Cllr Oisín O'Connor

Green Party Councillor for Glencullen-Sandyford, including Ballinteer, Stepaside, Kilternan, Leopardstown, Ballyogan & Glenamuck

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown are running a public consultation on draft proposals to bring in safer speed limits. Most of the changes can be summarised as:

  1. Changing residential estates and roads from 50kph to 30kph limits
  2. Changing village/town centres from 50kph to 30kph limits

Proposed changes for safer speed limits

The main changes will involve residential areas and village/town centres having lower, safer speed limits. You can see this interactive map that the council have put together to see what speed limits are being proposed.

These are the areas in Glencullen-Sandyford that are proposed to change from 50kph to 30kph:

Area/Estate/Village
Sandyford Village
From Sandyford Road to Hillcrest Road
Stepaside Village
In the village itself
Woodpark, Ballinteer
Kingston, Ballinteer
College Park/Delbrook Manor, Ballinteer
Clonard/Wesley/Ballawley, Ballinteer
Pine Valley, Rathfarnham
Moreen/Blackthorn, Sandyford
All minor roads in Sandyford Business District
Woodford, Stillorgan
Kilcross, Sandyford
Sandyford Downs & Coolkill, Sandyford
Slate Cabin Lane, Sandyford
Village Road/Belarmine Avenue, Stepaside
Belarmine, Stepaside
Sandyford Hall, Sandyford
Ferncarrig, Sandyford
The Gallops, Leopardstown
Leopardstown Heights, Leopardstown
Rockville Drive, Carrickmines
Areas proposed to become 30kph under the new Bye Laws

In addition to these proposed changes, the Enniskerry Road from the Wicklow border until just before Moss Cottages is proposed to change from 80kph to 60kph.

The main roads in our areas will still remain at 50kph. As you can see from the images below (they’re screenshots of this map), the orange roads at 50kph create a network of main roads for getting around the county. The areas in between are where drivers need to slow down as they get to their destination.

New estates

Estates that are not under the control of the council, such as Sandyford View, Stepaside Park, Ballintyre are considered privately managed roads so the speed limits in these are not set by the council.

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Roads in new estates, when they get “taken in charge” by the council from the developer, will default to 30kph. This is a change from the status quo, where such roads default to 50kph.

My position

While I will read through submissions that are made to the council, I already have my own position on changing the speed limits in our area. I’m in favour of all the proposed changes as I think they’ll lead to safer speed limits. In my role, I sit on the Joint Policing Committee and the Road Safety Working Group and I’m Chairperson of the Transport and Marine Committee so I have been well-exposed to the issues around road safety and what needs to be done to make our roads safer.

The main reason for my view on this is safety for all road users. For that I include actual safety (fewer collisions, collisions less serious when they do happen) and perceived safety (lower traffic speeds meaning people are more likely to walk/cycle or let their kids walk/cycle to school).

At 30kph it takes 12 metres to stop
At 40kph, it takes 26 metres to stop
At 50kph, it takes 35 metres to stop
At 60kph, it takes 45 metres to stop
Driving slower means it’s easier to stop and prevent a collision

I fully accept that lower speed limits will not mean that every driver will slow down. We still have work to do on enforcement and road design to reduce speeds. But lower speed limits have been proven to have some effect on traffic speeds. If all this effort ends up stopping one child from getting knocked down, it’ll be worth doing.

Approximate survival rate if hit by a vehicle at the following speeds. can be enabled by safer speed limits
If a pedestrian is with a car, the chances of survival at 30kph are much greater

While safety is the main reason I support these proposed speed limits, there are also other reasons I support this:

  • Reduced noise pollution
  • Reduced air pollution (less accelerating and braking in built-up areas)
  • Reduced emissions
  • Easier to pull out of a driveway or side road onto a 30kph road
  • Less rat-running if an estate is now 30kph but the main road is still 50kph
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Enforcement of speed limits

Enforcement of speed limits is the responsibility of An Garda Síochána. The council have no direct role, but as I sit on the Joint Policing Committee, I regularly raise the need for more enforcement of traffic laws by our local Gardaí.

That said, it’s highly unlikely that there will be much Garda enforcement on roads with 30kph limits.

Road design

The best way to keep vehicle speeds at an appropriate level for the appropriate road is through road design. Wide roads, sweeping junctions, no traffic calming – these and other factors trigger drivers to go faster.

The council have an ongoing programme to retrofit safer and slower road design across the county. Unfortunately, there are hundreds of inappropriately designed roads out there and it takes time to go estate by estate to redesign for slower speeds.

There is also sometimes resistance to the kinds of measures that would naturally reduce speeds. I’ve been consistent on this: I support all efforts to bring in modern design standards into our streets and roads to make them safer for all.

Process

A lot of preparation work has gone into readying the Draft Speed Limit Bye Laws for this public consultation. This has been lead by the Traffic section in DLR and they have been consulting with us councillors, An Garda Síochána, neighbouring councils (e.g. Wicklow, South Dublin, Dublin City) and statutory authorities (e.g. TII who manage the M50 and N/M11).

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Following this public consultation, the Traffic section will summarise the issues raised and present them to councillors along with any recommendations for changes. Councillors will then have an opportunity to vote to either a) approve the Draft Bye Laws as is, b) amend and approve the Draft Bye Laws, c) reject the whole thing and there would be no change to the speed limits. It’s likely this final vote will happen in March or April.

Have your say on safer speed limits

What do you think? I’d strongly urge you to respond to the public consultation by Friday 19th January, whatever your views are. Also feel free to contact me on this to clarify anything or to share your views with me too.

My support for safer speed limits

I’ve made a submission to the public consultation which I’ve shared here, supporting the proposals and requesting that some other roads also be considered for reduced speed limits.

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