14 Mar 2016

Chch businesses worry over lower speeds

7:18 pm on 14 March 2016

A Christchurch business owner says changing the speed limit to 30km/h in the CBD could hurt business.

Christchurch City Council lowered the speed limit from 50km/h to 30km/h on Saturday.

The new limit applies to streets bounded by Kilmore, Madras and St Asaph Streets, with Victoria Street and parts of Colombo Street also included.

Stock photo of 30 km/h sign.

Photo: 123RF

Victoria Street boutique gift-store owner Rosie Austin said it would be detrimental to her business.

"Since the earthquake I've had to become a destination shop, so I'm reliant on people driving by and maybe stopping when they had forgotten I was here.

"And I think at 30 [km/h] everyone will avoid Victoria Street, and that's going to impact on my customer base.

"In my block there's hardly any businesses for people to come to, we've lost huge population round this area.

This map shows where the new 30km/h speed limit will be enforced in central Christchurch.

This map shows where the new 30km/h speed limit will be enforced in central Christchurch. Photo: Christchurch City Council

She said the light phasing on both ends of the street had already been changed to allow only about four cars through at a time, and people were already beginning to avoid the area.

"With people already avoiding town, the speed limit change is the last thing we need," Ms Austin said.

Victoria Street florist Nicola Damm said because people were driving slower they may have more time to look in shop windows.

She said she had driven through the CBD to get to work this morning.

"It felt like I was crawling and it felt really slow. But I think once everyone gets used to it and everybody's doing it, it will, possibly, be ok."

Council transport operations manager Stefan Thomas said the reduced speed limit came from the Share an Idea campaign launched after the earthquakes.

He said it was all about making the city safer for all road users.

"So far it all seems to be going to plan. Most people are doing the new 30km/h speed limit, and yeah, so far so good.

Mr Thomas said people coming into the city had the centre as a destination, and were not trying to avoid it by going around.

Christchurch road policing manager Ash Tabb said any speed reduction was positive as it would reduce crashes and injuries.

"If people are offending then they will be ticketing but the key focus at the moment is to communicate with people and educate them about the new limit."

Inspector Tabb said with the CBD in construction mode he did not see the speed change being an issue.

"The average speed around the area particularly where this is, it's actually quite low anyway - it's not a wholesale change.

He said police would be monitoring the roads for speeding.