A busy Newcastle street will be the next site for a 30km speed limit trial.
Newcastle Council will receive $500,000 from the NSW Government to trial a 30km/h zone on Darby Street, as well as streetscape activations. The grant came from the latest round of the $20 million Streets as Shared Spaces program running across NSW.
Darby Street is a key corridor in the shopping district of Newcastle and, surprisingly, was earmarked at one point to be a four-lane road.
Many advocacy groups, including Bicycle Network, have campaigned for lower speed limits to better protect active travellers. Lena Huda, founder of the 30Please campaign group, has warmly welcomed the new trial.
“Slower speeds are so important to make our High Streets more pleasant for the people who are shopping and dining,” Lena said, “30km/h speed limits mean less noise, incredible reduction in the risk of injuries to pedestrians which, in turn, means we don’t need big bollards and fences that are ugly and expensive.”
Despite being announced only this week, the Darby Street trial is already raising some counter-opinions. Common backlash to slower road speed limits includes increased travel times, negligible changes in safety, and poor investment return.
However, transport researchers have debunked these claims, and instead argue that 30km/h speed limits not only protect the wider range of road users but also make communities more liveable.
“International evidence is overwhelming that low-speed neighbourhoods are better for children’s health and wellbeing and have little impact on travel times,” says Lena.
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