North Sydney setting the pace at 40 kmh for CBD

Sydney Morning Herald

Monday 25 February 2002

Aban Contractor

North Sydney wants to be the first council in Australia to impose a 40 kmh speed limit in its CBD.

The mayor, Genia McCaffery, said yesterday that the council’s road traffic committee had already approved the proposal, and “we’re now in discussions with the RTA. It’s not going to happen tomorrow, but perhaps within the year”.

North Sydney, the fourth-largest CBD in Australia, has a 60 kmh speed limit in most areas, and Cr McCaffery said it would be neither difficult nor costly to implement the new speed limit; it would also save lives.

“We’ve got a real problem with people walking against the lights. Pedestrians tend to feel they own the road, and the cars are travelling at speed, so if there is an accident you can have a serious injury.”

The chairman of the Pedestrian Council of Australia, Harold Scruby, has called on the Lord Mayor of Sydney, Frank Sartor, to follow North Sydney’s lead. The RTA and the Transport Minister, Carl Scully, had said they would pay for the changeover, he said.
“The RTA found that traffic wouldn’t get around any slower between Park Street and the Quay if the speed limit was reduced to 40 kmh.”

Cr Sartor is overseas, but a spokesman said all Sydney CBD streets were 50 kmh and there were 40 kmh zones in The Rocks.

“Currently, there are no plans to change that,” he said.

A letter to Mr Scruby, written on behalf of Mr Scully, said the NSW Government shared his concern about the need to reduce speeds in areas of high pedestrian activity.

Mr Scruby said he and others had spent years trying to persuade the Lord Mayor to cut the speed limit. “But our pleas have fallen on deaf ears.”

This is in spite of the council acknowledging the need to slow down in some areas. It has given out drinks coasters with the advice that “around cafes, shops, schools and areas where there are lots of pedestrians, 60 kmh is far too fast”.

City of Sydney/RTA - Road Safety Coasters

City of Sydney/RTA - Road Safety Coasters

Reply from the Hon Carl Scully MP supporting 40 km/h zone in Sydney CBD

Reply from Mr Paul Forward, CEO of the RTA, supporting 40 kmh in the Sydney CBD