Life in the slow lane: would you cope with a 30km speed limit in your town?

Most businesses are on one side of Ford street with the carpark on the other. Raised pedestrian crossings were installed by the council earlier this year. Image: Google Maps.
Most businesses are on one side of Ford street with the carpark on the other. Raised pedestrian crossings were installed by the council earlier this year. Image: Google Maps.

The south coast village of Moruya has the questionable honour of being the first regional town in NSW to adopt a 30km/h speed zone in its town centre.

From November 1, the speed limit on Ford and Shore streets will drop permanently from 50km/h to 30km/h.

The two streets form a corner of town that meets Riverside Park, home of the bustling Saturday Moruya Markets and plenty of foot traffic.

Moruya Business Chamber president Tim Dalrymple said some community members felt 30km/h was "too slow".

"The CBD is so small, there's not much difference to your travel time," he said.

"I think it's a good thing and makes the general business area a safer place for everyone."

Mr Dalrymple said the two streets were known to some drivers as a route to race against the traffic lights when heading south off the bridge.

The infamous "short cut" was slowed by the council.

"Some traffic-calming speed humps and roundabouts have slowed down traffic and by reducing the speed limit to 30, will have an impact on that also," Mr Dalrymple said.

"It removes a major barrier to people walking or cycling and results in environmental improvements such as less air and noise pollution and safer, healthier living spaces," Kathryn Maxwell of SHASA said.

Shore Street and Ford Street will have a new speed limit of 30km/h, as of November 1. Image: Transport for NSW.

Shore Street and Ford Street will have a new speed limit of 30km/h, as of November 1. Image: Transport for NSW.

Ms Maxwell says the Australian Heart Foundation finds pedestrians and cyclists struck by a motor vehicle travelling at 50 km/h have about an 85 per cent chance of being killed, while at 30 km/h this drops to 10 per cent.

The South Coast Health and Sustainability Alliance (SHASA) also welcomed the new speed limit.

"In the near future, SHASA would like to see the 30km/h speed limit extended to other streets in the shopping area including Queen, Page and Church streets, as well as to shopping districts across the Eurobodalla," Ms Maxwell said.

Talk around town was that Moruya is the first in NSW to adopt a speed zone of 30, however, Australian Community Media confirmed with Transport for NSW that Manly, Liverpool and Newcastle had already implemented 30km/h zones.

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Eurobodalla Shire's Director of Infrastructure Services Warren Sharpe OAM said the "slow points" on Ford Street and the new speed limit was a positive change within the Moruya CBD, "making the town safer and more walkable".

"After discussion with the Moruya Chamber, we've implemented simple, cost effective pedestrian and vehicle slow points to produce a slower and safer environment for our community," he said.

"We're really pleased that Transport for NSW has decided to make Moruya the first regional town to adopt the 30 km/h speed zone."

When the proposed Moruya bypass is built, Mr Dalrymple said 30km/h zones could easily extend throughout Moruya's CBD.

"Once the bypass is built, the main street will not have that 30-40 per cent of through traffic - it's going to change Moruya in a huge way," he said.

"At busy times in summer it is more than 30-40 per cent through traffic. The new speed limit will make getting around town a more enjoyable experience."

This story Life in the slow lane: would you cope with a 30km speed limit in your town? first appeared on Bay Post-Moruya Examiner.