Dublin City Council plans for 30km/h limit despite opposition

More than half of submissions in public consultation were against new ‘default speed limit’ across city and suburbs

The new bylaws will extend the 30km/h limit to almost all major approach roads to the city

The new bylaws will extend the 30km/h limit to almost all major approach roads to the city

 

Dublin City Council plans to press ahead with making 30km/h the “default speed limit” across the city and suburbs despite public opposition to the move.

Results of a public consultation process, which will be presented to city councillors next week, show more than half of those who made submissions on the proposed traffic bylaws opposed the cut in speed limits.

Motorists complained the lower limit would cause “frustration and stress” and could result in “cyclists overtaking cars”.

However, the council said road safety “must” be the “overriding principal” against motorists’ concerns over increased journey times or the difficulty of adhering to lower limits, and it is recommending councillors approve the bylaws.

The council has been working to reduce speed limits to 30km/h all residential areas. However, the new bylaws will extend the limit to almost all major approach roads to 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.

More than 2,000 submissions were made on the proposed bylaws in July and earlier this month with 56 per cent opposed to the introduction of the 30km limit.

The 44 per cent who supported the measure largely said it would provide a safer environment for pedestrians, cyclists, children, and the mobility-impaired. Several respondents said a default 30km/h limit would be easier to enforce than variable limits.

Those opposing the change said it would result in longer journey times for motorists and additional delays in driving through city that would “cause a lot of frustration, stress and pressure for motorists”.

Watching the speedometer would take concentration off the road, lower speeds were bad for car engines, and the 30km/h limit could result in “cyclists overtaking cars”, submissions said.

The council said the concerns of motorists had to be balanced against the benefits of the change.

“The overriding principle that must inform any decision to change a default speed limit should be road safety, in particular, the reduction of fatal and serious road collisions.”

An examination of international experience and the existing 30km/h limited areas in the city “recorded only positive outcomes in terms of this road safety objective”. Residents already living in a designated 30km/h area, signalled continued support for retaining the limit the council said.

“The concerns regarding increased journey times and difficulties in keeping to the reduced speed limits have to be set against the clear desire of so many residents who want to improve their areas and wish to see reduced speeds in their local areas,” it said.

“The clear intent of these speed limit bye-laws is to have the 30km/h as the default speed limit and that drivers should assume this is the speed limit across the city unless there are specific speed limit signs advising of higher speed limits.”