Trial cuts speeds by 1kmh

A 40KMH trial on local roads across southern Vincent only led to a one kilometre-per-hour drop in average speeds.

Despite the modest impact, the council still wants to roll out 40kmh across all its local roads. 

The council started the trial in 2019, and consultation with locals in September 2022 found 57 per cent of respondents supported the change and many said they felt safer walking and riding.

But the stats are pretty modest: The traffic study to council says “mean (average) vehicle speeds have reduced by about 1kmh” after the change from 50kmh to 40kmmh. 

An independent report recommended Vincent go ahead and just change all local roads (the residential streets that aren’t main arteries) to 30kmh, saying that was the safest option to reduce serious crashes and get more people walking and riding.

But councillors were reluctant to go that far and instead voted for 40kmh, and the city will now need to petition Main Roads to make the change official. 

Mayor Emma Cole acknowledged 30kmh is “probably the gold standard, but we are needing to be pragmatic,” and Main Roads weren’t likely to lower the limit that far until actual physical traffic-slowing measures were in place and average speeds had slowed more.

“I think community appetite sits at 40 for now… we’re looking at this being incremental, and that’s the way, I think, to achieve the support of Main Roads as well.”

Former councillor Dudley Maier attended the meeting and told the council the trial showed that 40kmh wasn’t enough and they ought go with the expert recommendation of 30.

“If the intention of the trial was to produce a noticeable reduction in traffic speed, it’s been an abject failure… speeds dropped by about one kilometre. It’s not very much.

Mr Maier said “overseas experience has shown that the trend is towards 30kmh on local roads. Joondalup implemented a trial to 30kmh and it showed that it had a minimal impact on journey times but offered significant improvements in road safety and pedestrian amenity, so why can’t we?”

For now the more modest reduction to 40kmh is planned to go Vincent-wide in 2023 or 2024, if Main Roads gives approval. 


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