Auckland councillor hits out at CBD's 30km/h speed limit proposal

Auckland may be set to join Christchurch, Wellington and Hamilton by reducing the speed limit in the central city to 30km/h.

Doing so will no doubt save lives, but will it also grind our biggest city to a halt in the process?

The new speed limit would cover 10 percent of Auckland's roads, including Queen St, Broadway in Newmarket and Tamaki Dr in Mission Bay. 

After a sharp rise in road deaths and serious injuries, Auckland Transport's plan is aimed at making the streets safer for pedestrians, cyclists and residents.

But Orakei councillor Desley Simpson is not convinced.

"The roads are for vehicles, we have pedestrian crossings and they're called pedestrian crossings because they're where pedestrians should be," she said.

"We should look at a by-law that prohibits jay-walking."

Auckland mayor Phil Goff agrees that there's a need to address road safety - but he won't back dropping the speed limit.

Transport planner Bevan Woodward says it's going to work and it's been proven in other cities already.

"By slowing traffic down, it means it's safer to walk and cycle. The more people who walk and cycle, the less cars on the road," he said.

"The driving behaviour at the moment is travelling quickly between intersections and long waits at intersections."

Mr Woordward says the idea is not to completely rid the roads of cars, but instead give people choice.

"More people would have choice; children could walk to school, people could ride e-bikes and more motorists will be happy."

In order to enforce the speed limits it would mean automated speed cameras, changing streets, adding plants and furniture to create a more liveable place.

The difference in speed limits speaks for itself.

"At 50km/h there is an 80 to 90 percent chance you will die, but at 30km/h you would survive."

According to Mr Woodward, 400 people are dying on our roads a year.

Auckland Transport's plan will go out for public consultation in November.