Towns could become 30km/hr zones in major speed clampdown in Cork

Public invited to have its say on speed limit review of the county
Towns could become 30km/hr zones in major speed clampdown in Cork

Cllr Seamus McGrath proposed that a 30km/hr limit should be brought in for all housing estates.

A major review of speed limits throughout Co Cork is getting under way, which may see a number of towns and villages declared 30km/hr zones.

It may also lead to reduced limits on certain sections of main roads where it is warranted on safety grounds.

The last speed limit review in the county took place in 2017.

The public will be urged to have its say on a number of recommendations that will be made in the weeks and months to come, ahead of them becoming legal in late September 2022.

Padraig Barrett, the county council's director of roads and transportation, said submissions will be invited up to July 19.

After that, the council will review the responses and liaise with gardaí, before refining them for each of the county's eight municipal district areas.

Draft bylaws

By December, the draft bylaws should be published after which another round of public consultation will follow before the finished product is voted on by councillors next May. 

They will come into law that September.

The county council will also have to liaise with Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) in relation to changes it feels are appropriate to speed limits on national primary and secondary roads.

Fianna Fáil leader on the council, Cllr Seamus McGrath, said excess speed “remains a very significant issue” in some areas and said there is a need for as much public engagement as possible on proposed changes.

He proposed that a 30km/hr limit should be brought in for all housing estates, while independent councillor Marcia D'Alton said the same limit should apply to all towns and villages, which she pointed out is in line with a UN-adopted resolution on road safety.

Fine Gael councillor Anthony Barry said the council has to look at reducing speeds in areas that have become popular walking routes during Covid-19 restrictions.

Independent councillor Danny Collins said in tandem with this, “passing bays” need to be introduced on some narrow secondary roads, especially in West Cork, in an effort to reduce accidents.

Greater enforcement by gardaí

Fine Gael councillor Kay Dawson said there is little point in introducing more restrictions if there isn't a greater level of enforcement by gardaí.

“We need to have better communication with TII, who seem to have it in their policy to increase speed limits to keep flow of traffic going,” Fianna Fáil councillor Patrick Gerard Murphy told Mr Barrett.

Mr Barrett said the speed limit review isn't “a one-size-fits-all review” and said there will be cases where limits may not be reduced in some towns and villages to 30km/hr.

He said while they want to make town centres safer, there are places where the limit cannot be reduced because they will have to balance the flow of traffic with pedestrian needs, especially if the likes of HGVs cannot use bypasses around the towns.

He said the review “will be on a case-by-case basis” but there will definitely be places within towns where a 30km/hr limit “would be appropriate". 

Mr Barrett agreed with Mr Collins that there is a need to create safe passing lanes on some roads.

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