Drivers should “take their time and enjoy” the new 30kph speed limit in Phoenix Park, Green Party Councillor Michael Pidgeon has told Pat Kenny.
The new speed limit was introduced in the Dublin City Centre park in February, with the aim of making it a safer place for pedestrians and wildlife.
The OPW is also working a new Parking Strategy for the area, which aims to ensure the park is easily accessible by bike, car and public transport.
In the weeks since motorists have complained about the new speed limits – with The Irish Times yesterday reporting that some drivers have claimed their cars are cutting out due to the slower speed.
Among the complaints sent to the Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and government Chief Whip Jack Chambers and seen by the paper were drivers who claimed their cars “literally can’t drive” at 30kph without stalling.
They also claimed that “cars are not built for that speed” and warned that the limits were taking all the pleasure out of driving through the park.
On The Pat Kenny Show this morning, Green Party Councillor Michael Pidgeon said the limits were set with pedestrians, cyclist and visitors in mind – not just drivers.
“People are still in the motorway mindset – where speed limits set entirely for the needs of the safety and efficiency of a car,” he said.
“The issue here is, in the park or anywhere in the city, the speed limits are not just being set for the needs of the motorist.
“They are also being set for the needs of people and the area around it.
“The Phoenix Park is a park. It is a beautiful space, take your time and enjoy it if you’re driving through it.
“It is not supposed to be a huge through-route where you can hit 50kph or 60kph.”
"It's a park"
He said the lowered speed limits have been successful throughout the city – even if many drivers continue to ignore them.
“Speed limits are not just about convenience for the driver,” he said.
“The other factors include, are you in a park? are in a city? Are you near a school are there cyclists nearby?
“That’s why we have different speed limits on the motorway than we would have going through a park. I think it’s entirely appropriate and reasonable that there be different limits for different areas.”
Also on the show Dublin Councillor Nial Ring said he was “delighted” drivers were speaking out about the new rules.
“I can understand motorists’ frustration,” he said.
“I am actually delighted that, at last, motorists are actually talking out about this constant attack on them.
“We have pedestrianisation of streets and we have lots of cycle lanes - which I absolutely agree with - but again, it comes down to … we don’t have the proper public transport so how do you get the modal change into cycling or public transport if you don’t have the facilities.
“I agree we have to put in the facilities – but 30kph particularly in the Phoenix Park I really understand the frustration. I can empathise absolutely with motorists.”
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