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Gardaí are to crack down on motorists who drive at excessive speeds in areas where new 30km/h limits have been introduced by Dublin City Council, as part of the Christmas road safety campaign.
It comes as an assessment by the council’s engineers has found motorists have failed to cut their speeds below 30km/h on roads in the capital where the new limit was introduced earlier this year. On some roads motorists have actually increased their speed or failed to alter their behaviour at all, a survey found.
Following an 18-month review of traffic conditions throughout the city and suburbs, councillors last December approved plans for a radical expansion of the city centre 30km/h speed limit zone to almost all roads and streets as far as its boundary with the three other Dublin local authorities, excluding “arterial” roads.
The limits are being introduced on a phased basis. In March they were applied to west of the current city centre 30km/h zone to cover most of the streets between the Royal and Grand canals.
In May it was extended to residential roads, and near schools and shops, in 10 suburban areas: Sandymount, Crumlin, Drimnagh, Raheny, Artane, Cabra, Phibsborough, Coolock, Glasnevin and Drumcondra, and parts of neighbouring suburbs.
Next year, the council plans to extend the limit to the remaining Dublin city suburbs. This phase could also mean lower speed limits on the main arterial roads into the city, said the council.
However, an engineering assessment in September and October of the 40 roads inside the canals – 20 on the north side and 20 on the south side – where the limits were introduced last March, found motorists have not lowered their speeds below 30km/h, with just two roads, both on the north side, showing a reduction to 30km/h.
Despite this senior executive engineer with the council Dermot Stevenson said the project is considered a success because 80 per cent of streets show some reductions in speeds.
“In all 15 streets on the south side and 17 streets on the north side have seen a reduction in speed and several streets have shown a reduction beyond 50 per cent. But it is regrettable that eight streets have shown an increase or no change in speed at all.”
The highest speeds remained on Herbert Place, Pembroke Street, City Quay, Townsend Street and Grangegorman Lower, where motorists drove at speeds of up to 60km/h and sometimes higher.
In meetings with gardaí in recent weeks, the council received assurances that “excessively non-compliant streets” would be the focus of the Garda’s winter road safety campaign in conjunction with Operation Open City, which aims to keep traffic moving in the city during the busy Christmas period.
“I have spoken to An Garda Síochána and they have given assurances that the streets we have highlighted to them will be made a priority in their winter enforcement and during Open City this year,” said Mr Stevenson.
The council would take further speed assessments of the areas included in the limit last May, but intended to extend the limits next year.
“Based on what we’ve seen we are considering it to be somewhat of a success. And the plan would be to start looking at phase three as planned which is looking at the arterial routes and also to include additional areas next year.”