City of Glen Eira is proposing to reduce the speed limit on more roads.
They’ve already dropped it from 60 to 50 on several main roads, including Brewer, Tucker, Mackie, Koornang, Inkerman, Kangaroo, Alma and Gardenvale Roads.
Now they’re proposing to add Orrong, Kooyong, Bambra, Kambrook, Booran, Neerim and Poath Roads.
The key point is their transport strategy includes an aim of half of all trips by non-car modes by 2031, and they note: One of the ways this will be achieved is to increase the use of non-car alternatives where appropriate (walking, cycling, public transport and working from home) by making these options as safe, convenient and attractive as possible.
Basically it looks like all the council-managed roads will have a speed limit of 50 or below. They don’t have control of Vicroads-managed roads, which comprise the remaining arterial roads in the area.
Of course to drivers, 50 feels slower than 60, especially at first. But it doesn’t make a huge amount of difference to travel time. The change to Kooyong Road covers 4.2 kilometres. At 60 (assuming no stops at traffic lights) this takes 4.2 minutes. At 50 it takes 5.04 minutes, or an extra 50 seconds.
Maybe it’s just me, but many of the arguments against moderate speed reductions end up sounding like this classic Simpsons line:
One issue I see here is that most roads in the area will be the same speeds. Unless they’re adjacent to schools or shopping centres, side streets (officially “access” roads) will be the same speeds as main roads (“link” and “collector” roads). It might make more sense to cut speeds on the access roads to say 40, to emphasise that they’re different types of roads, and need different styles of driving.
In fact, if most roads in an area are a 50 limit, it may encourage people (and/or their GPS devices) to rat run rather than prefer roads that previous had higher speeds.
On the other hand, it may also shift much of the traffic to the roads that remain at higher speeds: Nepean Highway, Dandenong Road/Princes Highway, and other main roads: North, South, Jasper/Grange and Hawthorn Roads. This is arguably good, though it might contribute to delays to buses and trams in some cases.
Street design also comes into play. At present, many of these roads arguably are designed for 60. That can change of course. Bike lanes have been installed on some roads. Brewer Road just recently got speed humps and a new zebra crossing, and over time, other traffic calming measures can go in.
Other councils have done similar things.
City of Maribyrnong has already gone down the path of widespread speed reductions, apparently on 93% of council-controlled roads. Many roads have dropped to 40. They say safety outcomes have been very positive:
Traffic studies in Yarraville and Seddon in 2019 confirm the success of the speed reduction in keeping road users (pedestrians, cyclists and drivers) safe, with a 60% decrease in reported casualty crashes in these areas since the lower speed limits were introduced.City of Maribyrnong: Creating safer local roads across the municipality
I think it’s great that Glen Eira is also now helping to improve safety, and to help curb car dominance on our roads.
Over time, slower speeds and a less car-dominated environment will help encourage more walking and cycling – including to access public transport – particularly if other upgrades such as dedicated and/or separated bike lanes, wider footpaths, more crossing points and better programming for traffic lights are implemented.
Love the speed change or hate it, you can provide feedback to the council by 18th October.