PCA Calls on Lord Mayor Lucy Turnbull to Emulate North Sydney Council and Declare Sydney’s CBD a 40 kmh Zone

Monday 5 May 2003
The Chairman of the PCA, Mr Harold Scruby, today called on the Lord Mayor of Sydney, Councillor Lucy Turnbull, to declare Sydney’s CBD a 40 kmh zone.

In congratulating Councillor Turnbull for her decision to extend the tram-line from Central to the Quay, Mr Scruby said: “It is now time to make the CBD a safe and pleasant environment in which to shop and work. The PCA has been lobbying the City of Sydney for over 5 years now to reduce the speed-limit to 40 kmh, without success. However, we were successful in convincing North Sydney Council of the huge benefits of a 40 kmh CBD zone and this will come into effect next week. Now that North Sydney (which is the fourth largest CBD in Australia) has set the precedent and because of the new tram system and the cross-city tunnel, it is imperative that the CoS embraces this initiative.

Mr Scruby said: “There are many reasons and benefits in changing to a 40 kmh zone, they include:

  • There are still far too many deaths and serious injuries in the Sydney CBD and Police have recently expressed their serious concerns about the CBD Road Toll.

  • The new ads being placed in the press by the RTA state that pedestrians are twice as likely to be killed when hit by a vehicle at 50 kmh than by a vehicle travelling at 40 kmh.

  • The Sydney CBD is already surrounded by both Darling Harbour and The Rocks which are both 40 kmh zones.

  • While there are those who argue that most of the traffic already travels at less than 20 kmh, this is not the problem. It is when motorists speed up, often to beat the lights (at night, in the wet) that the serious injuries and deaths occur.

  • The 40 kmh zone can be enforced through the latest speed/red-light camera technology (on trial in Victoria). The camera captures vehicles both speeding through and running red lights (issuing 2 tickets) plus motorists who accelerate to run the amber lights. It is at intersections where such serious crashes occur (also to vehicles through the deadly side-impact collisions)

  • Other Councils such as Leichhardt have just moved to a 40 kmh zone across the Balmain Peninsula

  • RTA trials have proven that vehicles will not travel from Park Street to The Quay any slower if the speed limit is reduced to 40 kmh

  • Both Minister Scully and the RTA support the PCA’s proposal and have pledged to pay the costs of changing to the lower speed limit (see attached correspondence)

  • The air quality and amenity will significantly improve and make Sydney’s CBD a far safer and more pleasant place in which to work and shop.”

“We call on Councillor Turnbull to act swiftly and decisively and prove she really cares about the safety and amenity of the pedestrians of Sydney.” Mr Scruby added.

Further information:

Harold Scruby - Chairman/CEO – Pedestrian Council of Australia -
Tel: (02) 9968-4555 (0418) 110-011

Mosman Daily – Thursday 28 February 2002

Move to 40k speed limit


NORTH Sydney Council is at the forefront of a campaign to cut traffic speed in Australia’s central business districts in an attempt to curb pedestrian accidents.

The council’s traffic committee —which includes representatives of North Sydney police and the RTA, North Shore MP Jillian Skinner and councillors — voted unanimously this month to support the scheme.

Now Mayor Genia McCaffery has to fine-tune plans with the RTA to lower the speed limit from 50km/h to 40km/h.

She said the proposed new speed would affect only the area from Blue St to McLaren St in the CBD.

Cr McCaffery told The Mosman Daily the idea was mooted when she walked across the Harbour Bridge on Walk to Work Day with a number of people from the RTA and Pedestrian Council of NSW chairman Harold Scruby, a former Mosman councillor.

“The RTA seemed very keen on starting 40km/h zones in areas of high pedestrian activity,” Cr McCaffery said.

“I said I was very interested and the matter went to our traffic committee.”

The mayor said research proved if speed was reduced from 60km/h to 50km/h pedestrian accidents fell from fatalities to serious injuries.

Dropping the speed from 5Okm/h to 40km/h reduced injuries from serious to less serious, she said.

“We have a major problem in the CBD with people jaywalking against the lights,” Cr McCaffery said. “We are also campaigning for pedestrians to be more sensible.

“And we are trying to get car drivers to start thinking about the environment they are driving in. It’s quite different driving in the CBD from, say, the Pacific Highway where 60km/h is probably fine.”

A council spokeswoman said statistics showed that 24 per cent of all accidents in northern Sydney since 1988 had involved pedestrians, compared to just 15 per cent for the whole of Sydney.

As reported last May, North Sydney, Willoughby and City of Sydney councils joined forces in an attempt to cut pedestrian accidents.

Their message was to slow down at lunchtime and cross the road carefully, no matter how little time people had.

In 1999, there were 413 pedestrian accidents in the three council areas and about 40 per cent of those involved people aged 21-39.

The three councils said at the time they agreed with statistics which showed most accidents happened because drivers and pedestrians were preoccupied and in a hurry to get somewhere, particularly at lunchtime.

Cr McCaffery said if the scheme went ahead, enforcement would be left to the police.

“There are always bad drivers and we know there are bad drivers,” she said. “Every time you bring down the speed limit you bring down the speed because most drivers are law-abiding.”

Click here for further information:
Councils set 40 kmh limits to curb killer cars - SMH - 09.11.02
Move to 40 k speed limit - Mosman Daily - 28.02.02
North Sydney Council setting the pace at 40 kmh for CBD - SMH - 25.02.02
Walk in Fright - SMH - 08.05.00
40 km/h for CBD - Daily Telegraph - 01.12.98