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By GEMMA WOLK

The City of Sydney council is pushing for the speed limit in the Sydney Central Business District to be reduced to 40 km/h in an attempt to increase safety for pedestrians.

The limit is currently at 50km/h, and the City council blames the speed for the high ratio of pedestrian casualties in the city compared to the rest of NSW.

In a submission to a state government inquiry into pedestrian safety, the council has said it wants power to be given to local councils rather than the RTA to determine speed limits for their local area.

The Staysafe Committee inquiry is being held at Parliament House hearing submissions from ministers and parliament before a report to the government.

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore accused the RTA of sitting on their hands and putting pedestrian at risk by ignoring city council’s lobbying for a speed reduction.

“We’ve been lobbying the RTA for years to introduce a flat 40 kilometre zone in the CBD, but they continue to sit on their hands and pedestrians are put at risk by cars travelling at dangerous speeds.  We’re now calling on the RTA to give local councils the power to set appropriate speed limits on local roads,” Ms Moore, who is also a member of the state government, said in a media release.

http://www.sydneymedia.com.au/html/3974-city-calls-for-40-kmhr-speed-zone-to-make-inner-sydney-safer.asp

Ms Moore said that in 2007, pedestrians made up 28.3 per cent of road casualties within the City of Sydney, compared to 8.3 per cent on average for the rest of the state, highlighting that some sort of reform is necessary.

85 per cent of people travel to work in Sydney CBD on foot, by bike or public transport, making it a mere 15 per cent who travel by car. This large quantity of pedestrians has raised the issue that their safety should be prioritised.

The RTA sets the speed limit on all roads in NSW and we have no plans to change this. In the CBD, speed limits are lower – particularly where there is a high percentage of pedestrian traffic – but there is no plan to put a blanket 40 kilometre per hour limit on the entire council area”, said Mark Henderson, spokesperson for the RTA.

Currently even though the limit within CBD is 50km/h, statistics from the RTA show that during 2007 and 2008, the major routes into and out of Sydney city have an average speed of 30km/h in the morning, and 43km/h during the afternoon.

http://www.rta.nsw.gov.au/publicationsstatisticsforms/downloads/travel_speeds_in_sydney_metropolitan_area.pdf

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