Twenty – what’s in it for us?

Yesterday Newcastle City Council said it had analysed data that showed their 20mph speed limits reduce collisions and incidents:
– Chronicle http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/communities/fenham/2012/09/14/newcastle-s-20mph-speed-limits-reduce-accidents-72703-31833408/
– Newcastle City Council press release http://www.newcastle.gov.uk/news-story/drop-accidents-city-streets

Without having seen the figures it’s hard to comment in detail. The feeling is however one of “well done” and “of course it would”. The conversion which took place in six phases over three years now sees “of the 3,813 streets and roads in the city – including primary routes and A and B roads – all 3,438 neighbourhood streets carry a 20 mph speed limit, representing 90% of all routes in Newcastle” converted to the much safer and more civilised 20mph limit. Source http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/north-east-news/evening-chronicle-news/2011/12/16/tyneside-street-speed-limits-curbed-at-20mph-72703-29964882/

All good?

1) Speed limits can result in hindering the implementation of walking and cycling improvements. Sadly a speed limit doesn’t guarantee for a 20mph speed on a particular stretch of road and the 85%ile (real speed) can remain much higher. We’d suggest speed checks be carried out particularly in streets where people have raised specific concerns or ‘rat runs’ have formed.

2) A majority of people so it seems are not aware that they live or work in a 20mph city, so that public awareness continues to be a huge problem.

3) Whilst some pragmatism appears to have been used and many streets have been fitted with a 20mph limit, which we welcome, there are some anomalies the council should look at to make the speed limit and Newcastle’s intention clearer to the driver.

Cllr Henri Murison again: “We will now be promoting the importance of slowing down to all drivers who live or work in the city when they are in residential streets. If we are going to encourage more people to walk and cycle, we will need to continue to work tirelessly to make our roads safer.”

We agree.

Low cost car-restraint measures, official enforcement and possibly community speed watch groups should now follow the physical conversion. Will be interesting to see what exactly the council does next.