Skerries Cycling Initiative (SCI) draft submission to FCC on 30 km/h in Skerries residential areas
SCI welcomes the consultation process which gives the residents of Skerries an opportunity to give their views on the important issue of setting appropriate speed limits for residential areas in the town and in adjoining housing estates. The consultation process notification refers to both residential areas and housing estates. We wish to stress the benefits of having 30km/h on residential roads and core urban areas as well as within estates. Estates are defined in the Department of Transport circular on guidance for setting speed limits as “a self-contained grouping of houses with single or multiple entry points for vehicles”. There are a number of roads and streets in Skerries that don’t fit that description but are still mainly residential and also important connectors between estates or between estates and local facilities.
Effects of higher speeds
Higher speeds mean reduced reaction times and in the event of collision more severe injuries and more fatalities.
Higher speeds have a disproportionate impact on vulnerable road users, including pedestrians, cyclists, children and the elderly. They discourage walking and cycling and they encourage the use of larger and heavier cars. This has wider implications for society by impairing social interaction on the street, exacerbating health issues from lack of exercise and allowing crime to go undetected when there’s no of ‘passive supervision’ by pedestrians. Higher speeds contribute to air pollution, noise pollution and increased fuel consumption.
Skerries – an age friendly town
Skerries is endeavouring to develop itself as an age friendly town in which young and old can go about their daily lives in safety, whether as pedestrians, cyclists, users of mobility assistance vehicles or indeed as drivers. Introducing 30 km/h zones in residential areas would make a positive contribution to this and would help to reduce private car usage for short journeys around the town by encouraging more people to walk and cycle themselves and to allow their children to do so. A survey carried by Skerries Cycling Initiative in December 2014 on improving walking and cycling in Skerries elicited 54 responses from both SCI members and non-members suggesting various steps to improve walking and cycling in Skerries. The replies included the following unprompted comments from different respondents about the current excessive traffic speeds seen in Skerries:
- Vehicles come from Rush direction at high speed!
- Speed bumps [needed] on Millers lane.
- Over the years I have observed that cars have increased their speed in the town. There needs to be a complete change of mindset to restore some rights to walkers and cyclists.
- Serious ramps might also help especially at Dowlings corner where the cars come from Rush direction at high speed!
- Slower road traffic on the Rush Rd into Skerries at rugby club and Holmpatrick.
30 km/h zones in other countries
Throughout Britain and Europe, 30km/h is becoming much more prevalent. In some cities, speed limits as low as 10km/h are in place in ‘home zones’. Even in the United States, 25 mph (40km/h) limits are common in urban areas and 15mph (24km/h) limits are rigorously enforced at schools.
Suggested 30 km/h zones for Skerries Town
Skerries Cycling Initiative fully supports the introduction of 30km/h speed limits in residential areas in the town and surrounding housing estates. We suggest that 30 km/h limits be introduced in the following places:
- In all housing estates in or near the town.
- On the Dublin Road/Thomas Hand St. from the Community Centre to the Monument.
- In Strand St. from its junction with Quay St. to just North of Manning’s Opening. This is a very busy area in Skerries with a lot of pedestrian and cycling activity. Vehicles are often parked on both sides of the roadway which increases risk to pedestrians and cyclists.
- In Hoar Rock, where pedestrians often walk on the lanes/roads due to narrowness of footpaths.
- On Harbour Road from the laneway at the Southern end of the Sailing Club Boathouse up to Red Island. Cars and taxis frequently drive at excessive speed on Harbour Road which at the harbour end, is frequently thronged with pedestrians particularly from Spring to Autumn.
Michael McKenna On behalf of Skerries Cycling Initiative (SCI) January 2015.
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