Lowest speed limit in Victoria planned

Speeds in Footscray CBD could drop to 30km/h under council plans. Photo: Pat Scala
Speeds in Footscray CBD could drop to 30km/h under council plans. Photo: Pat Scala

A council in Melbourne's west is considering dropping the speed limit on some streets to 30km/h, a move which could give central Footscray the lowest speed zone in Victoria. 

However the plan doesn't have the support of the RACV, which says 40km/h is the "appropriate speed limit for high pedestrian areas".

Maribyrnong City Council has approached VicRoads about a new project to improve road safety in Footscray, with a plan to lower the speed limit on local streets in the most built-up parts of the suburb.

The plan, called the Footscray Pedestrian Safety Improvement Project, includes dropping the speed limit in the vicinity of schools and through "activity precincts" to 30km/h, according to the council's latest meeting minutes.

If implemented, it would be the first council in Victoria to permanently implement a speed zone of 30km/h.

It's understood the City of Yarra is currently undergoing community consultation to implement a 12-month trial of 30km/h zones on some streets in Fitzroy and Collingwood.

According to a map attached to Maribyrnong City Council's minutes from a meeting on Tuesday, the proposed 30km/h area stretches from Moore Street, down Donald Street to Geelong Road, and Paisley Street to Irving Street – encompassing the entire Footscray CBD.

The current speed limit in central Footscray is 40km/h, .

Speed limits in outer Footscray will drop down to 40km/h, according to the proposal.

The outer area includes Footscray's Western Hospital, West Footscray, Seddon and Victoria University.

The Transport Accident Commission has committed $1 billion to the program over 10 years, with VicRoads responsible for managing the projects. 

The proposed areas have been identified by the council as "pedestrian serious casualty areas."

But these changes will only occur after a community consultation process, VicRoads said.

The authority will  "hold a significant amount of community consultation before making any decisions on the best way forward" VicRoads' Bryan Sherritt​ said.

Maribyrnong mayor Catherine Cumming said the council was concerned about a "large number of pedestrian accidents" in the area, which involved jaywalking, pedestrians not using crossing points and other instances where the pedestrian was at fault.

She said these crashes had generally occurred within the area of the proposed speed changes.

"This is the start of a consultation process and it is important for community members to take part and to raise any issues or concerns," Ms Cumming said.

RACV roads and traffic manager Dave Jones said dropping the speed was not the solution for improving pedestrian safety.

"In most instances, RACV considers 40km/h an appropriate speed limit for high pedestrian areas," he said.

"Councils need to try to remove the root cause of crashes and install traffic management devices to change the speed environment of the road, not to put up a sign and hope that drivers will obey it."