Cross-party support for 30km/h speed limits for Dublin

Public consultation on lowering speeds across the city to begin this month

The low speed limit will apply to roads which previously allowed speeds of 50km/h and 80km/h and will include the Royal and Grand Canals. Photograph: Alan Betson

The low speed limit will apply to roads which previously allowed speeds of 50km/h and 80km/h and will include the Royal and Grand Canals. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

Plans to limit speeds to 30km/h on almost all roads in Dublin city and suburbs have received cross-party support from Dublin city councillors.

The new Covid-19 traffic laws, which will see a 30km/h limit even on major arterial routes into the city, are expected to be available for public consultation in the coming weeks.

The council has already begun introducing extensive traffic calming and pedestrian, cyclist and public transport priority measures under its “mobility intervention programme” designed to facilitate the reopening of the city as Covid-19 restrictions ease.

While the council has described these measures as temporary, the 30km/h restrictions are being proposed under bylaws, which would mean they would remain in place permanently, unless new bylaws were introduced to rescind them.

The council had planned to introduce the 30km/h limit in all residential areas by September. However, it now intends to extend the limit to almost all major approach roads to the city to “protect the larger numbers of pedestrians, cyclists and vulnerable road users” accessing the city.

The low speed limit will apply to roads which previously allowed speeds of 50km/h and 80km/h and will include the Royal and Grand Canals and the Rathmines, Ranelagh, Harold’s Cross and Donnybrook Roads on the southside of the city and Phibsborough Road, Dorset Street, Manor Street and Gardiner Street on the northside.

Only a handful of major approach roads, such as the N3 and N1 will retain higher 50km/h and 60km/h limits, but as they near the city their speeds will drop to the lower 30km/h limit. A speed of 80km/h has only been permitted on a section of the Chapelizod Bypass and the entry to the M1 motorway.

In a presentation to councillors on the traffic committee on Wednesday the council said the risk of death to a pedestrian struck by a car travelling at 80km/h was 100 per cent, but fell to 10 per cent for a car travelling at 30km/h.

Green Party councillor Michael Pidgeon said there was strong public support for 30km/h to be the “near default” throughout the city.

“In practice a lot of the larger roads running into the city are residential roads and those higher speed limits aren’t appropriate.”

In addition to saving lives the lowering of the limits would reduce emissions and noise pollution he said.

The council said its proposal to reduce the speed limit was “in line with other European cities” which had taken similar measures “in order to protect the larger numbers of pedestrians, cyclists and vulnerable road users moving around in these areas and on the road carriageway due to Covid-19 travel restrictions and social distancing requirements”.

The council hopes to have the new limit in place by the end of the year.