A plan to cap speed limits on local roads across the Inner West Council area has hit a roadblock with Transport for NSW citing "budget shortfalls".
The Inner West Council committed to dropping speed limits on local roads to 40km/h as part of their Integrated Transport Policy, adopted in March 2020. However, the project has stalled with Transport for NSW failing to lower any speed limit despite giving in-principle support to the project.
"Transport for NSW have tended to blame budget shortfalls for the delay, which doesn't really wash given adjusting speed limits is a relatively low-cost and simple measure for the NSW Government to roll out," said Independent councillor Pauline Lockie.
"The delay has led to a strange situation, where 40km/h speed limits were recently introduced on Enmore Road and King Street, but the local roads surrounding these main streets were left unchanged. It surely would have been more efficient for a 40km/h speed limit to be introduced on these residential streets at the same time."
Each year on NSW roads, around 50 pedestrians are killed and more than 1000 are hospitalised. According to Transport for NSW data, the Inner West Council area has the third highest number of pedestrian-related road incidents in the state - after the City of Sydney and Canterbury-Bankstown.
Between 2016 and 2020, six pedestrians were killed on Inner West roads and over the same period 114 pedestrians suffered serious injuries and 167 received minor or moderate injuries.
Research shows small decreases in speed can make a big difference in the survivability of crashes between cars and pedestrians. If a car hits a pedestrian while travelling at 50km/h, the pedestrian only has a 10 per cent chance of survival. The chance of survival climbs to 60 per cent at 40km/h and 90 per cent at 30km/h.
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Cr Lockie tabled a motion at the June 14 council meeting asking the issue be escalated to Minister for Metropolitan Roads, Natalie Ward, so that council can begin work on the speed reduction project.
"Streets with speed limits of 40km/h are also much more pleasant places to be - they're calmer, quieter, and safer for all road users - not just pedestrians," said Cr Lockie.
"Introducing lower speed limits on local roads doesn't affect travel times significantly, if at all, as drivers don't spend most of their trips on local roads."
Across the Balmain Peninsula, an area-wide 40km/h speed limit is already in place. The business districts of North Sydney, Chatswood and Parramatta, and parts of the Sydney CBD, also have area-wide 40km/h limits.
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