Locals rage over 'nanny state' decision outside busy shopping strip

They've claimed a change to the street's speed limit is a 'waste of taxpayer funds' and a major 'waste of time'.

A council in charge of one of Australia's most affluent suburbs has been accused of "wasting" taxpayer funds over its plan to implement speed limits along two bustling streets — where locals say it gets so busy it's impossible to drive above 40km/h in the first place.

Councillors in Mosman — a swanky seaside suburb on Sydney's North Shore — voted in favour of implementing the changes along The Esplanade at Balmoral and on Military Road from Spit Junction to the so-called "Centenary Circle", where Prince Albert Street, Middle Head Road and Bradleys Head Road converge.

The proposal, aimed at making the area safer for pedestrians, will now be put to Transport for NSW for consideration. This is despite some local business owners' opposition, who claim that the plan is a waste of public funds — $15,000 of which have been allocated by Mosman Council.

Spit Junction in Mosman.
Local businesses have criticised a plan to implement speed limits along Military Road in Mosman. Source: Mosman Council.

Speed limit plan branded 'waste of money'

Peter Paapas, owner of Kazzi Beach Greek restaurant on The Esplanade, said there are much bigger issues to be tackled in the electorate.

“[The changes] won’t make a blind bit of difference because most of the time it’s impossible to travel beyond 40km/h, and I’m not aware of any great speeding issues,” he told The Mosman Daily.

“It strikes me as a complete waste of time and money and a further extension of the nanny state where we introduce laws for every aspect of our lives when common sense should prevail. The council should be focusing on delivering basic services or lowering parking rates.”

Centenary Circle, where Prince Albert Street, Middle Head Road and Bradleys Head Road meet.
Centenary Circle, where Prince Albert Street, Middle Head Road and Bradleys Head Road meet. Source: Google Maps.

Councillor Roy Bendall agreed. "You can’t travel more than 40km/h at the moment during the day and at night time there’s no pedestrians or kids running around anyway," he said.

Several other Sydney councils, such as the City of Sydney and Inner West Council support 40km/h speed limits, with crash statistics from the Centre for Road Safety revealing four "serious injury" crashes on Military Rd and The Esplanade in 2021 and 2022.

'Common sense won't work', councillor says

One councillor who supports the limits, said people need to be made to slow down, refuting that it's simply "common sense". “The world doesn’t collapse because people have to slow down in these very high pedestrian streets,” Pip Friedrich said.

“I’d love to see a more broad acceptance of 40km/h. It’s about changing behaviours to accept that these roads are shared spaces.”

The Esplanade at Balmoral.
Traffic can be heavy in the area with visitor heading to attractions such as Balmoral Beach. Source: Google Maps.

Others said the plan would just cause confusion.

“Drivers are constantly already moving through different speed zones (and) to cherry pick a few streets with no understanding about why one was chosen over another would do nothing more than confuse motorists,” councillor Simon Menzies said.

“Consistency is key. At the end of the day, Mosman doesn’t have a problem with cars speeding and people getting knocked down. There’s no justification.”

Last year, it was revealed Mosman was among the richest suburbs in Sydney. It had the highest number of rich-listers living in the 2088 postcode — which includes Mosman and Spit Junction - with 19,707 people earning $188,324, on average.

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