Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Guest Blog by 20's Plenty for Us

With Rod King (r), Founder of 20s Plenty for Us, and Norman Baker MP (c),
Lib Dem Transport Minister. In February, I put forward a successful
Council Motion to introduce 20mph limits on all of Manchester's
residential roads. 
20’s Plenty for Us welcomes the proposal for new speed limit guidance regarding 20mph limits. Now over 8m people live in local authorities who have already committed to 20mph limits as the default for all residential roads and it is important that the DfT is aligning itself better with what is developing good practice within such progressive local authorities.

The DfT’s own surveys say 73% of people support 20mph speed limits in residential streets.[1] Already councils in Portsmouth, Brighton & Hove, Islington, Warrington, Liverpool, Wirral, Wigan, Lancashire, Oxford, York, Cambridge, Waltham Forrest, Newcastle, Hackney, Bristol, Bishopbriggs, Middlesbrough, Bath & NE Somerset, Camden, Darlington and others have committed to roll 20mph limits out to all residential roads.

Councillor and local government action to agree and implement 20mph residential road speeds has been in direct response to tangible citizen support – eg petitions and letters. Local politicians have been listening to constituents wanting “20 is Plenty where people live”. Increasingly local councillors have voted the “national” speed limit of 30mph for built-up roads as excessive for up to 94% of their urban roads. Consultation on revised DfT guidance to bring it into line with current practice at local authority level is therefore long overdue. The guidance also incorporates the changes on 20mph limits made in the 2011 signage review which made it cheaper and more flexible for traffic authorities to implement and mix 20mph limits and zones.

The new guidance in principle recognises the strong community benefits for both safer streets and also for developing active travel, community health and more sustainable transport. However, 20’s Plenty for Us believe it misses an opportunity to provide clarity and firm direction on slower speed limits.

Rod King, Founder of 20’s Plenty for Us commented:-

For the last 5 years, progressive local authorities have been implementing authority-wide 20mph speed limits for residential roads in order to make those communities “better places to be”. This is in tune with community aspirations for not only safer streets but more liveable streets. Health professionals have long called for restraint on the speed of vehicles in public spaces to decrease casualties and create healthier communities.

Whilst this proposal better aligns government guidance with local needs, it must recognise that on our crowded urban roads then a 30mph limit is only appropriate in certain conditions. Such a speed limit may have been right in 1934 but only on a minority of urban roads will it now provide the safety, convenience and benefits which communities demand.

With 145 local 20’s Plenty campaigns around the country and our contact with many councils already implementing such schemes, we will be looking to improve the proposals to better reflect the need for clear guidance from central government on a matter which is so important to the liveability of our towns, cities and villages.”

20’s Plenty For Us campaigns for a 20mph default speed limit in residential streets without physical calming. http://www.20splentyforus.org.uk/. You can find out more information about 20's Plenty for Manchester at www.manchester.20splentyforus.org.uk email: manchester@20splentyforus.org.uk.

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