Calls for Government to allow councils set 15 km/ h speed limitsGary Ibbotson 02 Feb 2023
A Fingal councillor has called on the Government to allow for local authorities to set speed limits lower than 30 km/ hour.
Social Democrats councillor for Rush-Lusk, Paul Mulville said that speed limits in most residential areas should be 15 km/ hour instead at the current 30 km/ hour.
Mulville said the council is bound by legislation which says that 30km/ hour is the lowest a local authority can set.
“Many residential streets across Europe and the UK are designated a lower “walking speed” limit, called Woonerf or Home zones,” he says.
“This is to allow for living streets where pedestrians and cyclists are prioritised and where the streets are shared spaces, allowing a return to social activities, e.g., children at play on the road, which used to be much more common in the past.
“Motor vehicles are still allowed of course, but their dominance is curtailed.
“Currently, 30 km/ hour is the lowest speed allowed here, and this have been implemented across all housing estates and residential streets in Fingal.
“The council is allowed however to use the 15 km/ hour limit in parks.”
Mulville says that the Government should allow the council to introduce a “walking speed” in areas deemed appropriate.
“At January’s local area meeting, I asked the county manager to confirm if the elected members and council have the powers to reduce vehicle speeds on residential streets down to a walking pace, e.g., 15 km/hr max.
“The manager responded to say that according to most recent guidelines, the county and city councils have powers under the Road Traffic Act 2004 to make bye-laws to apply special speed Limits on public roads.
“The range of special speed limit that may be applied through bye-Laws are: 120km/h, 100km/h, 80km/h, 60km/h, 50km/h, 40km/h and 30km/h.
“The reply went on to state that 15km/h speed limit is not included in the range, therefore not applicable for public roads.
“I am calling on Minister Eamon Ryan to now empower elected councillors to introduce a “walking speed” limit so that local councillors can work, alongside council engineers and staff, with interested local resident groups to pilot woonerf /home zones at appropriate locations.
“Such pilots could also entail built interventions such as ramps, chicanes, bollards, signage, etc to compliment the “walking speed” limit.
“We must work together towards the provision of safer streets and more liveable neighbourhoods for our communities, as it is in everyone’s interest.”