Saturday, June 23, 2012
At the Halswell Liaison Group meeting in May, the head of one of the local schools noted that difficulties that they are having getting children across Halswell Road to use the domain sports fields and the Pool.
At the June meeting, we had Ryan Cooney from NZTA come to talk to us about Halswell Road. NZTA look after State Highways and Halswell Road is SH75. At this stage, NZTA have 4 laning in the long term plan but there is nothing definite in the way of dates etc.
We had quite a lot of discussion about speed limits and there are some question about why the speed limit through Halswell is 60km per hour when crossing the road is such a necessity for getting between different community facilities and other communities have a 50km/hr limit through their place.
Another question that came up was how do NZTA make decisions about what happens to Halswell Road (and other State Highways). He talked about the idea of the best outcomes for "New Zealand Inc." There may be criteria for making these kinds of decisions but it is not clear quite what they are. I felt that the most critical question was 'Which has priority in the planning process - the good (safety and access to community facilities) of the local community or the good (speed) of the people driving through?" Ryan was unable to answer that mainly because he is not privy to how these decisions are made.
It seems to me that, as a community, it would pay for us to be aware of these issues and to get involved in planning processes so that we keep the needs of the local community in the minds of transport planners as much as possible when they are making their plans.
What do you think?