15 Dec, 2013

Trial of lower speed limit starts in the city’s south east

The six month trial of a 40 kilometres per hour speed limit in the south east of the city has started today.

The trial will cover Hutt Street between South Terrace and Flinders Street and the residential area bordered by Hutt Street, Wakefield Street, South Terrace and East Terrace. Initial engagement with business owners, residents and street users in the area has shown support for the trial.

Experts have found that in other streets where this change has taken place, lower speeds have made these places more people-friendly, increased activity, vitality and a sense of community, inviting people to stay and enjoy their surroundings.

It also makes it safer for pedestrians and cyclists, which evidence has shown are more likely to linger and spend time in local businesses. Lower speed limits are already in place in every other mainland city, including Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne and Sydney.

“Research in other cities has shown that lowering speed limits increases commercial and leisure activity which strengthens the local economy. Making places better for walking has been shown to increase trading by up to 40 per cent,” Lord Mayor Stephen Yarwood said.

“Drivers who are travelling at a lower speed are also more likely to stop when they spot a great business they’d like to visit as it’s easier to pull into a parking space," Stephen said.

Slowing down traffic on residential streets encourages families and kids to walk and get outside and on their bikes, setting them up for a healthy, active lifestyle as an obesity crisis looms.

Wendy Keech, SA Cardiovascular Health Director, said that that the Foundation supports 40km/h limits on all busy roads with high pedestrian and cyclist activity.

“We commend the City of Adelaide on reducing the speed on Hutt Street and the south east precinct of the city, and their commitment to improving walkability in this area,” Wendy said.

“Slower speeds will make the streets safer for all users. Safer streets remove a barrier to walking and cycling and encourage active living. More people walking and cycling in the area will be good for business.”

The current average speed along Hutt Street between 7am – 7pm is 42.8km/h and between 7pm and 7am is 44.9km/h. The impacts to travel time by lowering the speed limit to 40km/h are expected to be minimal, around 17 to 20 seconds.

After Pulteney Street, Hutt Street has the highest number of pedestrian and cyclist crashes and anecdotal evidence also shows Hutt Street to have a high level of rear-end accidents. Lowering speed limits from 50km/h to 40km/h has been shown to reduce the risk of fatality from over 70 per cent to around 25 to 30 per cent.

A three month education period will apply from the start of the trial before SAPOL will consider enforcing the new speed limit to allow motorists to adjust to the new limit.

“Lowering the speed limit is part of a range of initiatives to make the city’s south-east more people friendly and to create a village atmosphere. Other councils are also considering introducing lower speed limits as the benefits have been proven in other cities,” Stephen said.

Council will monitor the trial, with residents and business owners encouraged to give feedback. A public consultation will open three months into the trial.

For more information, please visit smartmoveadelaide.com.au.