Council defends Dublin speed limit


AN EXTENDED 30km/h speed limit area, which comes into force in central Dublin tomorrow, “absolutely recognises the importance of the car-borne shopper”, Dublin City Council said yesterday.

The council said the restriction should be seen as part of a strategy that has included restrictions on heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), the bus gate at College Green and the deployment of the bike scheme.

Forthcoming elements of the strategy include a €10 million “demonstration” cycle path, which is mainly off-road, stretching from Rathmines to Fairview, and longer pedestrian crossing times at traffic lights.

However, executive engineer Tim O’Sullivan of the council’s roads department rejected suggestions from the AA and Dublin City Business Association that motorists were being made to feel increasingly unwelcome in Dublin city centre.

“We absolutely recognise the importance of the car-borne shopper,” Mr O’Sullivan said. He added that the council did not “believe for one second” that the imposition of the restriction would deter shoppers from driving into the city centre car parks.

He said a motorist who exits the Jervis Street shopping centre, for example, would have to drive at a speed below 30km/h just until they reached St Stephen’s Green or Bolton Street, and he did not think that too onerous.

In relation to cutting the speed of traffic on the city quays he said a pedestrian struck by a vehicle travelling at 50km/h has a 50 per cent chance of being killed, while the risk drops to 5 per cent if the vehicle is travelling at 30 km/h.

On issue of the need for such a restriction on a 24-hour-a-day basis, particularly in areas such as the quays in the early hours of the morning, he said Dublin was a lively city with pedestrian activity well into the early hours.

“Pedestrians emerging from pubs in Temple Bar may not be judging things as best as others,” he warned, before adding that the strategy in Dublin had reduced road deaths from 13 per year before 2000, to eight per year since then.

But AA spokesmand Conor Faughnan said road deaths in Dublin were caused by vehicles moving at much lower speeds than 30km/h and the extended limit area would not affect that.