In the capital's neighborhood of Skanste, the speed limitation zone of 30 kilometers per hour was introduced by the municipality this week in the area between Skanstes, Zirņu, Vesetas, and Sporta Street. It includes, for example, blocks of multi-apartment houses, educational establishments, the Arena Riga and the Olympic Sports Center.
A similar situation is in Imanta, where the speed limit is 20 km/h between Jūrmalas Drive, Slokas Street, and Kurzemes Drive. Most of the streets in the area are narrow and there are many private houses nearby.
“Probably those who are not satisfied are drivers, not the most vulnerable road users, but the city needs to take care of all the residents,” said Jānis Vaivods, director of the Rīga City Council Transport Department.
The speed limit zones have so far been introduced on separate streets of the center, in Čiekurkalns, in Āgenskalns and in Grīziņkalns, and will continue to be introduced. Speaking about the restrictions in Imanta and Skanste, Vaivods said they wouldn't particularly affect the traffic in the city.
“These areas and selected streets are primarily not main streets and [speed] should be reduced as their primary function is to reach the specified sites. Consequently, it does not significantly affect the total urban traffic flows.”
Jānis Vanks, head of the Safe Driving School, said:
“I am certainly not a fan of having a speed limit of 20 and 30 [km/h]. It's really a relatively slow speed. It is clear that if there is a longer distance to go through the city, and our city is not that small, then it can prolong the process. But on the other hand, that speed is certainly safer. Is that the right solution, it's hard for me to comment, but I think things need to be looked at in the context. Indeed, if these speed limits are introduced in densely populated areas, it is necessary to take care of the infrastructure so that people from neighborhoods can travel relatively normally and at normal speed through Riga, through Rīga or around Rīga,” Vanks said.