Wednesday 27 January 2010

New City Centre 30 kph special speed limit

New speed limits recently approved by Dublin City Council will come into operation on 31st January 2010. The main feature of the new speed limits is the expansion of the city centre 30 kph special speed limit zone.

A speed limit of 30 kph will apply to all roads within a city centre area extending from Bolton Street Street on the northside to Kevin Street Lower / St. Stephens Green on the southside and extending from Church Street / Bridge Street on the west to Gardiner Street/ Tara Street / Dawson Street on the east. The zone includes National Roads such as O Connell Street, Dame Street, and the North and South Quays between Church Street and Tara Street.

It is well recognised that dangerous and inappropriate speed is the primary contributing factor to road fatalities. Pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable if involved in a collision with a vehicle. A review of accident statistics for Dublin City area for the period 1998 – 2007 reveals that 47% of fatalities and 24% of injured persons were pedestrians. Research indicates that the percentage of pedestrians killed when in a collision with a vehicle travelling at 50 kph is 45 % but reduces to 5% when the vehicle speed is 30 kph.

The reduction in speed limit will not only help to make the area safer for all road users it will also help make it more attractive for pedestrians and cyclists. Last year the government published Smarter Travel - a Sustainable Transport Future: a New Transport Policy for Ireland 2009-2020 which set out its vision of how to reverse the current unsustainable travel and transport patterns in Ireland by 2020. One of the actions outlined in this policy states. Unless inappropriate, ensuring that 30 km/h zones are designated in central urban areas which will continue to accommodate motorised traffic. The extension of 30 kph speed limits is also included as an action in the current Dublin City Road Safety Plan 2009 to 2012.

It is not expected that the implementation of the special speed limit will have a detrimental impact on travel times for motorists in the city centre. The zone extends approximately 2km north to south and approximately 1.5km east to west. Motorists can circumnavigate the zone by using the Inner Orbital Route which is signposted along the perimeter of the zone or travel through the zone at the appropriate speed. The new speed limit will reduce speeding between junctions and facilitate smoother traffic flow. It will also promote modal shift to walking and cycling particularly for short journeys in the city centre which in turn will help reduce congestion.

The implementation of 30 kph will reduce the huge imbalance in the relative safety of motorists and non-motorists. It will particularly reduce the risks for vulnerable people - children, pedestrians, elderly and disabled people - who are at greatest disadvantage with current speeds. A 30kmph limit would allow fairer access to the road network, which currently penalises non-motorists and those who are less able and fit.

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