Merri-bek City Council this week began reducing speed limits in Brunswick, with local roads across the suburb shifting from 50 km/h to 40 km/h from Monday 20 November. The city-wide speed limit reset will make streets safer for pedestrians, bike riders and all road users, with research showing that the speed reduction has the potential to save lives by reducing fatalities by over 50 percent.
The planned project will happen in 6 stages—from November 2023 until June 2024—following State Government approval for permanent installation. The reduction will apply to local roads only throughout Merri-bek, with speed limits on roads classified as ‘collector’, ‘major’ or ‘arterial’ remaining unchanged.
Areas that will benefit from the reduction in speed limits are:
- South of Moreland Road (Brunswick)
- Moreland Road to Bell Street (Coburg and Pascoe Vale South)
- East of Sydney Road (Coburg North and Fawkner)
- Bell Street to Boundary Road (Pascoe Vale)
- West of Pascoe Vale Road (Gowanbrae and Oak Park)
- North of Boundary Road (Glenroy and Hadfield)
The first stage of the shift will take place in Brunswick, south of Moreland Road, from 20 November until 15 December 2023. The second stage will take place in Coburg and Pascoe Vale South, between Moreland Road and Bell Street from 15 January until 9 February 2024. To mark affected areas, Council will install signage creating ‘40 Area Speed Zones’—with clearly marked start and end points.
A study by the Curtin-Monash Accident Research Centre showed that speed contributed to the severity of road crashes and resulting injuries, especially for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians or cyclists. The study found that by reducing the speed limit from 50 km/h to 40 km/h, the chance of a fatal injury is reduced by more than half (from 80 per cent to 26 per cent)*.
Merri-bek City Council Mayor Cr Adam Pulford said that reducing speed limits from 50 km/h to 40 km/h was a positive step towards making local roads safer for everyone.
“Our streets should be safe for everyone using them to get around, whether they’re walking, riding, rolling or driving. Reducing the speed limit on our local roads is one way we are improving safety, and it could save lives,” said Cr Pulford.
During the five-year period between January 2018 and December 2022 there were 677 crashes on Merri-bek-controlled roads. 260 of these crashes involved a vulnerable road user, pedestrian, or cyclist, with 210 resulting in significant injury and 2 fatalities.
“Victoria’s road toll this year is the highest it’s been in 15 years. Every life lost on our roads is a tragedy. This shift to a lower speed limit on our local roads is a positive step forwards, and Council is committed to doing more to make our streets safer, including through working with State and Federal governments,” said Cr Pulford.
Merri-bek businesses and residents that live around the affected areas can expect to receive letters with further information as and when each stage of the project commences. Various signs and posters will also be displayed in and around affected areas between November 2023 – June 2024.
Cr Pulford said the 40 km/h speed limit was the safest available option for Council to implement on local roads as the current State speed zoning policy only allows a 30 km/h speed limit on local roads as part of a trial. The neighbouring City of Yarra recently voted to expand their 30 km/h speed limit trial to all suburban roads in Fitzroy and Collingwood.
“We will continue to work with the State Government and other local Councils to make 30 km/h speed limits possible without taking up the extra resources and time that trials require,” said Cr Pulford.
The speed reduction rollout is due to be completed in June 2024, with new limits enforced by Victoria Police.
Media Contact: Emma Hastings, Strategic Communications Coordinator, 0407 556 101.
* Source: Probability of fatal injury in relation to vehicle speed ('Improving Pedestrian Safety,' Curtin-Monash Accident Research Centre).