|Headline from local campaign years ago!|
Dear Mr Wilson,
I write in support of the 20 mph zone for Stroud. I think this is a very positive and exciting development that will continue to build on a culture change that is needed to slow traffic, reduce casualties and create more liveable streets.
As District Councillor for Randwick, Whiteshill and Ruscombe I have had many conversations about traffic in this ward and some in neighbouring areas - and reducing speeds has been repeatedly high on residents' list of concerns.There has been overwhelmingly support for 20 mph in residential areas. For 8 years we campaigned in this area to slow speeds; it was great to see such large sections of the community support the campaign. I am delighted we now have a 20 mph zone across the ward. Indeed my only disappointment with the Stroud scheme is that it is not a wider area linking up with this ward and extending over other residential areas.
However I don't think we should be fooled that 20 mph is the whole answer. Traffic will continue to speed but I am convinced 20 mph will lead to lower speeds, less speeding and a start to shift the culture of speeding. For too long we have seen 30 mph as the speed for residential areas and have got so used to that, that many find 20 mph uncomfortably slow. The more 20 mph is seen as the default the more it will help in that much-needed culture change. 20 mph will also allow us to look further at other traffic calming measures to support the 20 mph - not more humps and bumps but more along the lines of the Shared Spaces approach.
In support of this move I would like to make some further comments:
- 20 mph is safer. When a pedestrian is hit by a car at 40 mph they only have a 15% chance of surviving, at 30mph, 55%, but at 20mph the chance of survival increases to 95%. This is more than sufficient justification for a default 20 mph in urban areas. Amazingly even a 1 mph drop in average speed is estimated to reduce accidents by 6% in urban areas.
- 20 mph is more pleasant; 20 mph limits help create 'living streets' as this is the speed at which drivers can have eye contact with other users of the street. It is the speed at which pedestrians feel more confident about crossing the road, children play outside their homes and it is quiet enough to hold a conversation. Research has also found that residents of busy streets have less than one quarter the number of local friends than those on streets with little traffic. 20 mph is about reinforcing positive aspects of our villages and towns, reducing noise and discouraging through traffic. 30mph is just too fast for the mix of narrow roads, parked cars and limited footpaths, especially for children, dog walkers and cyclists.
- 20 mph doesn't impact significantly on journey times: in urban areas 20mph has been shown to lengthen average journey times by only 30 seconds. In some areas traffic in 20 mph zones ran more smoothly and led to less queueing at key junctions.
- 20 mph can cut CO2 emissions and increase health; research shows that 20mph limits are a critical success factor in promoting walking, cycling and public transport as alternatives to the private car. This means less CO2 emissions and healthier residents.
- 20 mph are increasingly seen as the way to go; Lancashire have adopted a countywide 20 mph, while Portsmouth's 20 scheme has cut serious injuries and deaths by 22%. Newcastle, Leicester, Oxford, Hull, Bristol and many more towns, are among councils that are introducing blanket 20 mph limits on residential streets.
All the best - Philip
Cllr Philip Booth, Stroud District councillor for Randwick, Whiteshill and Ruscombe ward