Sensible decision

The Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) decision to scrap plans to introduce significantly longer 50km/h limits along Onkaparinga Valley and Greenhill roads is a win for common sense.
When the plans were first proposed earlier this year it took many Hills drivers by surprise.
Residents who took part in DPTI’s community consultation process – as part of the long-running Adelaide Hills Council Speed Limit Review – were also puzzled because the proposals seemed out of step with their calls for realistic and consistent speed limits in towns and better communication about approaching 50km/h zones and changing speed zones.
It could be argued that making everything 50km/h from Summertown to Uraidla, as well as from Balhannah to the other side of Oakbank, for several kilometres through Woodside to the Lobethal Road intersection, and through Charleston, would bring about consistency.
The Adelaide Hills Community Road Safety Group liked the idea, saying the longer 50km/h zones would make it safer and easier to remember.
However, making 50km/h the default speed limit is not consistent with the landscape when compared with other districts and commuter routes in metropolitan Adelaide.
The stretches of road under consideration were long and, in the case of Onkaparinga Valley Road, the sections were straight and wide.
Some of the landscape – rural and light industrial – also seemed unrealistic for 50km/h.
Most motorists understand that dense retail areas, residential areas, school zones and even bikeway cross overs require lower speeds for everyone’s safety.
Forcing unrealistic speed limits outside such areas will not lead to willing compliance.
However, DPTI’s decision to trial new signs – including “50 Ahead” signs – and road markings along Onkaparinga Valley Road is a sensible move.
When travelling for extended periods of time along a road that changes in landscape, it’s not uncommon to question where an 80km/h or 60km/h zone might merge into a 50km/h zone.
The extra signs and markings on the road will help to reduce driver confusion.