Yesterday I watched a very interesting video which aired on Seven Sharp on 31 October 2013.
One of their reporters drove a route through a part of the Christchurch CBD which is to become a 30km/h zone – first at 50km/h and then at 30km/h. The reporter is obviously a car person and started out with the assumption that the slower speed was crazy and would cause significant delays in her daily driving.
To her own surprise, she actually covered the distance 20 seconds faster driving at 30km/h. She was really shocked and one of the other reporters said that she later attributed this to getting more green lights at 30km/h. Now, even if that is true (and if so, it is a damn good reason to drive at 30km/h) and she had caught a couple of red lights, her drive would likely have been only 30 seconds slower at 30km/h.
We have written before about the advantages of slow zones overseas (also here) and also some suggestions for putting in place such zones in Auckland (FYI – I have presented to the Takapuna-Devonport Local Board on this idea and received a positive reception).
Slow zones have also just been rolled out in Bristol and it will be interesting to see what the impact is in a smaller city. Bristol has a population of about 430,000 within the unitary authority area, so it is similar to Christchurch.
These slow zones are such a great idea and I can only hope that, once they have shown their worth in Christchurch, they are rolled out nationwide. It is a cheap and effective way to create a more pleasant and safer street environment for everyone.