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30km zones

'If you introduce speed limits in a clumsy manner, nobody will pay attention'

From midnight tonight, speed limits in 10 Dublin areas will be lowered to 30km/h.

30kmh Phase Two areas in Green

FROM TONIGHT, SELECTED regions in the outskirts of Dublin city centre will have their speed limit lowered to 30km/h.

The reason for this is to make roads safer for pedestrians and cyclists, and is the second part of a rollout across Dublin city centre’s residential areas.

But it’s not as simple as ‘implement a new rule and it will be obeyed and enforced’, according to Conor Faughnan director of consumer affairs at AA Ireland, who’s wary of the new rules.

He’s been involved in road safety regulations and policy for 20 years, and says that if areas for low-speed limit zones aren’t carefully selected, then no one will pay heed them.

“Speed limit zones can be terrific, if they’re properly designed and constructed. But if they’re not, they can do more harm than good.

You can stick any number up on a pole, but nobody obeys them if they don’t make any sense.

But you shouldn’t drive from one road to the next and the speed changes dramatically because of different local authorities having a completely different review, Faughnan says.

He says that it makes sense that local authorities would be in charge of speed limits because blanket rules don’t always work and it can be difficult to define certain places – what is and isn’t a housing estate, for example?

So how many regions aren’t suited to a 30km/h speed limit?

The AA has no way of measuring if they’re suitable or not, but says that the council should listen to people carefully in the coming months to see if the speed limit is making a difference.

Phase Two

From midnight 30 May, areas including Sandymount, Crumlin, Cabra, Drumcondra, Glasnevin and Phibsborough will have their speed limits reduced to 30km/h.

This is phase two of a three-part plan: phase one was introduced in April in certain residential areas and in the vicinity of schools in areas of Dublin boarded by the Canals.

Speaking after the vote was passed in March, Green Party councillor Ciaran Cuffe said all the evidence pointed to the measure making the streets of the capital safer.

Simply changing the road signs does work – you get a significant change.

Andy Walsh, senior engineer at Dublin City Council, also made assurances this week that the limits were being rolled out on an evidence-basis.

A public consultation on the issue of speed limits was launched by Dublin City Council last July. The council received 550 submissions on the matter. One hundred of those supported the expansion of the lower speed limits.

Faughnan says it seems like a ‘gesture policy’, or an attempt to reduce cars in the city centre which he says is fine – “but let’s debate that on its merits”.

“It seems like a clumsy wide brush stroke, but it might still turn out to be true. It’s important that this is kept under review, and if it’s not working they’ll have to change it.”

- With reporting from Hayley Halpin.

Read: These areas will have the speed limits on their roads reduced to 30km/hr this week

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