Speed limits – the time for change?
Why do we need slower traffic? The evidence is accumulating that slower traffic speeds reduces collisions between vehicles, reduces the injuries to pedestrians and cyclists, and improves the general health of people using those streets. Roads are just not for cars – they are for the people who walk and cycle in that area too.
Evidence from the introduction of large scale schemes of 20mph limits, particularly in Portsmouth and Bristol shows the popularity and success of such changes, with local experience from a scheme in the cathedral area of St Albans providing further information. These schemes have been introduced despite the previous national guidelines not being particularly helpful. However the guidelines have changed this year. The Department for Transport circular 01/2013 was produced in January – click here .This led to Herts CC drafting a revision of their/guidelines – click here.
The timing of the Scrutiny Committee and the Consultation questionnaire might have been different so that the results of the Scrutiny Committee’s deliberations could have been included in the questionnaire, or the consultation response as evidence to the Scrutiny Committee . The County’s draft strategy does include criteria which seem to have been superceded, or at least seriously questioned as appropriate in the light of the Scrutiny Committees evidence.
Herts CC Speed Strategy Questionaire
The County’s request for responses to its strategy can be found at – click here. This closes on November 20th.
If the response to the consultation supports the overwhelming message from the Scrutiny Committee, that lower speeds will benefit the whole community and should be encouraged, then the implementation of the Committees recommendations should be unquestioned.
However the question asked about 20mph merely asks – Do you agree with the revised criteria for 20mph limits and zones? (See section 2 criteria paragraph and 2.6 of the strategy document.
If accepted these strict criteria will make it difficult to apply to have 20mph zones, will make unpopular speed humps and other physical measures necessary, whereas 20mph zones have been introduced elsewhere without them. Saying no to question 1 seems appropriate, but really the question needed to be divided into smaller questions.