Life in the slow lane

• Road safety minister Michelle Roberts, Perth MP John Carey, Vincent mayor Emma Cole and her kids on Mary Street in Mount Lawley.

ALL residential streets in the southern half of Vincent will have a 40kmh speed limit as part of a two-year trial starting April 29.

It’ll affect most local roads south of Vincent Street. Larger roads like Beaufort, Fitzgerald and Charles Streets will stay at their current speed limit (mostly 60kmh), as will most of Vincent Street, except for the small section near Hyde Park’s water playground.

A total of 392 people commented on the proposal last year, with 57 per cent in favour of the 40kmh trial and another 16 per cent calling for a 30kmh limit.

WA road safety minister Michelle Roberts is supportive of the trial and thinks it will be adopted by other councils.

Children

“This is all about making neighbourhood streets safer for all road users including cyclists, pedestrians, the elderly and children,” she says.

“It’s also about making our inner city streets better places to live.

“We know that dropping 10kmh off a speed limit makes a big difference to the stopping distance of a vehicle.

“It can be the difference between life and death for a cyclist or pedestrian, or between hospitalisation or walking away.”

Vincent mayor Emma Cole says “residents regularly tell me that they are concerned about the speed of traffic and their desire to bring back a neighbourhood feel to the streets where they live. More and more, I hear that 50 is just too fast for our residential roads”.

She says “we hope this trial demonstrates safer, more welcoming streets, where people are more likely to ride and walk, and kids feel safe playing outdoors”.

Ms Cole says research has shown that lower speed limits also reduce greenhouse gases and only have a minor impact on travel times, and “we’d like to put that research to the test and see if lowered speeds can have a similar impact in Vincent”.

They have a suite of state government agencies on board to oversee the trial, including the police, Road Safety Commission and Main Roads.

Push already on to go lower

SPEED limits should be dropped to 30kmh to save more lives, according to advocacy group Streets for People.

The group recently formed to push for more “people-focused” streets that make walking and bike riding easier and better connect and communities.

SFP board member Tim Judd says “current research shows that 30kmh speed limits on local roads can improve the safety and pedestrian amenity on local suburban roads”.

He points to figures showing a “marked reduction in surviving a crash as traffic speeds increase to 40kmh and 50kmh limits.”

Mr Judd says a 30kmh limit “means we can return roads back to streets to be enjoyed by the people who play and live there”.

He acknowledges that one of the complaints people have about lower speeds is a concern it’ll impact travel times, but he says “research demonstrates that having a network of local suburban neighbourhood streets at 30kmh has minimal effect on journey times but a significant improvement in road safety and pedestrian amenity”.

SFP chair Shannon Savage adds: “Slower speeds on residential streets make the streets safer for all road users, including people in cars. It does not significantly impact on overall journey time; most residences are within 500m of a larger road that would have a speed limit of 50 or 60kmh.”

by DAVID BELL

One response to “Life in the slow lane

  1. It is not ALL roads in City of Vincent only in the southern part of the City. Indeed the rest of us in the northern part of the City continue to live with speeding and rat runs on our residential streets. It would be nice to see the council take on a city wide solution to these problems to make all of our Vincent streets more pleasant to live in

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