The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Mr Alan Kelly, T.D., has instructed local authorities to place greater emphasis on road safety and street design considerations in the assessment of applications for planning permission in respect of new housing developments.
“I think it is very important that new urban streets and roads in new housing estates are designed in such a way that excessive vehicle speeds are discouraged. This can be done by the incorporation of features such as the narrowing of carriageway width, the avoidance of long straight stretches of road, appropriate warning signage, well-sited crossings as well as other appropriate traffic calming measures,” stated Minister Kelly.
This instruction to local authorities supplements a similar recent initiative by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Mr Paschal Donohue who has called on local authorities to submit proposals for the increased use of 30 kilometres per hour speed limits and other measures in existing housing estates aimed at improving safety for the most vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and especially children.
“As a parent of young children, I have been very taken and impressed by the Jake’s Legacy campaign* which has raised awareness of the issue and this new initiative is a tangible response to that campaign seeking enhanced road safety measures in both existing and new residential housing estates. Both Minister Donohue and I are anxious to ensure that all housing estates are safer places for children to play and grow up in. That is why I have called on local authorities to adopt a more holistic and proactive approach in the assessment of planning applications for new housing developments in the future,” added Minister Kelly.
“I think it is imperative that simple, effective measures to reduce vehicle speeds in housing estates are taken into account at the initial design and planning application stages of such developments in the interests of preventing accidents and tragedies which, with a bit of forethought, might otherwise be avoided. In this regard, I have now asked that comprehensive road safety audits – incorporating an evaluation of appropriate road safety and vehicle speed reduction measures – should be undertaken as part of the pre-planning application design process and at the planning application stage in respect of new housing developments. I have asked local authorities to start implementing this new approach in the assessment of planning applications with immediate effect,” concluded Minister Kelly.