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20's Plenty for Europe

From Myra James

Monday, 8 April 2013

It's UN Global Road Safety Week from 6-12 May. With road crash the top cause of avoidable death for our 5-30 year olds, what better time to embrace the concept “20’s plenty where people live” and call for 20mph limits in residential areas throughout the EU? See: www.20mph4.eu.

Everyone, whatever age or level of health, should be able to walk or cycle along their home street without fear.

The All Parliamentary Cycling Group has called for 20pmh limits in residential areas in its report -see Get Britain Cycling.

Over 11 million people in the UK already live in places committed to 20mph limits. We need this in Calderdale - and why not throughout the EU?

The campaign group 20's Plenty For Us wants 20,000 signatures to persuade the EU to help us defend our rights to slower speeds where people live. Please sign this urgent petition and forward it to your friends: www.20mph4.eu.

To get involved in campaigning for 20pmh limits in Calderdale contact calderdale@20splentyforus.org.uk.

From Graham Barker

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

How about a 20 mph limit through the middle of Hebden Bridge?

From Dave R

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

I am not sure if Graham's proposal is made tongue in cheek or not. Have you ever managed to drive faster than 20mph through Hebden.
Aside from that, isn't lowering the speed limit increasing pollution. We already have one of the worst smog spots through Hebden Bridge.

From Graham Barker

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Definitely tongue in cheek, David. Depending on time of day, traffic on Market Street frequently exceeds 20 mph by a very wide margin, despite all the signage.

Your point about slower traffic increasing pollution is a good one, as it's occurred to me too. But in a trade-off between a significant increase in safety and a marginal increase in pollution, I think I'd go for safety.

It all reminds me of a Spike Milligan joke: 'Keep death off the roads - get home quick'.

From Myra James

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

The idea behind the 20's Plenty For Us campaign is wide area 20mph limits in streets where people live, shop etc., ideally covering an entire town. This approach is called "Total 20".

In Germany it was discovered that in 30km/h (18mph) areas drivers braked and changed gear less and used less fuel, reducing pollution.

Safer streets encourage more people to walk and cycle so Total 20 has the potential to reduce traffic congestion.

20mph is also quieter than 30mph, making for a more comfortable environment.

More active lifestyles, fewer casualties, cleaner air, safer places to live - all add up to massive public health advantages.

Local authorities all over the country are implementing Total 20 or preparing to do so. This is an idea whose time has come. About time Calderdale jumped on the bandwagon I'd say.

From Iain Harrison

Friday, 3 May 2013

As things stand, 20 mph limits seem to only be considered on the grounds of safety. Unless there is blood on the tarmac, no community gets a chance of a 20 limit.

But that is a very blinkered approach. Reducing the speed of traffic is as much a quality of life issue as a safety issue.

It is already an offence to drive in a way or at a speed that is unsafe, whatever the speed limit. But it is not an offence to make people's lives unpleasant from the noise and disturbance caused by driving fast.

This 20's plenty initiative appears to be looking at more than just road safety, but out councils do not share that breadth of vision.

How do we get the local councils to consider quality of life as a significant criterion for setting a limit?


From Myra James

Saturday, 4 May 2013

I couldn't agree more Iain. I'm sure we can all think of stretches of road where it is little short of a miracle that no-one has been killed. Perceived danger isn't given sufficient weight. Fear of traffic discourages people from walking and cycling and confines elderly and disabled people to their homes. A report by the World Health Organisation, "Pedestrian Safety: a road safety manual for decision-makers and practitioners" concludes that reducing vehicle speed is one of the most effective ways of improving pedestrian safety and lists as a proven intervention "area-wide lower speed limit programmes, for example, 30 km/h" (20mph).

From Graham Barker

Saturday, 4 May 2013

On the face of it, Calderdale supports 20 mph limits in residential areas - see Casualty Reduction Schemes.

But it's all lip service. What's missing is any mention of enforcement, which is certainly the big problem with the 20 mph zone through Hebden Bridge. The police haven't the resources to enforce it, and Calderdale's highways 'experts' basically don't care about pedestrian safety. As a result, the 20 mph limit is a joke, and will probably be a joke wherever else it's introduced.

Iain is perfectly right. Calderdale follows the insane logic of doing nothing about road safety until the bodies stack up. That's rather like saying: 'Let's not bother putting doors on this lift shaft until at least five people have fallen down it'.

For several years now I've been trying to get Calderdale interested in improving safety at the pedestrian crossing by Holt's. A frequent hazard is eastbound traffic backing up, so that vehicles drive over the crossing during the 'green man' phase. Call me naive, but I think that needs fixing. Yet Calderdale's Richard Binks, and before him the late Nigel Pickles, simply look at the casualty statistics and declare that there is no problem to be solved.

Quotes from a recent email to me from Richard Binks give some sense of the degree of official complacency.

On the 20 mph limit:

'20 zones are as noted regularly abused, but monitoring has proven the average speed does drop overall and instances of clear high speed abuse diminishes also, so the strategy is popular'

So that's all right then. As long as drivers appear to be slackening speed - perhaps from 40 to 35 - the 20 mph limit is working. (Though what 'the strategy is popular' means remains a mystery.)

And on my suggestion for a yellow box at the Holt's junction as an at least partial solution to the backing-up problem:

'Installation of a box junction would be visually intrusive and unlikely to address vehicle entry/captive issues given the highway blockage occurs at bus stop several car lengths beyond the junction, in essence the motorist would have to predict the queue stopping some 80m in advance prior to entering the box which is unlikely.'

This is total cobblers. On that reasoning let's eliminate all yellow boxes, as it would apply to most of them.

So getting back to 20 mph limits: I'm in favour of them. I think drivers who speed should be forced out of their cars at gunpoint and made to walk. Preferably without shoes. But I don't see any point in limits that are held in contempt not just by drivers, but also by the people responsible for implementing and enforcing them.