South Fremantle locals have hailed the introduction of a new 40 kilometres per hour speed zone across a wide area of Fremantle as a win for people power.
In November Fremantle Council voted to accept a proposal to create a 40km/h speed zone in Fremantle and South Fremantle, covering all local roads west of Hampton Road, Ord Street and James Street, including the existing city centre speed reduction zone.
The reduced speed limit became official when new signage was installed by Main Roads earlier this month.
South Fremantle Precinct Group Convenor Lisa Barnes, who’s been a resident of South Fremantle for around 20 years, said lowering the speed limit had been on the local community’s agenda for a long time.
“For about the past ten years there’s been talk about slowing down the traffic in South Fremantle. In the precinct meetings that I first started going to about seven years ago it was certainly a topic of discussion,” Ms Barnes said.
“When the City’s community consultation first started happening it was for reducing the speed limit just on South Terrace so there was a lot of work done on that, and then Main Roads changed their rules so we had to go back to the drawing board.
“It’s probably ended up being a better outcome for South Freo, especially around schools, because we’ve got a 40km/h zone all the time now.”
Ms Barnes said the campaign to lower the speed limit was a good example of grassroots activism.
“It’s pretty much been a galvanised effort in the South Freo community. There was a lot of commonality in people’s opinions and very little dissent in the community about the 40km/h requirements,” she said.
“To drive safely around Fremantle and Fremantle’s streets, if you’re doing any more than 30 or 40km/h per hour you’re putting people’s lives at risk, so I think it will be minimal impact to people on an individual level but it’s going to be a great community benefit.
“It shows how if you get the community together with a like-minded cause you can get things done.”
Some distributor roads within the new speed zone have had their speed limits reduced to 50km/h, like South Street and Queen Victoria Street, while others, including Ord Street and Hampton Road, have retained their 60km/h limit.
The existing 30km/h limit along Fremantle’s famous Cappuccino Strip has also been retained.
The City of Fremantle will continue to pursue a reduction in the speed limit to 30km/h in the rest of the city centre zone in line with the City’s Integrated Transport Strategy.