Pedestrian Council of Australia
Safety – Amenity – Access – Health

The Walking Class Heroes


Monday 5 May 2014


Minister Scully and RTA Formally Approved a 40 km/h Zone 16 Years Ago

Roads Minister Gay Must Declare the Entire Sydney CBD a 40 km/h Zone Immediately

Background: A third pedestrian in 5 months was killed by a bus in the Sydney CBD today. The PCA has been campaigning for over 16 years to have the speed limit in the Sydney CBD reduced to 40 km/h. In 1998, the RTA formally supported our proposal. In 1999, the then Roads Minister, the Hon Carl Scully replied to our request for a 40 km/h zone in the Sydney CBD. Not only did he support the proposal, he offered to meet the cost of its implementation. Since then, nothing has changed, except the date. Meanwhile, most modern cities have become 40 km/h zones and many have become 30 km/h. Just some of the history and correspondence is here:


The Chairman of the PCA, Harold Scruby, today congratulated the NSW Government on its decision to make parts of the Sydney CBD a 40 km/h zone. He said: "This will be a huge benefit for pedestrians and cyclists. It will save lives and limbs. And it will make the CBD a far more attractive and safer place in which to shop, work or simply visit.

"People do not shop from cars. Studies from all over the world prove that when cities become pedestrian-friendly and "walkable”, commerce flourishes. The reason the most expensive retail rents in the CBD are in the Pitt Street Mall is because it is a very safe and inviting place to shop. In George Street, where buses and trucks are travelling, sometimes in excess of 60 km/h, with their mirrors only centimetres from pedestrians, commerce has stalled. "Yet CBDs like North Sydney, Chatswood, Parramatta and Liverpool have been 40 km/h zones for over a decade, as has the entire Balmain peninsula.

"Unlike Melbourne where the entire CBD is 40 km/h, only parts of the CBD are planned to be 40 km/h. The PCA will continue to campaign for 40 km/h in the entire CBD (and all areas of high pedestrian activity). The PCA will also be campaigning for 30 km/h zones where appropriate. Swanston Street in Melbourne is 30 km/h. The entire road from behind NSW Parliament House past the Art Gallery and down to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair is 30 km/h and has been for well over a decade, without one complaint. Many cities and town in Europe and New Zealand are now 30 km/h.

"When it proclaimed North Sydney a 40km/h zone in 2003, the RTA stated in its advertisements (QUOTE): "LOW SPEED. LESS RISK - WHY A LOWER SPEED LIMIT? Lower vehicle speeds result in fewer pedestrian injuries and deaths. If a vehicle travelling at 50 km/h hits a pedestrian, it is twice as likely to kill the pedestrian than if it was travelling at 40 km/h. Driving at lower speed improves a driver's ability to stop and avoid hitting a pedestrian, and if pedestrian crashes do occur, they are less severe, especially for children and elderly pedestrians."

"Where towns and cities are pedestrian-friendly, safe and walkable, they prosper: Where they are car-dependent and pedestrian-hostile, they fail, both socially and commercially.” Mr Scruby said.

Contact: Harold Scruby – (0418) 110-011

Reply from the Hon Carl Scully – NSW Minister for Roads - 25 February 1999

Reply from Paul Forward – CE – RTA – 15 September 1998