It seems that the mayor of a Budapest downtown district decided to reduce the speed limit drastically. Tamás Soproni, the mayor of Terézváros (6th district), wrote on Facebook that he would like to follow the example of Graz, Austria. The Austrian city introduced a 30 km/h speed limit on the side streets and set the limit to 50 km/h on the main roads decades ago. Residents first protested against the changes but realized the benefits soon and became huge supporters of the new system. Read the details below!
The ruling party Fidesz has been communicating for a long time that Budapest mayor Gergely Karácsony conducts a “jihad” against car users in the capital. Orbán’s party now seem to get additional ammunition for their anti-Karácsony campaign. The opposition leader of the capital, elected in 2019, suggested first in April 2020 that Budapest should reconsider and reduce speed limits to make the city liveable and safer.
Karácsony said that the speed limit reduction would not be an across-the-board cut. Instead, they would discuss and negotiate the proposals with the district mayors, NGOs, and residents, hvg.hu reported then. He cleared that the aim was to build a safer, healthier, cleaner Budapest, where the number of traffic accidents could be reduced to zero.
Model programs started in the 6th and 7th districts in 2020. For example, some parts were closed for traffic on weekends and public holidays.
It seems that the residents liked the idea. Tamás Soproni, the mayor of the 6th district, wrote yesterday on his Facebook page that the speed limit would be 30 km/h in every street of Terézváros, where BKK buses do not commute. Furthermore, they will place physical barriers to ensure that drivers comply.
He reminded his readers of the example of Graz. The leadership of the Austrian city of 0.5 million residents introduced severe speed limit cuts in the 1990s, g7.hu reported. The people did not like the idea at first. Therefore, the introductory period lasted for years, during which authorities continuously monitored public opinion. Furthermore, the measure did not mean only placing signs on the roads but reforming the city’s traffic system.
As a result, locals began to back the plan. Graz reduced speed limits on 80 percent of its streets, including segments in front of the schools, kindergartens, and hospitals. Thanks to that, the number of accidents fell by 12 percent, and air quality improved. More people chose walking or biking to their destination.
Soproni mentioned those benefits in his post. He added that the drastic speed limit reduction in the downtown district would be introduced soon.
Source: hvg.hu, Facebook/SoproniTamás, g7.hu