Speed limits hit the skids - Police bid to reduce CBD 'pedestrian zone' to 40km/h

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MOTORISTS travelling within Tamworth’s CBD may be forced to apply the brakes amid plans to slash the speed limit to 40km/h.

The move comes after local police requested the council and the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) consider the installation of a high-pedestrian-activity zone to improve road safety in the city’s CBD. If successful, the 40km/h zone will encompass eight streets, including Peel, Darling, Bourke, Fitzroy, White, Hill and Dowe streets and Byrnes Ave.

However, the inclusion of Kable Ave was rejected by Tamworth Regional Council last week due to its crucial role in alleviating traffic pressures along Peel St.

The speed limit within Tamworth’s city centre is the urban area default limit of 50km/h.

Sam Szyc, who owns 2340 Cafe on White St, welcomed the news, saying it would help stamp out leadfoots who endanger the lives of pedestrians and other road users.

“For us, we would definitely support it,” she said.

“There are a lot of people who fly up White St, which is extremely dangerous, especially with the parking.

“We see near-crashes every day, with people doing U-turns and not watching what other people are doing as they’re coming out of the top Kmart car park.”

Local taxi driver Les McMaster was less enthused and questioned the need for a reduction, when motorists found it difficult to exceed 40km/h in parts of the CBD at peak pedestrian times because of congestion. He said the big headache for him and his affiliates would be at night time, when the streets were clear.

“I don’t really mind too much about the speed limit, if they adjust it accordingly and don’t implement it at night after everything shuts,” Mr McMaster said.

The move would follow in the footsteps of surrounding towns such as Quirindi, which implemented the safety measure in June 2010.

Liverpool Plains Shire Council director of works Greg Tory said in his opinion the speed limit reduction neither hindered traffic flow nor increased difficulties for motorists.

“What the zone did do for our town was increase driver awareness of the presence of pedestrians, because the high-pedestrian-zone signage increased the awareness for motorists driving through the zone,” Mr Tory said.

Marius St will remain unchanged at 60km/h if the measure is implemented. The council is expected to make its final decision on the matter after receiving a speed zone review from the RMS.

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