Budapest motorists decry liberal district mayor’s drastic speed limit plan

Traffic jam on one of Budapest's main avenues. (Magyar Nemzet, István Mirkó)
By Dénes Albert
3 Min Read

The Hungarian Automobile Club (MAK) and the Fidesz-KDNP faction of the Hungarian capital are protesting against the planned speed limit in Budapest’s downtown sixth district, Terezváros: They believe that the regulations are the latest sham measures by the liberal mayor of the district, Tamás Soproni.

The mayor wants to implement traffic safety measures citing the example of Graz, but the drastic step was preceded by two years of thorough preparation and testing in the Austrian city.

The MAK and the Terézváros Fidesz-KDNP faction warned that instead of rushing into a decision, thoughtful planning is needed to really reduce the already unbearable traffic jams in Budapest.

The problem is not that speed limits are being introduced on some routes, but that they are being implemented indiscriminately. There are routes where it should be checked whether they can be introduced based on previous accident history and the design of the roads, Kázmér Kovács, chairman of the legal committee of the Hungarian Automobile Club, said on the RTL news channel.

“Soon, we will introduce a speed limit of 30 on all streets of Terézváros where there is no BKK service, which will be enforced with physical barriers,” District Mayor Tamás Soproni announced on his Facebook page. He added: Graz set a good example, since after a similar measure, the city became quieter by three decibels on average, nitrogen oxide concentration dropped by a quarter, and walking and cycling became a more attractive alternative.

Budapest’s downtown sixth district has two of the capital’s major thoroughfares, already congested to their limit.

Liberal Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony — whose measures have caused traffic jams to become permanent in the capital — already announced in April 2020 that he plans to significantly reduce traffic and speed reductions for road traffic in the city.

Based on the proposal, speed limits of 70 km/h on expressways in the capital would have been abolished, and the maximum permitted speed on non-main roads would have been uniform at 30 km/h. The traffic-limiting concept caused quite a storm at the time, and since then it has reappeared for the first time through the plan of Tamás Soproni.

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