THE City of Vincent is about to embark on bold consultation to reduce speed limits from 50kmh to 40kmh across a number of residential streets.
But road safety experts say it’s not enough and that 30kmh speed limits are needed to make inner city streets safer.
Speaking during a WA Road Safety Leaders breakfast on Monday, Vincent Mayor Emma Cole said the safety initiative was also about returning a neighbourhood feel to inner-city streets.
The 40kmh plan has support from Perth MLA John Carey and acting Road Safety Commissioner Iain Cameron, who met to discuss scope for a trial of reduced speed limits on Thursday, but will be put to Vincent ratepayers for feedback before any trial.
“Our discussion was about whether it was best to trial part of Vincent or all of it to provide a bigger study area and the cost and looking at signage or how to clearly delineate that the roads would be 40km,” Mr Carey said.
“It all rests on the consultation with residents; if they don’t want the trial, then it won’t happen, but I think it will be supported.”
Ms Cole used the breakfast event to question a panel of national road safety experts on ways to gain community support for the “sometimes unpopular” push to further reduce speed limits.
She said particularly in Vincent there was a desire for neighbourhoods to take back control of their streets, and even mused about the possibility of suburban roads again being a safe haven for games of street cricket.
Traffic engineering expert Bruce Corben said it was right to connect safety on the streets with issues of liveability, while panel facilitator Eric Howard said authorities had to strike a balance between movement and place on busy streets.
He then implored Ms Cole to push for 30kmh speed limits, saying 40kmh was a step in the right direction good, but 30kmh was what community and council leaders should be demanding.
Dr Corben was among a handful of invited experts from Monash University Accident Research Centre, one of the world’s most respected and comprehensive research institutes, who was in Perth last week to lead a three-day conference designed to help local leaders shift the way people think about road safety.
The Safe System approach looks at zero road deaths as an achievable target, even allowing for the fact that drivers make mistakes, through improvements to road design, safe speed limits and vehicle design factors.
Road Safety Minister Michelle Roberts said in Parliament on June 14 if the trial went ahead, it may be embraced by people in neighbouring councils such as Victoria Park and Subiaco.
“I think it is important to get it right,” she said.