A 20mph national speed limit is the single most cost-effective change possible to boost cycling and walking. 20mph limits can treble cycling to school. Localism on setting safer speed limits isn’t enough; the Government must lead with a 20mph default for built up areas.
20’s Plenty for Us agrees that 20mph limits reduce danger and the perception of danger. The City of Edinburgh recorded a trebling of cycling to school and doubling of permission for children to play out.
Our call is for the Government to agree a plan for Total 20 by 2020, which sets a 20mph default for restricted roads but allows local authorities to make exceptions where justified. It’s time that the Government recognised that 20mph is the foundation of active travel. 20mph limits are a popular, cost effective way to raise public health and exercise levels on the 90% of the urban public realm that is streets and pavements.
Most of the largest 40 UK authorities have decided the ‘national speed limit’ of 30mph is not fit for purpose. 15.5m people now live where the default speed limit is 20mph.
Changing the national default to 20mph whilst letting local authorities sign the small number (perhaps up to 10%) of urban roads that might warrant a higher speed limit also makes more sense economically than suggesting that cash-strapped local authorities pay to sign 90% of roads 20mph.
Rod King MBE, Founder of 20’s Plenty for Us commented:- “The Government must wake up, urgently change the National limit to 20mph and let authorities choose roads where other limits are warranted. Otherwise they are simply using “localism” as a fig-leaf for not taking responsibility for the adverse effect of vehicle speed on public health, community life and road danger”.
Comment on the DfT’s consultation by 23 May via https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/draft-cycling-and-walking-investment-strategy – online form or to email@example.com. Ask for default Total 20mph.
The national campaign group, 20s Plenty for Us has got a brand new website, where you can find lots more information about the benefits of introducing 20mph speed limits on the roads where people live. See www.20splenty.org.
The Police and Crime Commissioner Bill Longmore says West Mercia Police is now ready to start “applying the same approach” to 20mph limits as legal limits elsewhere, punishing drivers who do not comply.
See the Worcester News article for the full story.
One of the constant hurdles that campaigners for wide area 20mph speed limits have had to face is the lack of support from the local police force. However, with the news that West Mercia Police will now enforce 20mph speed limits, there is a greater chance that we could see more 20mph speed limits in Worcestershire.
The only problem is the current attitude of Worcestershire County Council, especially Councillor John Smith who is the Cabinet Member for Highways. He is not convinced of the benefits of 20mph speed limits. One wonders if any amount of evidence would be sufficient to convince him and some of his cabinet colleagues that there should be more 20mph speed limits on residential roads.
Worcestershire County Council have delayed any decision on making any Worcester streets 20mph until at least 2017.
The Conservative leadership has consistently been against the introduction of 20mph limits and as recently as May voted to reject a Green and Lib Dem motion asking to make it the default speed in built-up areas.
The Conservatives claim to be sceptical about any environmental benefits and the impact on congestion. They have set up a 20mph pilot around some selected streets in Rubery, which is supposedly aimed at exploring if it could be rolled out elsewhere.
The Conservative cabinet says it wants time to assess the outcome of the pilot in detail before looking at any 20mph speed limits in Worcester, thus kicking it into the long grass.
However, the way the County has implemented and will measure the impacts of the Rubery scheme does not adopt best practice from successful schemes implemented in lots of other areas around the UK. Rubery is a minimal engagement pilot and so designed to fail. To conduct a pilot or model you have to understand how the pilot would translate into the real world with an authority-wide implementation. This does not appear to have been done.
Cynically it begs the question as to whether this is deliberate so that they can ‘prove’ 20mph doesn’t work and so be a way to fend off any community pressure for 20mph.
The fact that other places have done 20mph (like 20% of country) means that there already are many existing schemes that council officers could look at and assess, rather than creating their own pilot.
The County Council motion proposed by Councillor Matthew Jenkins was rejected by the ruling Conservatives who all voted against it. There was widespread support from all other groups at the Council.
The motion was as follows:
Many councils across the country, of various party political control, have or are in the process of implementing wide area 20mph speed limits on residential and urban roads without traffic calming. Over 14 million people now live in these areas.
Public health and other bodies such as NICE, Public Health England, the LGA and the WHO all support such a policy. It is described as the most cost-effective way to improve health equality by tackling inactivity, obesity and isolation, whilst also being child, disability, elderly and dementia friendly.
Wide area 20mph limits rarely need any traffic calming measures and in other areas have been shown to be affordable, costing around £3 per person.
Implementing wide area 20mph limits should be a core part of our public health strategy. We therefore ask the County Council to rethink its current policy on 20mph, which restricts where they can be implemented, and call for a Cabinet report into introducing wide area 20mph speed limits on residential and urban roads.
Despite this setback we know that there is strong support for wide area 20mph speed limits both in Worcester and in Worcestershire. We will continue to push for their introduction and work with other local groups to continue the campaign for 20mph speed limits where people live.
Worcester based County Councillor Matthew Jenkins explains why communities are pressuring councils for the implementation of a 20mph speed limit. Read the article here.
PLEAS are being made to turn a Worcester estate into a 20 miles-per-hour zone – with more than 160 people signing a petition calling for a slow down.
Residents on the Blanquettes estate, near Bilford Road in Perdiswell, say lives are being put at risk by drivers.
Read more on the Worcester News website.
Road Safety Week 2014:
Road Safety Week 2014 took place 17-23 November with the theme of ‘look out for each other’. Brake called on all road users to look out for each other, with an emphasis on the ways drivers can protect people on foot and bike, namely: going 20mph or below in communities; looking longer and taking it slow at junctions and bends; and giving people plenty of room.
Read More here…
A petition demanding an extension of the 20mph speed limit in Battenhall, was handed to the County Council Cabinet member responsible for Highways yesterday. Local Green Party campaigner Louis Stephen was helped by local residents to collect 167 signatures calling for sign-only 20mph speed limits on a number of side streets in the area.
98% of the residents he spoke with were in favour of having a 20 mph zone in their street. Hopefully the County Council will listen to the overwhelming call by residents to introduce this inexpensive way to improve their quality of life.
Living Streets commissioned research company Just Economics to bring together the evidence of the commercial and consumer benefits of good walking environments.
It reviews the academic literature and examines the relationship between investing in better streets and places and the impact on existing businesses, urban regeneration, and business and consumer perceptions.
The pedestrian pound – key findings
- Research shows that making places better for walking can boost footfall and trading by up to 40%
- Good urban design can raise retail rents by up to 20%
- International and UK studies have shown that pedestrians spend more than people arriving by car. Comparisons of spending by transport mode in Canada and New Zealand revealed that pedestrians spent up to six-times more than people arriving by car. In London town centres in 2011, walkers spent £147 more per month than those travelling by car
- Retailers often overate the importance of the car – a study Graz, Austria, subsequently repeated in Bristol found that retailers overestimated the number of customers arriving by car by almost 100%
- Landowners and retailers are willing to pay to improve the streetscape in order to attract tenants and customers.
Follow the link for more information: http://www.livingstreets.org.uk/make-a-change/library/the-pedestrian-pound-the-business-case-for-better-streets-and-places