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Thoughts on the borough-wide 20mph speed limit consultation

Thoughts on the borough-wide 20mph speed limit consultation

By Brian Holder, Leader of the Teddington Society Roads & Transport Group

All residents in the borough will by now have received a leaflet about the possible introduction of a blanket 20mph speed limit across the borough except for the A316 (Chertsey Road) and A205 (South Circular).

Residents have been asking about the Society’s policies on 20mph Zones and Speed Limits in general. These and many other questions were addressed in the 2001-02 Teddington Town Centre Improvements Study’s Residents Parking report, which included the recommendation below which, if adopted, would have resulted in all the roads around the Station becoming “20mph Home Zones”.

The average traffic speed in both areas was well under 20mph, so no expensive humps (very unpopular) or unsightly signing would have been required. In fact, Colin Tether, the Traffic Engineer in charge of the Study, arranged for the tarmac covering on the attractive granite blocks at the entrance to Adelaide Road (by Park Lane Surgery) to be removed to create a natural starting point for the recommended west side Home Zone. On the east side of the Station he put in tables and build-outs at the High Street entrances of all side roads to create clear entrances to the recommended east side Home Zone. Unfortunately, the Council chose not to accept these recommendations.

10.2 20 mph “Safety Zones”
The question of excessive traffic speeds has been raised at various study meetings, and it has become clear that the areas selected for our initial parking proposals have natural boundaries which lend themselves to the introduction of 20 mph Safety Zones (along the lines of Home Zones). Advisory signs would be put up at the entrance to each road. Calming may not be necessary as the roads are all fairly narrow and are heavily parked. If the experiments are a success, other similar discrete Zones could be created.
Recommendation 27. That experimental 20mph zones be introduced in the two areas selected for consultation about the possible introduction of parking schemes.

The Teddington Society’s transport and parking policies have been broadly based on the Teddington Study’s recommendations since 2001-02. Many of the report’s recommendations have since been adopted, both locally and elsewhere.

Since 2002, the Society’s policy has been to support:
• 20mph Zones around schools;
• 20mph Zone in Broad Street and High Street**
• 20mph Zone in Park Lane and roads both sides of Teddington Station;
• Traffic calming in all side roads suffering from rat-running drivers;
• Family-Friendly cycle routes across Teddington;
• 24/7 HGV bans except for local deliveries within the borough;
• Clear road signing to reduce the need for use of satnavs;
• Better road signing on all approach roads, to divert drivers to other routes.

**Kerb buildouts and better managed parking were introduced to make both safer for everyone

Will the introduction of 20mph zones improve air quality?
It is clear that whoever wrote this leaflet was struggling to find an official report that had categorical proof that air quality is improved in 20mph Zones. From reports from various parts of the country where 20mph Zones have been introduced, assuming no changes in traffic patterns, none examined has claimed improved air quality. In the case of Teddington, I would expect air quality to remain broadly the same if new 20mph Zones are limited to traffic calmed side roads, and significantly worse if all through roads are included. Taking a simple example, on a one-mile stretch of road (about the length of Chestnut Avenue) a car travelling at 20mph in third gear will take three minutes to pass through, 50% longer than a car driving though at 30mph in fourth gear, so will pollute for an extra minute for each mile travelled.

Police decline to enforce 20mph speed limits
The local police have consistently declined to enforce 20mph speed limits, which caused the cancellation of the experimental 20mph Zone in Hampton Village, saying that physical speed reduction features such as road humps should be used. The police will provide speed detection equipment for public use, but without police presence, offenders cannot be prosecuted.

Will accident numbers be reduced?
The Council has discontinued the policy of making accident figures publicly available, but it is unlikely that the figures will deviate much from the current fairly low levels in Teddington.

Walking and cycling impact
Teddingtonians tend to walk and cycle more than the average residents of other parts of the borough which has led Teddington to have the least obese Year 6 children in the borough. The existence of our four family-friendly and safe cycle routes, plus easy access to our wonderful Bushy Park for walking and cycling are major factors in keeping residents active and well.

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