Tony O'Kane | Aug 28, 2009

SYDNEY'S LORD MAYOR Clover Moore says a blanket 40km/h speed limit for the city's CBD and inner suburbs would greatly reduce the risk of pedestrian fatalities, however the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority has yet to act upon the local council's recommendation.

At yesterday's Staysafe Committee Inquiry into Pedestrian Safety, Ms Clover said councils should be given the power to set local speed limits.

"We've been lobbying the RTA for years to introduce a flat 40 kilometre zone in the CBD, and on local roads throughout the City's Local Government Area, but they continue to sit on their hands and pedestrians are put at risk by cars travelling at dangerous speeds," she said.

"We're now calling on the RTA to give local councils the power to set appropriate speed limits on local roads."

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Roughly 850,000 people travel into Sydney's CBD each weekday, a great proportion of those arriving by means other than a car.

"Just 15 per cent of people travel to work in the Sydney CBD by car, and the rest, 85 per cent, travel on foot, by bike or public transport," she said in a statement.

"It's time we made this majority a priority."

According to government figures, pedestrians accounted for 28.3 percent of road casualties in the City of Sydney in 2007, a stark contrast to the 8.3 percent pedestrian figure for the rest of New South Wales.

Aside from requesting local councils be given the ability to set their own speed limits, the City of Sydney made a number of recommendations at the inquiry aimed at improving pedestrian safety. These included:

  • Pedestrian green crossing times be increased at all signaled crossings, particularly in central Sydney and main arterial roads.
  • The RTA trial pedestrian crossing countdown timers;
  • The standard speed limit for High Pedestrian Activity Areas, such as central Sydney, be set at 40km/h;
  • Education programs be introduced for all road users on appropriate driver interaction with pedestrians and cyclists.
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