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Need for less speed

Stout Street residents call for urgent action to slow down motorists.

Traffic calming measures proposed for suburban streets have been approved and, in some cases, brought forward by Gisborne district councillors, but residents of Stout Street remain unhappy and say they have been ignored.

The measures include new intersection layouts allowing only left-hand turns at Stout Street into Wi Pere Street and from Stout Street into Fitzherbert Street, and speed tables at the intersections of Stout Street/Stafford Street and Stout Street/Hall Street.

Stout Street residents, represented by Brett Lysaght and Colin Sowerby, told councillors sitting as the operations committee that they wanted planted chicanes and speed cameras installed because of the danger presented by speeding drivers.

One motorist had been clocked at 128 kilometres an hour by police radar on Stout Street, said Mr Lysaght.

He asked for councillors to act with urgency.

Someone would be killed and the council would have blood on their hands, he said.

The recommendations before councillors were great but not sufficient.

Chicanes were needed.

Traffic volume was not the issue; rather it was the speed of vehicles.

Mr Lysaght said police could not always be present in Stout Street.

He believed the speed limit in Stout Street could be lowered to 30kmh.

Mr Sowerby called for the installation of speed cameras. “We want something now.”

Another resident, who spoke to The Herald after the decision said: “once again, the council is not listening to its ratepayers”.

Residents did not support speed tables (raised section of road designed to reduce traffic speed). They considered them unsatisfactory.

Recommendations approved by councillors include —

■ Modifying the intersection layout at Wi Pere and Fitzherbert streets during the financial year 2021/22 at a cost of $175,000.

■ Constructing pedestrian improvements along Tyndall and Rutene roads at a cost of $70,000. Councillors brought forward the Tyndall Road/Rutene Road improvements from the 2022-2023 year to the 2021-2022 year.

■ Installing two speed tables at the intersections of Stout Street with Stafford and Hall streets. Councillors brought that improvement forward from the 2023/24 to the 2021-2022 year.

Councillors also passed a new recommendation to approach police about installing speed cameras in Stout Street between Wi Pere Street and Fitzherbert Street.

Councillor Pat Seymour said Stout Street residents had been submitting their concerns about speeding for some years.

She moved the new recommendation, seconded by councillor Josh Wharehinga, to bring forward traffic calming measures discussed into the next financial year.

Council community lifelines director David Wilson said moving the measures forward would make the recommendations subject to gaining National Land Transport Fund (NLTF) funding.

Mr Wilson said a driver speeding at 128kmh was a police matter.

Cr Shannon Dowsing said the staff opposition to chicanes was based on safety to cyclists. He had seen chicanes in Europe with a cyclist lane on the inside. Was that an option?

Council Journeys infrastructure manager Dave Hadfield said chicanes were an issue to road sweepers.

Cr Dowsing said raised tables, which deterred speedsters, should be installed before the left-hand only intersections, which only affected traffic volumes.

Similar issues existed at the other end of Stout Street where residents were not so mobilised.

Cr Sandra Faulkner said that if the left-hand turn intersections were not required, could the $175,000 be used to trial chicanes?

A number of councillors immediately voiced their opposition.

Mr Wilson said staff wanted to retain the intersection layouts with priority because funding was being sought from the NLTF.

Cr Faulkner said the council had to act on the issue because “yesterday I got passed (on Stout St) by a tradie older than me”.

CONCERNED CITIZEN: Brett Lysaght has told Gisborne district councillors that speediing drivers use Stout Street as a 'rat run' to avoid the Ormond Road roundabout and the Ballance Street Village, and do not concentrate on the seven intersections along Stout Street that are used by many school children. He and other Stout Street residents want safety measures such as chicanes introduced with urgency. Picture by Paul Rickard