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.