Mataura resident Tali McLean loves living in the town but is very distressed at the speed traffic travels past her house and wants the speed limit changed.
After moving down from Wainuiomata seven months ago, Mrs McLean bought a property on State Highway 1 in the area of the town where there are houses but the speed limit is 100kmh.
There are 23 houses in the 900m of highway before the speed limit becomes 70kmh at the northern entrance to the town.
Mrs McLean said the 1.87ha property appealed to her.
“It was close to all the main centres, even though I knew it was on the main highway.
“I didn’t want something in the sticks and I was glad that I found something that was on the town edge and still maintain peace and quiet.”
However, she had become increasingly concerned about the speed drivers travelled past her home and was even concerned for her own safety while in her front garden.
People reassured her she was well off the road and a car would not travel that far in a crash.
“Have you ever seen an accident where a car has gone through a house and it’s way off the road?
“The speed that these guys are doing really scares me – I try not to go out the front.”
School buses stopped to pick up and drop off children.
“That really annoys seeing the school buses park across the road and allowing the kids to walk across a main highway.
“That is shocking.”
Nearby Selbourne St, which truck drivers used to access the meat processing works, added to the danger as trucks turned in or pulled back on to the main road.
“Cars are actually speeding up to see if they can touch the end of the [trucks].
“I’ve stood out there on that front lawn and witnessed it with a neighbour.”
There also seemed to be a high number of people using their cellphones while driving past.
“I cannot get over it.
“Why is it so necessary to be on a cellphone in a 100kmh area – you obviously are not paying attention.
“That’s atrocious. Honestly.”
Earlier this week a police car was parked outside her property.
“All these cars were slowing down and I’m like, why can’t you do that every day?”
At the Mataura Community Board meeting on Monday, Mrs McLean asked why the speed limit was 100kmh.
“One councillor said it’s because a lot of people complained because it was too long coming all the way through the town.”
She would like to see the 100kmh area pushed back north past Cardigan Bay Rd where the houses began.
“Get it down to 70kmh.”
“I’m taking this interest because I plan to make this my home for the rest of my life.”
Other towns such as Oamaru or Balclutha kept traffic to 50kmh in the residential area, she said.
“What’s the difference?”
Constable Gus Robinson of Mataura said it was important the public let police know of any concerns they had regarding road use.
“Obviously we can’t be everywhere and see everything, so we do rely on members of the public to advise us of their concerns and then we can focus our time and energy on that,” he said.
Now he had been alerted to Mrs McLean’s concerns, he would pass them on to his colleagues who patrolled the area.
“There will be an increased police presence in that area in relation to ensuring that motorists abide by the speed limit and other requirements of the road code such as not driving and talking on their cellphones.”
Mataura Community Board chairman Alan Taylor said he was aware people were not happy with the designated speed for this piece of road.
“There has been a lot of concern about the speed through that intersection of State Highway1 into Selbourne St and a number of residents have been calling for a lesser speed zone or more of a speed restriction through that intersection.”
State highways are under the jurisdiction of the NZ Transport Agency but agency senior network manager Peter Robinson did not respond in time to The Ensign‘s questions.
Gore District Council roading manager Peter Standring said it was not that easy to shift road signs.
“There is a whole procedure around this.”
At present NZTA was in the process of completing nationwide research.
‘There is a whole traffic speed review happening . . .it’s quite a convoluted process.”