11 December 2013

Majority of roads proposed for 20mph are approved

Councillors at a special meeting of the environment, transport and sustainability committee yesterday (Wednesday, 11 December) approved 20mph limits on streets where the majority of residents want to see them.

A large part of the city centre already has 20mph limits, brought in last April.  The extended area covers a large swathe of suburbs, ranging from Portslade in the west to Moulsecoomb and Whitehawk in the east to Patcham in the north.

Amendments by opposition councillors removed a number of proposed streets from the new scheme or deferred decisions on them.  These include Portland Road which remains at 30mph pending further monitoring.  Stanford Avenue and Preston Drove will stay at 30mph.

A decision on part of Hollingbury bounded by and including Ditchling Road, Surrenden Road, Braybon Avenue and Carden Avenue was deferred indefinitely so stays at 30mph for the foreseeable future.

Following a survey of 58,000 homes, nearly 15,000 people responded to the consultation earlier this year which offered residents the opportunity to share their views on speed limits, including 20mph, in nine areas of the city.

The council wants to introduce more 20mph speed limits to improve safety and the street environment for all road users, including car drivers, by reducing the number and severity of collisions and casualties on the city’s roads.

The majority of those who responded supported 20mph on the street where they lived (53%). People with children showed higher levels of support for 20mph in their street (nearly 60%), as did people with disabilities (63%) and older people (63.3%).  Differences between areas have been addressed by the revised proposals to give most people what they want on the roads where they live.

Committee chair Cllr Pete West said: “It is fantastic that so many people took the time to respond and it is clear that this is an important issue that people care about deeply. The consultation has shown the diverse views that people have on the subject.

“We have listened carefully to all those views and have tailored the next phase of 20mph to those streets where most people want it and where there is a road safety need.”

Early monitoring from the first six months of phase one in the city centre showed a decrease in traffic speed on 74% on the roads, a significant reduction in the number of collisions, and no fatal collisions in the area since 20mph was introduced.

There has been a 20% decrease in the number of collisions and a 19% decrease in the number of casualties - based on five months of 2013 data compared with the three year average for the same five months in the previous three years.

Research shows that a pedestrian is seven times more likely to be killed when hit at 30mph than at 20mph.

Cllr West added: “We hope that by making the streets safer and more pleasant environments it will encourage more walking and cycling, especially for local trips. This will not only bring road safety benefits, but will also help to improve overall health and well being.”

There will be another opportunity for residents to comment on the orders advertising the reduced limits in the new year. A final decision on the second phase will be made in March 2014.

Cllr West said:  “I’m disappointed that we faced late amendments which removed some streets from the 20mph area.  In Hollingbury we had proposed to give the majority of people the speed limit they wanted for their street.  Unfortunately we now cannot do that due to the amendments.  We’re trying to encourage walking and cycling to school and it’s more difficult without 20mph because children have trouble judging the speed of cars.”

“People in Surrenden Road and Braybon Avenue will also be disappointed as their support for 20mph in their roads has been ignored.”