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Saturday 7 December 2019

Extending 30kph speed limit 'needs right infrastructure'

A garda at Wellington Quay as the new 30kph speed limit came into effect – 31 more such zones are planned
A garda at Wellington Quay as the new 30kph speed limit came into effect – 31 more such zones are planned

Plans to extend the 30kph speed limits throughout all residential streets in Dublin city won't work without the proper infrastructure, according to AA Ireland.

Over the past decade, Dublin City Council (DCC) has progressively lowered speed limits in the shopping and central business area of the city from 50kph to 30kph.

This was then extended to more residential areas on the north and southsides, including Drimnagh, Crumlin, Sandymount, Marino and Raheny.

The third phase of the plan to be introduced in the coming months will see the reduced limit extended to include 12 new areas on the southside and another 19 on the northside.

South of the River Liffey, the areas include Harold's Cross, Rathmines, Ranelagh, Inchicore and Ballsbridge.

Meanwhile, among the new areas north of the river are Cabra, Phibsborough, Glasnevin, North Wall, East Wall, Artane, Coolock, Killester and Clontarf.

While the proposals have been generally well received, AA Ireland has stated that DCC must take the necessary steps if it expects motorists to comply with the new speed limits.

"Changing the speed limit is one thing, but you really need to make sure that people are going to comply," said AA spokesperson Barry Aldworth.

"When you see that people aren't complying, DCC will have to re-engineer some roads so that people are forced to stick to the limit.

Minority

"If you have a 30kph zone on a wide road without the proper infrastructure, you will always get a small minority of motorists who will break it."

Mr Aldworth added that many people in residential areas are calling on DCC to implement the new speed limit in their communities.

"The zones that have already been rolled out have been broadly well received from residents and, by and large, there's a lot of research that shows 30kph limits help make roads safer," he said.

City councillor Daithi Doolan told the Herald that it's also important to listen to drivers' genuine concerns.

"Many car owners would argue that it's restricting the speed limit too much, but I believe it has reduced the risk of injury and death to pedestrians and cyclists," he said.

"But nobody should have a veto on progress when it comes to protecting the safety of our citizens. At the same time, you can't just stick up a road sign and expect people to adhere to it. If DCC introduces and enforces penalties on motorists who are in breach of the limit, then it will encourage them to reduce their speed. I think it will work because Irish people have a history of upholding the law on the roads.

"For example, you rarely see anyone breaking a red light or failing to stop at a zebra crossing," he said.

The Herald recently reported that Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan is opposing new anti-speeding laws proposed by Transport Minister Shane Ross that would see motorists face graduated penalties depending on how fast they are driving over the limit.

Fine

Mr Flanagan said he is not in favour of mandatory sanctions because of potential for "unintended consequences".

He also revealed that he opposes plans to fine motorists caught without their driving licence.

A public consultation has been launched on the plans which will see the speed limits introduced across the city on a phased basis.

The survey will be open until September 22 and the public can submit their views by visiting www.dublincity.ie.

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