Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Lewisham's borough-wide 20mph plans - a good news update

Not just an excuse to use this picture again, I promise...

At next Wednesday's Mayor and Cabinet (14th Jan), a paper is being presented for a decision on the plans for implementing a borough-wide 20mph speed limit in Lewisham. This follows on from the Labour Party manifesto pre-election which made it a Mayoral commitment.

The key decision document is on the council website, and the main thing to note is that the report is seeking approval from the mayor "for the proposed approach for the implementation of a 20mph speed limit on all borough roads, and proposes a programme of work covering the planning and delivery period between 2014 and 2017."

The report says that while introducing 20mph limits on 65% of the borough's roads has helped address a number of casualty hotspots, it's now time for a new approach focussing on addressing the inequality that now remains for vulnerable road users in the remaining 35%. They point out that often the borough's most disadvantaged people live closest to main roads and therefore would benefit more from implementing 20mph borough-wide, this ought to have the knock on effect of, eventually, reducing health inequalities by, for example increasing life expectancy of the most disadvantaged borough residents by more than the rest.

It's also now possible to implement 20mph zones more cheaply, since it can be done through signage and road markings, rather than through physical measures. This would also mean that, eventually, the behaviour and attitudes of road users would change. However, the report acknowledges that signed-only areas aren't ideal where before speeds are relatively high and therefore other targeted interventions may be needed in addition in these areas, e.g. by engineering measures or by use of speed cameras.

The overall plan set out by Lewisham is as follows (copied from the report):

1. Agree overall approach, governance and funding (Dec 2014) (presumably this is now Jan 15)

2. Data collection of speeds/ analysis of data (six months from Jan 15 - June 15).

3. Consultation with key stakeholders such as the emergency services, TfL, and neighbouring authorities - Police are likely to object to the borough wide implementation initially as some roads may not be suitable without traffic calming to ensure self-enforcing compliance. We will work closely with the Met Police to work out issues and resolve them so we can deliver a joined up approach and a successful implementation process throughout the scheme. (Jan 15 - Sept 15).

4. Review policy relating to the design of 20mph areas and the programme of work for the introduction of the limit. (Sep 15 – Mar 16)

5. Complete the required programme of work for Traffic orders and implementation (April 16 - July 16). This assumes minimal work on the ground at this stage.

6. Design options (interventions) to encourage\enforce compliance (May 17 - Oct 17)

7. Arrange formal consultation on compliance measures with emergency services and buses (Sept 17 - Dec 2017).

8. Carry out a widespread ‘hearts and minds’ publicity and public information campaign as part of LB Lewisham's new Road Safety Plan Jan 2015 to March 2018.

This means implementation will start in March 2016.

Lewisham intend on doing a publicity campaign around the introduction of the limit, focussing on fairness for all road users. There will be information materials (presumably signs) at borough entry points "making drivers aware that they are entering a borough that is committed to reducing casualties and making the roads safe for all road users."

The programme has been costed at £1.23m, and will be funded from council reserves.

The estimated breakdown is as follows (taken from the report):

I'm really excited that this is finally happening, and pleased to have played a tiny part in pushing the council in the right direction. Let's hope all runs smoothly and we finally get the 20mph borough we deserve!

Update 18:15, 14th January: The Mayor approved the plans tonight, so hopefully it's all systems go!


SE4 Resident said...

What a terrible idea. Its virtually impossible to drive a 20 mph. Will cyclists have to obey such a speed limit?

Matt said...

@SE4 Resident, cyclists do not have to obey speed limits as they are person powered as opposed to mechanically propelled but police could charge you with 'wanton and furious driving', or dangerous, careless or inconsiderate cycling. That said, cycling at 20-25 mph as opposed to driving at that speed as less harmful in the event of a collision for a pedestrian, say, as bicycles are lighter than cars, and cyclists must be extra careful as they are as likely to be hurt in crashes, whereas motorists are in a metal cage.

When you say 'it is impossible to drive at 20 mph', is it because in some 20 mph zones when driving you sometimes feel bullied into going faster? Sometimes that can happen but some boroughs use speed cameras, average speed checks and signage to warn would-be speeders so that helps.

Finally, while 20 mph is good for reducing casualties and making it easier to cross the road, on its own it is not enough to encourage mass cycling. Lewisham must also provide cycle paths on busy routes and in other areas use strategic road closures, contra flow one ways and other measures to separate cyclists from large volumes of traffic

Clare said...

@SE4 Resident It is not virtually impossible to drive at 20mph. It's perfectly possible, just put your car in the right gear. Most of Lewisham's streets aren't safe enough to go any faster!

Agree, Matt, on its own it's not enough to encourage mass cycling. We need segregated space and road closures to do that.

Tom said...

Not being one to resist a strawman argument when matches are available: the vast majority of cyclists will be going at under 20mph anyhow, as going any quicker is pretty hard work for those of us sadly lacking Froome-y levels of power and endurance.

Taking a chunk of the A20 in Lewisham as an example (as it's flat, well surfaced, not too full of potholes, and signed 30mph - ideal for demon cyclists like me to go full-tilt), Strava shows only 62 riders (of over 1300 measured) who've ever exceeded 20mph. And that's Strava - an app used by cyclists who want to know they're going quickly.

So, you know, I think we'll cope somehow. Oh, and top driving tip: to slow to 20mph, lift your right foot up a bit. There you go.

Anonymous said...

Why anyone needs to go faster than that in an urban area is beyond me (except emergency services which have good reason, sirens and flashing lights). It is unlikely most of those traveling fast really need to do so - it's just impatience and arrogance, not thinking about pedestrians. We all have to compromise in a busy city and not driving too fast is hardly a great burden.

Unknown said...

yup, lift your foot up... and if the car starts "chugging", change down a gear...

It's not rocket science...