The Sun-Herald Sunday 14 November 2004


CBD set to slow down to 40 kmh

By Sean Berry

A plan to turn central Sydney into a 40 kmh speed zone has been met with concern by taxi drivers and welcomed by pedestrian groups.


City of Sydney has called for submissions on its plans to introduce the zone in an area bounded by Circular Quay, Oxford Street, Railway Square and Sussex Street.


It seems likely that following the submission period, which ends on December 6, the new zone will be introduced.


"Lord Mayor Clover Moore strongly supports the proposal to improve safety and amenity for pedestrians in the city," a council spokesman said.


"Unless specific concerns are identified during the public consultation period, the City of Sydney will put the proposal to the Roads and Traffic Authority for endorsement."


NSW Taxi Drivers Association president Michael Jools said the lower limit was acceptable only if it were restricted to the busiest time of day.


"In the evening hours it would be unreasonable to restrict drivers to that speed in the wider boulevards of Sydney," Mr Jools said.


"I think there would be no objection to such restrictions in peak hours, but without time-qualitative rest periods it would be unfair on drivers."


The council spokesman said pedestrian and cyclist safety was paramount, foreshadowing the council's opposition to such a suggestion.


"Pedestrian safety is an issue outside peak hour," he said. "Peak vehicle periods are not the same as peak pedestrian periods such as Friday and Saturday nights in entertainment areas.


"A lower speed limit won't mean longer trips through the CBD for taxis as traffic lights and congestion have the biggest impact on travel."


The move was welcomed by Pedestrian Council of Australia chairman Harold Scruby.


"We've been campaigning for over seven years to try to get a 40 kmh zone," he said.


"We got a 40 kmh zone in North Sydney over a year ago and no one has complained and traffic moves just as well.


"Rough statistics show that if pedestrians get hit at 40 kmh then one in 10 dies, at 50 kmh five in 10 die, and at 60 kmh nine in 10 die."

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