City of Ballarat has confirmed its controversial 40km/h zone around the city’s CBD will remain in place after the trial concludes in early November.
The 12-month pilot began on November 10 last year and also includes extensions to walk phases on pedestrian crossings along parts of Sturt Street to allow greater time for pedestrians to cross the road safely.
In a statement to The Courier on Friday, City of Ballarat infrastructure and environment director Terry Demeo said the results of the trial will be reviewed and considered at a future council meeting.
“The 40 km/h speed limit will remain in place until council has made a decision in relation to the trial,” Mr Demeo said.
“A 40 km/h area speed zone is designed to improve the safety and amenity of motorists, pedestrians and cyclists; and reduce the amount of traffic not travelling to a CBD destination.
“The speed limit is recognised as best-practice road safety treatment in high pedestrian activity areas. Reduced through-traffic has also been proven to improve air quality, reduce noise and encourage pedestrian and bicycle traffic through the CBD’s retail, commercial and dining precincts. All of these factors will be considered following the trial.”
Restrictions to lower the speed from 50km/h to 40km/h are located in the area between Dawson and Humffray streets and bounded by Mair and Dana streets.
Streets affected include Sturt, Grenville, Camp, Peel, Little Bridge and Little Channel.
Strangely, a section of the Eastwood Shopping Centre car park on Anderson Street East was also included, concerning local traders who believe more stringent limits are required in the congested area.
The contentious trial, which costs around $100,000, has received its fair share of criticism from the Ballarat public.
A council-sanctioned community consultation in early 2015 revealed that out of 600 respondents, 68 per cent opposed the speed reduction.
A poll by The Courier on the same day as the trial launch, which received more than 1000 responses, saw 81 per cent vote the speed change as unnecessary.
However, various elderly and vision-impaired groups have also praised the change in pedestrian crossing light sequencing, believing the previous sequence didn’t allow people enough time to cross Sturt Street.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.