THE Inglewood span of Beaufort Street could soon be dropped to a 40kmh zone.
Stirling council’s proposal to lower the limit would affect the strip between Central Avenue and Crawford Road and would apply from 7.30am to 10pm Sunday to Thursday, and til 1am on Fridays and Saturdays.
The council says it’s been getting a lot of requests over the years to lower Beaufort’s speed and the new limit will “likely increase safety and vibrancy, and will foster greater community and commercial activity in the area”.
Consultation is open until December 20 via yoursay.stirling.wa.gov.au or 9205 8555.
Stirling says the reduced limit is backed up by traffic data showing drivers are already slowing down on the busy road.
Main Roads prefers posted speed limits to be based on how fast cars actually travel on the road, rather than dictating how fast people go.
Transport boffins have found it’s safest to have everyone travelling around the same speed: If some go fast and some go slow that causes the most accidents, so the ideal speed limit reflects what most people naturally drive at anyway.
Posting a very low speed limit on a wide, straight road where people tend to drive fast can undermine road safety, according to US-based transport behaviour expert Fred Mannering.
Drivers start thinking it’s safe to go 30km over the limit and start disobeying other posted signs too.
Community group Inglewood on Beaufort put a petition to Stirling council in 2017 requesting the lower speed.
IoB chair Damien Giudici said 40kmh had been a benefit to the Mount Lawley and Highgate sections and it made sense to extend it to Inglewood.
He says with an Aldi planned for the already troublesome 10th Ave intersection (a driver took out the traffic lights there about eight weeks back), the added safety will be a welcome relief.
Mr Giudici expects some opposition from “parties who utilise Beaufort Street as a thoroughfare and don’t stop and enjoy the great cafes, restaurants, hairdressers and other great services” but says the reality will be less than a minute of extra driving.
While the change for drivers from 60km to 40km is small, for someone hit by a car “there’s an appreciable change in the health of that party who gets hit”.
by DAVID BELL