If there is one type of complaint we regularly get, then it is about speeding vehicles on residential streets. The irony of this is that in most cases these drivers would be local residents of that particular neighbourhood. It is obvious that some drivers just don’t understand the concept of a speed limit and rather see that limit as a target. Some even go as far to add a tolerance to this limit to create their own limit of around 59kph!
Main arterials like Church-, North-, Selwyn streets and Pages-, Otipua Roads, etc. are built to handle more traffic volumes at operate safely at about 50kph. As you move off to side streets that take you into residential areas, your speed should be slower.
Residential streets take people to their personal living spaces. It is therefore personal where we welcome our friends, relatives, and other people on invitation (delivery, services, etc.). Here we expect people to behave in a way that would not endanger our loved ones or property.
Elderly folk take walks, kids play ball, ride bikes or skateboards, and pets may occasionally be around to share in the fun in this space. Ideally, the operating speed should be around 30kph. At this speed, everything slows down to increase safety. Even if the worst happen and a car hits a pedestrian, it will be survivable and the risk of serious injury reduced.
You will notice on some streets entrances are engineered to look narrower, give way or stop signs, road markings disappear and sometimes footpaths are widened. This is done to clearly define the street design is different, therefor behaviour (speed) should also be different (slower). Also be aware that speed humps aren’t always the solution and could in many cases increase noise and speed. It also penalises the majority of drivers that would normally drive slow and careful.
How much time do you gain by going faster? Let’s take an example of someone that lives 500 meters off from a main arterial. At fifty, it may take 36 seconds. At thirty, it may take 24 seconds longer at 60 seconds, but with increased safety for everyone. At thirty or slower most incidents can be avoided.
Do the right thing on residential streets - Keep your speed down and be ready to react.