Thursday, 28 January 2010

More 20 mph zones, please

This evening in Full Council I had a question down for Cllr Lyonette, the Cabinet's Transport portfolio holder. It read:

"In December 2009 the Government’s Road Safety Minister announced proposals which would allow local councils to introduce 20 mph zones in residential areas without the need for traffic calming measures such as speed humps.
The Department for Transport is seeking the views of local councils on these proposals in order to allow new guidance to be published at the earliest available opportunity.
Has the Council responded to this consultation request and if so, what was the nature of that response?"

As a cyclist, pedestrian and someone who lives on a busy residential road, I am very much in favour of having 20 mph zones where ever possible in residential areas.

In Portsmouth, for example, where 94% of that city’s roads are subject to a 20mph speed limit, there has been a significant drop in road casualties. The same is true in places like Hull and Newcastle where Lib Dem Councils have pushed ahead with more 20mph roads. York, Norwich and eight London Boroughs are currently planning much wider use of 20mph limits. As well as cutting road deaths and injuries they are also better for the environment and more peaceful for local residents.

We know from our ward surveys that residents like 20mph speed limits in residential areas: what they often don’t like are the traffic calming measures which Councils are currently obliged to install in these zones. Allowing councils to put in place 20 mph speed limits on more streets without speed humps or chicanes will mean that they can introduce them at a lower cost and with less inconvenience to local residents. In due course, if Councils across the country act on this, 20mph instead of 30mph could become the default speed in residential areas.

Cllr Lyonette said the Council will be responding positively to the consultation and will be looking to take advantage of the opportunities offered. I used my right to a supplementary question to urge Cllr Lyonette to take full advantage of the Government's proposals when they are announced and to extend the areas covered by 20mph zones more widely across the town.


miketually said...

I remember seeing a news report on the Newcastle scheme where a Labour councillor was criticising the Lib Dem council for not bringing in the 20 zones quick enough :)

I'd like to see 20MPH zones brought in within a five minute walk radius of every school in the town. I think this would be a very difficult proposal to argue against.

miketually said...

There are a few 20mph posts and links on the Darlington Cycling Campaign blog.

Aeres said...

I'd be quite happy with more 20mph zones, although I guess they would only be any use if they were enforced properly.

Really never understood the attraction of the chicanes though. Driver's actually speed up to nip through before an oncoming car when they haven't got right of way and they also lead to queues when a long stream of traffic is going in one direction. Also, if you're second in the queue to go through you can't see in front of the car in front of you so don't know if the gap is big enough for one or two cars.

Slower, more constant speed seems a much safer proposition to me - probably a lot cheaper too.

Anonymous said...

Alan Macnab writes.....

I agree with Aeres.

I haven't made by mind up about the effectiveness of the police involving volunteers to man speed checkpoints. The checkpoint appear to be manned by a police officer, a PCSO and volunteer. I have asked the Chief Constable what happens if the police officer and PCSO have to respond to an incident. Do they leave the volunteer holding the speed gun and isn't it a police responsibility to enforce the adherance to speed limits?

I do not understand Durham Police's opposition to fixed speed cameras at known speeding points. When I worked in Middlesbrough and Hartlepool there were speed cameras on the A66 and roads in and around Middlesbrough and Hartlepool and they were a powerful message to motorists, including myself, to lower their/my speed. Again I have raised this point with the Chief Constable and am awaiting his reply.

breyhen said...

Any speed restriction is only viable when it is enforced. How many drivers keep to the 50mph on the A66 bewteen Stockton and Middlesbrough? VERY FEW for they know no-one is there to stop them doing 60/70 or even more (my homeward coach did 60 in the outside lane all the way last Friday). Unless 20mph zones are to be enforced they are not worth the metal sign.

Anonymous said...

to anonymous:
surely you realise that fixed speed cameras are a tax on strangers as locals tend to be aware of the locations of them and slow down just before, speeding up just out of range; how many times did we see the locals brake on the a66 just before the camers, drive past and then simply accelerate away at the same speed or more than they were traveling before the camera????

for the stranger however, there is no advance knowledge, they are the people usually caught out by speed cameras, hence my phrase "tax on strangers"
in this case the speed cameras are all aboout revenue not safety.
however you look at it, a speed camera is never going to be as effective as a police presence; nor do cameras have the ability to spot the ropey looking car or driver just so long as they aren't speeding.

personally I would much rather have a higher police presence than cameras... like I say, a camera is a tool it has no magic ability to cure a problem, police officers can never be replaced by cameras

miketually said...

A Nonny Mouse,

Did you not mean, "a tax on strangers who break the law and endanger the lives of those living in the community"?