Councillors Advocate for 30kph Speed Limit Zones in Local Towns
Proposed Limits for Carrigaline, Crosshaven, Monkstown and Passage West
Writes Ciaran Dineen
Carrigaline Local Electoral Area (LEA) County Councillors have put the wheels in motion to reduce speed limits in town centres across the district to 30kph per hour, following a behind closed doors committee meeting and a subsequent public meeting, which took place last week.
30kph speed limits are becoming the norm in many towns across Europe with the aim of increasing safety for pedestrians and cyclists, making the places we live less car-focused. Local councillors have taken advantage of Cork County Council’s Speed Limit Review, which was open for public submissions and requests for the changing of speed limits throughout the county earlier this year. The last review that took place came in 2017, with Councillors eager to flex their ‘reserved functions’ once again.
A number of requests came in from the surrounding areas in the Carrigaline ward for a reduction in town centre speed limits from 50kph to 30kph. One of these towns is Monkstown, where a recommended proposal from Council Executive Engineer, Madeline Healy, will see the speed limit reduced by nearly half, with the zone coming into effect ‘roughly’ from the Bosun to the junction with Castle Road, which is around 400 metres in length.
Municipal District (MD) Chair, Cllr Marcia D’Alton (Ind) welcomed the proposal on behalf of all other councillors, having previously discussed the item at a committee meeting a few days previously. An agreement was also reached on initiating a 30km speed limit in the core centre of Passage West, with further information about the details of this to emerge next year.
Councillors also agreed to press on and align themselves with recommendations made in the transport proposals of the recently published Carrigaline Transportation and Public Realm Enhancement Plan (TPREP), requesting that a 30kph zone be implemented as part of an overall transport strategy.
The catchment area for this extends beyond just the Main Street of Carrigaline, but a definitive zone has yet to be fully agreed. Periodic speed limits will also be reduced to 30km in other areas of the district. These include parts of Minane Bridge, Shanbally and Ringaskiddy in close proximity to local national schools.
There was one case which divided opinion during the discussion on 30kph zones and that was Crosshaven. The Council’s view was that no request had been made for such a reduction between the RCYC to the village centre, but both Cllr Michael Paul Murtagh (FG) and Cllr Seámus McGrath (FF) noted that one submission referred to the ‘Glen Road’, which from their perspective meant a request beginning at the RCYC.
The Engineer’s opinion was that it was “ridiculous” and “not possible” for a reduction in the speed limit for such a long stretch of road, i.e. between the RCYC and Crosshaven village centre. However, reserved functions in this matter mean that Councillors can overrule Executive recommendations and make the final call on the decision. All Councillors agreed that the 30kph zone should commence at the RCYC and the matter will now be fully proposed at Council next year.
It is expected that by December, draft bye-laws should be published with the new speed limit proposals, and this will be followed by another round of public consultation. Final approval will be granted sometime next May, with the eventual implementation of the new arrangement to come towards the end of 2022.
Commenting on the proposed changes, Cllr McGrath told The Carrigdhoun Newspaper, “The special speed limit of 30kph is important in the core area of towns and villages as well as other special locations, such as near schools. These areas are exceptionally busy with pedestrians and cyclists and safety must be paramount. I also favour the further roll-out of the 30kph speed limit in residential estates.”
Councillors Vote to Reject 2022 Budget
Carrigaline MD Councillors have unanimously decided to vote against adopting their 2022 budget. The rebellion was largely down to a sizeable reduction of 50% in the MD’s discretionary budget, which is key for funding important local projects.
In the past, Councillors have not been afraid to reject the proposed Budget for the year ahead, but on this occasion, they were simply left with little choice as the General Municipal Allocation was reduced from €188,598 in 2021 to €94,299 in 2022.
Some compromise will be required if local representatives are to be brought back onside, with a further review expected to come in the near future.