Public set to have their say on city speed limits
Published on 17 March 2023
The public will have the opportunity to have their say regarding a range of proposed speed limit changes across the city if a series of recommendations are adopted by Councillors at next week's ordinary meeting.
Launceston Mayor Danny Gibson said the proposal to lower speeds with the city's urban area will reduce the likelihood of a crash and significantly reduce the potential for fatal or serious injury.
"We understand that speed limits need to be realistic to ensure compliance by drivers and the main focus of this review is to better match speed limits with existing road conditions," Mayor Gibson said.
The speed limits that were reviewed are 60kmh limits on arterial roads and default 50kmh limits in the CBD and main suburban shopping centres with higher pedestrian activity.
Mayor Gibson said existing traffic speeds and crash records helped to identify the locations where the existing posted speed limit was too high for the road conditions.
The proposed reductions from 60kmh to 50kmh are:
- Bathurst Street
- Wellington Street between Cameron Street & Frankland Street
- High Street between David Street and Arthur Street, East Launceston
- Invermay Road between Forster Street & Vermont Road, Invermay
- Elphin Road, Penquite Road and Hoblers Bridge road in the vicinity of the Newstead Shopping Centre
The proposed reductions from 50kmh to 40kmh are:
- Launceston CBD area bounded by Cimitiere Street, York Street, Wellington Street and Tamar Street
- Mowbray shopping centre, Invermay Road between Vermont Road and Haig Street
- Kings Meadows shopping centre, Hobart Road between Riseley Street and Opossum Road
Mayor Gibson said that while he expected most people would support the reductions, it was appreciated that not everyone will understand or agree with the approach to reduce speed limits in the selected areas.
"Our study on these built-up, heavily pedestrianised areas shows us that average traffic speed is already at or lower than the proposed changes," Mayor Gibson said.
"For example, in Bathurst Street, 85 per cent of vehicles are only travelling at an average of 45kmh anyway, so reducing the limit from 60 to 50kmh will have no discernible impact on travel times.
"And though the Newstead Shopping District, 85 per cent of motorists are only able to average 49kmh, so reducing the limit back to 50kmh again should in no way add to a motorist's travel time, but it will hopefully make a difference in terms of lowering the crash rates through that area."
Mayor Gibson said the proposed changes were about making the safety of all road users a priority.
"The well-being of pedestrians, cyclists and other motorists comes above all else. Sometimes that could mean that our trips could take a few seconds longer but that's a very small price to pay."
A Monash University study on the impacts of road trauma shows that there were marked social and financial benefits to lowering the number of fatal and serious injuries on our roads.
"Thankfully it is extremely rare to have a fatal crash in our CBD but sadly it happens on rare occasions," Mayor Gibson said.
"That said, even injury accidents can still have a devastating and lasting impact on the lives of those people involved.
"By lowering the speed that traffic is travelling at, you're lowering the probability of serious injury or death for those involved, particularly for our more vulnerable road users."
Mayor Gibson said the community engagement process is expected to open shortly after next week's meeting, if the recommendation is adopted.