A MELBOURNE council has approved a year-long trial of a 30km/h speed limit to deter motorists from using back roads as a short cut.
Yarra City Council – the same one that recently controversially abolished Australia Day celebrations and as a consequence was stripped of its rights to hold citizenship ceremonies – voted last night to endorse the trial subject to the state’s roads authority, VicRoads, jumping on board with funding. The trial will be run in conjunction with Monash University, which will study how well the lower speed limit works.
Yarra City spokeswoman Brooke Colbert told Wheels the trial had been three years in the making, and was sparked by demands from inner-city residents calling for some form of traffic management after drivers started using side streets as a rat run to avoid traffic snarls.
“We’ll run a trial for 12 months, and we’ll make a decision after that whether it stays,” Colbert said. “It will just be a localised trial, so it won’t include any arterial roads.”
The move would slow traffic on back roads around Collingwood and Fitzroy to 30km/h – the lowest speed limits in Australia. It’s also 10km/h slower than the speed deemed safe for school zones and other inner-city areas where cars and pedestrians mingle.
Maribyrnong City Council in Melbourne’s west has also proposed introducing a 30km/h speed limit around Footscray’s CBD – a much broader area than the Yarra City plan – as well as school zones that already have a 40km/h limit.
The Federal Government’s Australian Road Deaths Database shows 100 people have died in 40km/h speed zones throughout Australia since 2011. Only 37 of those have involved a pedestrian, and 12 have involved either a truck or a bus.
Colbert said not all the city’s residents supported the trial, although councillors passed plans to commit $25,000 to the cost of the trial unanimously.
She said the trial would not be part of a wider push to introduce more 30km/h speed zones to other streets, particularly arterial roads.
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