— Dublin City Council says it received 550 submissions
— 96 submissions misunderstood proposal as a ‘blanket 30km/h zone’
Dublin City Council were told by the Department of Transport to “ensure that due regard” was given to suggestions by the AA, including using 60km/h on city centre streets and 80km/h on urban residential streets and roads.
The submission by AA Ireland, a motoring lobby group and insurance company, was one of 550 received as part of the public consultation on the council’s proposed speed limit changes. The main proposals centre on expanding 30km/h speed limits across the city centre and onto residential streets, but exclude most main roads.
Roy O’Connor, a senior executive engineer at Dublin City Council defended lower speed limits. He said: “The overriding principle that must inform any decision to change a default speed limit should be road safety, in particular, the reduction of fatal and serious road collisions.”
The city council said that there was around 96 submissions which contained the misunderstanding that its proposals for 30km/h included main traffic corridors or arterial routes, when this is not the case.
In a council report on the public consultation, O’Connor said: “As part of the proposed Special Speed Limit Bye-Laws 2016, it is proposed to expand the 30km/h special speed limits on predominantly residential streets (or in the proximity of schools). Residential streets are identified as roads and streets whose function is intended to provide local vehicular access and egress between places of residence and the arterial or link roads nearby.”
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“This proposal is not to introduce a blanket 30km/h speed limit. It is proposed to retain the existing 50km/h default speed limit on all arterial and link routes across the city.”
The council said for those traveling into and out of residential roads and streets that the maximum delay is calculated to be 1 minute and an average of just 30 seconds.
The AA’s suggestions — which are out of line with the Department of Transport’s own guidelines — were rejected by the council. The Department of Transport said: “this Department is now requesting that arrangements are made in your Local Authority to ensure that due regard is given to roads, or sections of road, on this list.”
The rejected suggestions from the AA outlined in the report includes increasing the speed limit on:
- Fairview Strand from 50km/h to 80km/h
- The “North & South Quays” from 30km/h and 50km/h to 60km/h
- Dawson Street from 30km/h to 60km/h
- Mourne Road in Drimnagh from 50km/h
- Ballymun Road from 50km/h to 80km/h
- Cork Street from 50km/h to 60km/h
- Conyngham Road from 50km/h to 80km/h
- Auburn Avenue in Castleknock from 50km/h to 70km/h
It’s unclear why Auburn Avenue was suggested or reviewed as it is part of the Fingal County Council area, and there is also no 70km/h speed limit. The AA also suggested lowering the limit on Claremont Lawns in Glasnevin to 30km/h.
Comments included in the AA submission included: “Ridiculous for a city centre commuter route – adding to congestion – cyclists passing out cars – senseless, bring in law for cyclists to wear high viz jackets and helmets – unnatural to do 17mph in a modern car. Infuriating and a money making scheme.”
In its report, the council outlined detailed reasoning against the AA’s suggestions, including — the presence of pedestrians and cyclists, the number of junctions, the residential and/or retail nature of the streets and roads, existing traffic calming requested by local residents, and at least in one case the presence of schools.
Dublin City Council said it will be retaining the 50km/h limit at City Quay in Dublin 2, not reduce it to 30km/h as previously proposed, and; it will lower the limit to 30km/h on the Inchicore Road in Dublin 8 from the junction with the South Circular Road to the junction with Memorial Road.
The proposed implementation dates for Phase 1 (within the canals) & Phase 2 (a selection of suburbs) have been pushed back to March 31 and May 31, 2017, respectively. Phase 3, which will look at other areas of the city, will follow.
A summary of other submissions includes:
- 100 submissions which were fully supportive or generally supportive
- 100 which said that “reducing speed limits on its own is not sufficient.”
- 83 submissions expressed concern that the “current speed limits are largely ignored and enforcement of existing speed limits is requirement to deliver safer roads.”
- 60 submissions claiming “that lower speeds will increase pollution and congestion on the city streets with negative environmental and economic consequences.”
- 47 submissions which expressed “a primary concern that it would be difficult to travel at 30km/h for an extended period of time.”
- 34 submissions which expressed the “view that this proposal is an initiative to target the motorists specifically (predominantly suggested that the proposal is a new revenue stream from speeding fines).”
The city council said that 30km/h limits were shown in Ireland or internationally to reduce collisions and injuries, lower speeds, and lowers noise and air pollution.
In reply to environmental concerns, O’Connor said: “Generally speaking the slower a vehicle travels the less fuel it consumes in accelerating and maintaining speed. With less fuel consumption comes less emissions. Research in Germany has shown that the greater the speed of vehicles in built-up areas, the higher is the incidence of acceleration, deceleration, and braking, all of which increase air pollution.”
The council said further engineering interventions, educational awareness campaigns in association with other state agencies and continued enforcement of the traffic law would be needed to enforce the proposed limits.