The City of Maribyrnong is the latest Melbourne local council to embrace liveable speed streets to enhance bike riding and reduce risk for riders.
Maribyrnong councillors on 17 October unanimously backed a proposal to reduce speeds on local streets across the municipality to 40 km/h in a staged approach across seven areas.
The proposal argued “Concerns have frequently been raised by the community that they feel unsafe to walk and cycle in their local roads due to high vehicular speeds. Lower speed limits will reduce the risk of injury or fatality and ensure a safer road environment to encourage more people to walk and ride.”
In May this year we reported that VicRoads and the TAC had taken the initiative in Footscray responding to a high crash rate involving pedestrians. In a five year period there have been 305 casualty crashes with 84 serious injuries.
The TAC committed $2.54M to the project to introduce 30km/h in the central area, 40km/h in the next ring out, and 50km/h in surrounding arterials.
Now the City of Maribyrnong has come on board on the basis that “The benefits for the proposed introduction of 40km/h speed limit within Council’s municipal boundaries, in terms of road safety and reduction in crashes are well established and aligned with community’s views and expectations.”
Research from across the world shows that lower speeds not only leads to fewer crashes and less serious consequences, but that the entire community will benefit.
Lower speeds encourage more people, particularly kids and the elderly, to walk or ride their bike. The flow on effect is that local suburbs become healthier, happier and more connected as people become more physically and socially active.
Which is why Bicycle Network has an on-going campaign to promote liveable speed called Low speed locals.
For businesses, trade picks up because shoppers are much more prepared to linger in precincts that are quieter and calmer.
For drivers there is next to no difference because the streets are already congested with regular traffic lights that restrict throughput.
The Maribyrnong and Hobsons Bay Star Weekly reported that the project "will cost more than $540,000 for new signage and line marking and up to $18 million to roll out the likes of speed bumps and widened pedestrian islands."
The report continues: "Under the proposal, a reduction of 60km/h speed limits to 50km/h will be sought for stretches of VicRoads-controlled arterial roads including Ballarat Road, Gordon Street, Churchill Avenue, Williamstown Road and Whitehall Road."
Read the full Star Weekly article here.
The City of Maribyrnong has further called on the Minister for Roads and Road Safety, Luke Donnellan, to change the default speed limit on urban roads to 40 km/h.
With the City of Melbourne, City of Yarra, City of Port Phillip, City of Maribyrnong embracing liveable speed, and other councils ready to do the same, it’s time to established these as the norm.
Bicycle Network encourages members also to write to Minister Donnellan calling for the default speed limit on urban roads to 40 km/h.