Being in an area that has been selected as a potential new 20 mph zone, I have just received my leaflet from the Council explaining why they are proposing to introduce this limit in my area, and asking me to comment.
Personally I do not need convincing of the value of this, in 2011 over 200,000 people were killed or injured on Britain’s roads, the first rise in 8 years.
The number of pedestrians killed increased by 12% and the number of cyclists seriously injured increased by 16%.
No wonder there is a growing recognition by communities that 30mph is the wrong speed limit for streets with high concentrations of non-motorised traffic.
Lower speeds provide not only safer streets, but also the much wider benefits of Active travel such as increased health, lower noise, lower pollution and the creation of more secure and sociable streets and communities.
Like many authorities before it, Rotherham have just announced that their town centre is to be a 20 mph zone, and Sheffield’s new Fairness Report has just clearly set out the benefits of 20mph speed limits across our City.
Sheffield’s current policy, to ‘endorse a long-term objective of establishing 20mph as the maximum reasonable speed in appropriate residential areas of Sheffield’ was to be rolled out via Community Assemblies, now they are being discontinued, so a rethink is needed and new opportunities can be considered.
Last month the Dept for Transport issued new guidance to help Councils achieve local speed limits that better reflect the needs of all road users. It asks them to keep their speed limits under review with changing circumstances, and to consider the introduction of more 20 mph limits and zones in urban areas and built-up village streets, thus ensuring a greater composition of road users, traveling without fear.
So come on Sheffield, be bold, let’s not be long term and ‘last year’ about this, or be last in the queue for the fantastic benefits to be gained from lower speeds where people live, work and shop. If you are being consulted on 20 mph in your area, register your support, and if you aren’t, lobby your councillor for your own 20 speed limit.
If you want to see the evidence for this initiative, and also get answers to the many questions people understandably have, go to 20s Pleny for Sheffield and check out the fact sheets.
Richard Attwood S6