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New Sydney CBD speed limit zone to be introduced

The NSW government is implementing a new 40km/h speed limit zone in the Sydney CBD, to take effect from 27 September 2014. This will see the current speed limit drop by 10km/h in a zone bound by Castlereagh Street to the east, Kent Street to the west and Hay Street to the south. To the north, the new zone will connect to the existing 40 km/h zone in The Rocks.

This isn't the first 40km/h speed limit area in Sydney, with at least 12 other suburbs having similar measures in place. The new CBD zone will cover the largest area and will include the largest number of drivers and pedestrians.

The decision to change the speed limit was made after safety reviews by the Centre for Road Safety in consultation with Roads and Maritime Services and the City of Sydney Council.

NSW Minister for Roads and Freight Duncan Gay explained it was important to implement the new zone before summer as the city centre becomes even busier and awareness of this change is key.

"At the time we expected to have the change introduced by the busy Christmas period and I'm pleased we're ahead of schedule to get motorists ready well ahead of the peak shopping time when there are more people and families about," he said.

"Over the next fortnight there will be VMS road signs for motorists and a widespread advertising campaign including newspaper and radio ads to make sure anyone who missed the announcement in May is ready for the change."

While a 10km/h drop might not seem significant, it does when you look at the data. Authorities state that a pedestrian hit by a vehicle at 50km/h is twice as likely to be killed than in the same accident occurring at 40km/h.

According to Transport for NSW, 34 pedestrians have been killed on state roads already this year - 13 per cent higher than the same period 12 months ago.