40km/h speed limit for Perth CBD

From The West:

The speed limit in the Perth central business district is to be cut to 40km/h to protect pedestrians.

A Main Roads spokeswoman said yesterday the department had recently made an “in principle” agreement with the City of Perth to reduce the speed limit from 50km/h to 40km/h on most CBD roads.

Shopping strips and roads with high pedestrian use across the metropolitan area were also being identified.

Main Roads will soon receive the results of the first year of 40km/h speed limits in Beaufort Street in Mt Lawley and Fitzgerald Street in North Perth and would then decide whether to implement wider speed reductions.

The number of pedestrians killed by vehicles in WA rose sharply last year and accounted for one in seven road deaths, which prompted calls for a review of speed limits in built-up areas.

Of the 193 road fatalities last year, 26 were pedestrians, compared with 19 out of 209 deaths in 2008 and 21 out of 235 fatalities the previous year.

City of Perth chief executive Frank Edwards said the speed limit reduction was designed to increase pedestrian safety and would not affect the flow of traffic greatly.

“Travel times across the city are more directly impacted upon by traffic signals so the journey time impacts drivers would experience will not be significant,” he said.

A timeline for the implementation of the new speed limit had not yet been finalised.

Shadow police minister Margaret Quirk said she supported the speed reduction in the Perth CBD but believed it needed to be reviewed after one year to determine whether it had improved pedestrian safety. “The stats show pedestrian deaths are increasing so we need to look at whether we can save lives by reducing speed limits in busy areas,” she said.

RAC spokesman Matt Brown said speed limit reductions in areas which had high pedestrian activity were supported but wanted to see more detail on the CBD plan.

He said the RAC was not aware of major problems with pedestrian safety in the Perth CBD but believed it was worthwhile to have a trial of the lower speed limit.

“In areas which are very busy with pedestrians, like major shopping precincts where there are also lots of distractions for both pedestrians and drivers, then I think lower speed limits can be appropriate,” Mr Brown said.

“But we are opposed to wider speed limit reductions in areas which are not busy with pedestrians and which could affect the flow of traffic.”

About Roland

I returned to cycling around 5 years ago, when I decided to start commuting by bike to work. I'm now cycling around 13,500km's annually, and love it.