Fair Go: Rural Bay of Plenty school desperate for speed to be lowered outside front gate

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Te Ranga School has been battling for 17 long years for the speed of Te Matai Rd to be lowered from 100km/h. Source: Fair Go

A Western Bay of Plenty school that's been waiting 17 years for the speed limit outside its gate to drop has been told it will have to wait at least another 12 months.

Te Ranga School, on the outskirts of Te Puke, first asked for the 100km/h speed limit to be lowered in 2002.

Now, Principal Brendan Wilson says they've waited long enough.

"Outside our school, we've got something we can't control, a mere two or three meters from the footpath is a road hurtling past at 100km/h… common sense says there’s students, there’s children walking in and out of school, there’s cars coming and going … 100km/h does not seem sensible."

When Mr Wilson became principal in 2014, one of the first things he did was ask the council to lower the speed limit. He asked again in 2016, and again this year.

After doing some research he realised the same request had already been made – in 2012 and 2007. Western Bay of Plenty district council records show that requests for the speed limit to be lowered around Te Ranga were first made way back in 2002.

"They seem hamstrung by local and central government processes and it would seem tragic that there could be a death and injury simply because of these processes."

Gary Allis from the Western Bay of Plenty District Council says speed limit changes are considered every three to five years.

Te Ranga has missed out because of a speed limit review by the transport agency in 2015. This year, local elections and a state highway review means they’ll miss out again.

"We can understand the frustration and it's not just from Te Ranga, there are a number of other schools and communities that need lower speed limits. In terms of priority, Te Ranga is ten on the list on the criteria, if it was top of the list we would have been doing work there now."

The council has ranked schools in respect of their need for less speed. The good news is there’s a good case for a lower limit for Te Ranga.

“The speed guide recommends 80 kilometres per hour”, says Mr Allis.

The council estimate the next speed review will be completed by this time next year.