halfway along says it is slippery when wet, its condition is not good (Auckland City Council's mis-management has lost the islands $8.5 million of NZTA subsidy over the last five years: the average subsidy has been 17.8%, nowhere near the 43% available). It includes a pony club, a golf-course, numerous vineyards that attract many visitors, a museum, a plant-nursery, a cemetery, and a hotel about to be constructed, etc., as well as residences with single or group driveways. It is also a bus-route. It is obvious that the limit should be lower.

But just because the density of driveways does not satisfy an overly rigid Rule we must put up with a dangerous mix of speeding cars, children and adults on horses, visitors unfamiliar with the island looking for destinations, buses stopping at various points, people coming out of partly-concealed driveways, etc. There have been accidents and near misses; we want to do our best to ensure that the cemetery does not receive more occupants than it should. There was an accident not so long ago in which a car with a drunken driver had an 'argument' with a horse and rider. The result was that the car, the horse and the rider went off in three directions; the horse is now skittish and useless on roads.

It is once again a case of Waiheke knowing more about Waiheke than some overseas' bureaucrat.

We would be very grateful if you would expedite this for us. Life is short and humans are fragile.

--

Regards,
Nobilangelo Ceramalus*.
Member of the Waiheke Community Board.

(*pronounced noble-arn-jillo kerra-marliss)

PS. Little-known factoid: Britain used to send its convicts to Australia. Now New Zealand sends its rebels to Waiheke.