A petition was brought to Full Council recently
asking to remove 20mph limits in the city.
I spoke out against it
– ie in defence of our limits – why does this matter? I made a number of comments there, mainly drawn from these points below.
It’s also significant to clarify that we do not have 20mph Zones in most of the city (with a couple of localised exceptions); only 20mph speed limits are in place – very few areas are provided with physical treatment to curb speeds that would create effective zones.
I mentioned some key issues to Full Council.
– There’s rising support for 20mph where the limits exist – including all local wards that have them including my own, Redland, plus Bishopston, Cotham, Ashley, and Easton. Basically where we have them the majority who signed any petition want them.
– It’s not my main concern to listen to the many 000s of out of town commuters who signed the Bristol petition to get the 20 limit removed at our local expense – when in fact it was actually national government funding from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund that paid for the limit to be put in place. The drivers from outside our area are being curbed from speeding (rat-running commuters seem to want to speed through as they are not visiting the neighbourhood itseelf), but it’s our residents being served by safer streets when traffic speeds are curbed.
– Of course having the basic limits is not enough: signs alone only reduce speeds a little from 30 or more; we need enforcement more often and physical measures where roads are fast and wide.
– Whole routes need to be made safe, not just roads by schools – eg the whole journey to school, shop, doctor, park, etc needs to be at safer speeds. It’s disingenuous to say the road by a school can be 20 but not the route there.
– Reaction times mean the reduction in speed actually cuts collisions as there’s time to see a situation and actually brake.
– Slower speeds mean less damage and fewer fatalities as less destructive energy is created by the two vehicles impacting in any actual collision (eg 30+30 head on, versus 20+20).
– I also pointed out that most of our main roads and high streets are actually our shopping streets and have residents along them. It would be highly detrimental to our sense of community and the viability of local traders to bring back 30mph traffic through our neighbourhoods.
– Steady, calm driving actually saves fuel – acceleration followed by braking in fact wastes fuel. Given most roads have crossings, lights, and hazards then slower, steadier speeds means lower fuel bills and less wear and tear on brakes as they get used less often. So calmer, better driving helps the driver, too.
– Even long commuter journeys, eg the length of Gloucester Rd, is hardly slower at lower speeds, as so much of the journey will never be made at 30mph. There are crossings, lights, junctions, people parking, buses pulling out, etc. Average journey time will only be seconds longer if the maximum speed is 30. So why the need to rush (see comment on braking etc)?
Hence the fact many Greens want to campaign and defend a positive feature of many neighbourhoods that affects so many people. I wonder at the politicians who seemed to be arguing that because this initiative was not widely consulted and might need a few minor adjustments even though several key arterial roads are already excluded, then it should even be considered valid to dismantle the measure and risk a larger number and more serious accidents across the city?
Our neighbourhood also works with the police to promote
Community Speed watch – where residents are supported by police with pocket radar devices to monitor passing traffic in their streets. Those recorded speeding can be sent warningletters by the police if details are noted. At a third warning letter, from regular surveys inthe same street, the driver will also get a note reminding them of any other offcences they may have accumulated.
The council speeches are here:
Look for what my colleague Charlie Bolton and I said, among several other speeches listed.
Here is the link. Please sign and share. I’ll be interested to see who defends the signatories when it triggers its own debate at another Full Council. (see below):
When the petition triggered a debate at full council in 2016 I wanted to contribute as it’s a theme brought up regularly on the doorstep, with many residentns calling for safer speeds to be enforced, not limits raised. So here’s the speech I made in support of it: Speaking for 20mph limits (Recent petition) – Full Council – March 2016 http://bit.ly/1Xl3WaA – quick link