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MP calls for 30 km/h nighttime limit in villages

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MP calls for 30 km/h nighttime limit in villages
MP Thomas Böhni. Photo: Parliament.ch
09:48 CET+01:00
An MP has filed a proposal with the federal government to slap a general speed limit of 30 kilometres an hour in all Swiss residential areas at night.

Thomas Böhni, a Green Liberal party member from the canton of Thurgau, said the measure would apply in all such areas from 10pm to 6am.

Böhni maintains that roaring nighttime traffic is disturbing the peace in many Swiss villages and preventing residents from getting a good night’s sleep.

“In my region, major highways with a speed limit of 50 km/h cut through many villlages,” the MP is quoted as saying by 20 Minutes newspaper.

“So that means people move far from the centre and encourage urban sprawl.”

Other MPs back the initiative.

“I support everything that contributes to improving the quality of life in villages,” Evi Allemann told 20 Minutes.

But not everyone thinks it’s such a great idea.

Walter Wobmann, a Swiss People’s Party MP from Solothurn, called the proposal “an expression of pathological hatred toward cars”.

Few vehicles operate at night and 30 km/h zones are already installed where municipalities judge them to be necessary, Wobmann said, according to 20 Minutes.

The federal government is set to respond to the proposal in June, although it earlier rejected a motion to simplify the installation of 30 km/h zones..

Touring Club Schweiz (TCS), the lobby group for motorists, noted that Swiss citizens already rejected an initiative to reduce 50km/h zones to 30 km/h in a 2001 referendum.

But in many Swiss communities, municipal governments are taking action of their own accord to respond to concerns about nighttime noise from traffic.

At the end of January, the city of Geneva installed special “quiet” asphalt on roads in the Saint-Jean neighbourhood, where the speed limit is already 30 km/h, to meet complaints over noise pollution.

Bern has also called on municipal governments to boost measures to reduce traffic noise between now and 2018.

In Lausanne, the government has accepted a proposal to apply a generalized 30km/h speed limit in the city centre.

In the city of Zurich, a similar project is planned for four streets in the core, although a lobby group that includes the TCS is opposed.

The group told the Tages Anzeiger news paper that it was prepared to take the issue to Switzerland’s top court.

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