Adelaide City Council trialled a 40 kilometre an hour speed limit on Hutt Street and the adjacent precinct, east of Hutt Street, for around eight months to see if it improved accessibility, safety and increased visitors to the area.
The City Council’s Program Manager for City Design and Transport Daniel Bennett said that the trial had achieved its objectives of reducing traffic speeds and volumes to create a calmer and safer environment, but that feedback from the consultation had led to the decision to return the speed limit to 50km/h.
“The trial has been a success in that average traffic speeds in Hutt Street have reduced by 12% and traffic volumes have reduced by 11%.
“Trials allow us to try new things in the city to find out what works and what doesn’t so the city can continue to evolve and move forward.
“Examples both nationally and internationally show that slower speed environments not only contribute to making streets safer, but also go a long way to creating streets that are better places to visit and spend time in.
“While we believe a slower speed limit would be beneficial for the city, the feedback suggests that the environment and timing is not right to implement it at this stage. We will continue to look at other possibilities for creating calmer traffic environments in the city.”
Feedback on the trial was varied, with street visitors and traders supportive, but residents and the general public generally not in support, leading to the decision to revert to the 50 kilometre speed limit.
Consultation results showed that street visitors, traders and key stakeholders felt the traffic was calmer which made them feel safer, and that lower speed limits provided a better environment to visit and for business. Pedestrians and cyclists also reported feeling safer and feedback suggested that outdoor dining conditions and overall street amenity improved.
The most common reasons given by those who opposed the 40 kilometre limit were that it caused driver frustration and traffic congestion, and that different speed limits throughout the city led to confusion.
One of the key aims of Council’s Smart Move Strategy 2012-22 is to create a city where low traffic speeds make streets safe and pleasant and discourage through traffic. There are no immediate plans to further explore lower speed limits throughout the city.