A NEW road safety plan calls for reduced speed limits in towns across the south-west.
Under the proposal, speed limits would drop to 40 kilometres an hour in main centres of activity, such as the CBD and shopping strips.
A 50km/h limit would apply in all residential streets while arterial roads, including Raglan Parade and Mortlake Road, would drop to 60km/h.
The suggestion is contained in the draft Warrnambool Road Users Plan which aims to make the city a regional leader in road safety.
“Achieving this will mean residents, new residents and visitors alike will feel connected and welcome in the community due to the integrated and sustainable road network,” the plan states.
It says the council should work with the Great South Coast Group — which covers Warrnambool, Moyne, Corangamite, Glenelg, Southern Grampians and Colac-Otway — to implement lower speed limits.
The plan also calls on the council to educate the community about the “negligible difference” in travel time at lower speeds and the potential fuel savings.
“(A) short trip of five kilometres at 60km/h travel time equals five minutes (and) at 50km/h travel time equals six minutes — a one minute difference. For a longer trip, say 15 kilometres, the difference would be three minutes,” it explains.
Statistics from 2006 and 2010 show that crashes which caused injuries to drivers and passengers were concentrated at intersections along arterial roads including Raglan Parade, Mortlake Road and Caramut Road.
Eighty-nine per cent of crashes along arterial routes involved the Princes Highway west of the city. There was also a cluster of crashes within the city centre.
The figures showed that crashes involving cyclists and pedestrians mainly occurred at intersections, with most of the incidents with pedestrians taking place in the city centre.
The plan suggests the council advocate for upgrades to the Princes Highway, including Raglan Parade, saying it played an important part in ensuring safe freight access to the region.
It calls on the council to designate “dedicated or preferred freight routes” to cope with increasing demand and reduce risks for other road users.
Improved access for pedestrians and cyclists to the city centre, public transport interchanges and other strategic sites has also been mooted. Fairy Street has been identified as the main bicycle link for riders travelling north-south and Timor Street as the main east-west link.
The strategy also calls for council to:
* investigate increasing school and pedestrian crossings to protect vulnerable road users,
* investigate lowering the Liebig Street speed limit,
* plan public transport to reduce travel demand,
* remove or protect roadside hazards,
* lead by example and only purchase the safest cars for the council fleet,
* support roadside vehicle inspections and roadworthy checks.
The draft plan has been released for comment. Submissions close this Friday.