Palmerston North Submission on Safer Journeys

Safer Journeys (Road Safety Strategy to 2020) Submission

Living Streets Aotearoa (PN) believes that the issues of education and walking and cycling need to be raised to the highest priority group.

Both activities have marked health benefits and contribute to more vibrant, sociable, economically viable and safer communities. Furthermore, both are effectively carbon neutral and help reduce our balance of payments deficit. The comparatively higher risk of injury for cyclists is offset by the health benefits cycling offers. Walkers and cyclists are also more productive workers, having already energised themselves on their ways to work.

Getting more people to walk and cycle (possibly in combination with using public transport which is the safest of all modes of travel) requires continued education and reinforcement, as well as numerous improvements to infrastructure and rules to make these modes of travel more appealing to more people.

The biggest factor that would improve safety of these groups, and decrease overall injury rates most, would be to have fewer people driving and those who are driving doing so at lower speeds. These two factors, along with severance (no safe way to get from A to B), are the biggest deterrents we hear about as why more people don’t walk and ride.

Specifically, we need:

·         Continued education / persuasion programmes that encourage people of all ages to develop and keep up the habit of using their feet as the first travel option. Successful programmes operate in schools (iMove, Feet First, Walking School Buses, Safer Routes to Schools) and now effort is beginning on workplaces. Attention needs to be maintained on these but also expanded to take in secondary schools (combined with raising the driving age to at least 17).

·         Lower speed limits, to 30 km/h on residential and busy commercial type streets and 40 km/h elsewhere in urban areas and 80 km/h in rural areas

·         Temporary 30 km/h speed limits outside all schools term during time, before and after schools and during lunch hours

·         Roadway modification and rule enforcement so that most drivers abide by speed limits

·         Central government funding to road controlling authorities to include funding for creation, enewal and maintenance of footpaths and associated infrastructure

·         Turning traffic having to give way to pedestrians crossing the road into which the traffic is turning

·         Greater use of raised pedestrian crossings

·         Decreasing the maximum distance pedestrians have to cross to 5m by use of refuges and narrow crossing points

·         Driveway clear areas where no fences, plants or other obstacles can be placed that obscure the view of the footpath from driveways

·         Driveways to have rumble strips/bumps across them to remind drivers they are about to cross a footpath

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