Axel was invited to speak to the Richmond Residents and Business Association. The topics requested were speed limits and parking. The talk was given on Tuesday, 23 July.
Axel presented on the safety improvements that come from lower operating speeds on our roads. Of most relevance to Christchurch is the 30 km/h speed limit area in the central city. Much of what was presented is based on the work undertaken by Axel’s colleague, Dr Glen Koorey. Relevant papers given and projects worked on by Glen cited during the talk include Changing rural speed limits, Mt Maunganui speed and safety review, Mechanics and politics of changing a speed limit, Developing and implementing local speed management plans, and the Christchurch central city 30 km/h speed limit. The conclusion drawn from this part of the talk is that reducing speed limits is by far the most effective way available to improve road safety.
Axel then explained his proposal to introduce paid parking on streets where parking is currently free and where commuters take up all or most of the available spaces. This would apply not just in the central city (outside the area where parking is already charged for), but also around the larger malls, the university, and areas like Sydenham, Addington, or Middleton. The rationale for doing so is two-fold:
- to generate revenue which can then be used (by the regional council) to provide significant improvements to public (better coverage, higher frequency), and
- to dampen the demand for commuting by car, as an effective way to reduce our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
If we assume that each sector contributing to GHG emissions in each geographic area reduces its own impact, how much would we have to reduce driving? Based on the target suggested by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), we would have to reduce our distance driven by 4.7% per year for the next 11 years.
The presentation is available on this website.