THERE is clearly a lot of confusion over the council’s proposals to introduce 20 mph limits this confusion is reflected in the hundreds of public comments and some confused statements made by our councillors.

There needs to be an understanding between the difference between 20 mph limits and 20 mph zones.

20mph limits – are indicated by speed limit signs only; and 20mph zones – are designed to be ‘self-enforcing’ through the introduction of traffic calming measures (e.g. speed humps and chicanes).

Typically it costs some 10 times more to implement 20 mph zone than a 20 mph limit. A well designed 20 mph zone will force drivers to reduce their speed to less than 20 mph whereas a 20 mph limit relies on police enforcement. Typically changing a 30 mph limit to a 20 mph limit will reduce average traffic speeds by 1 to 2 mph.

The council report identifies 3 options

1) Do nothing

2) Install 20 mph zones across the conurbation.

3) Roll out 20 mph limits across the conurbation.

The council has a statutory duty to keep its road network safe to risk assess, monitor and improve safety where necessary so option 1 does not exist, option 2 is clearly ridiculous it would be ludicrously expensive to implement 20 mph zones across the conurbation and much of the investment would serve no purpose. That leaves councillors with only one option, but this is also an inappropriate option. What the council has not defined is what problem these options are attempting to solve. We have solutions but no defined problems. Option 3 might reduce average speeds by 1 to 2 mph and it might reduce accident rates by 2 to 5per cent but if that may be 5 per cent of nothing.

Simply installing 20 mph signs will not achieve notable improvements in Active Travel,

I would suggest that there is a fourth more appropriate option which would be to adopt the most appropriate solutions to specific areas. Within 250 m of where I live in West Cliff there are primary roads where speeds substantially exceed 30 mph and are unsafe, speed limits need to be enforced, there are roads that are unsafe and need traffic calming measures, there are roads that need no action and there are areas of chaotic on street parking that need a coordinated parking strategy. The development of active travel is primarily hindered by parking on street issues rather than traffic speeds. What the current research says is: “Appropriate consideration and articulation of the strategic rationale for the scheme, the objectives to be delivered, and intended outcomes is a key requirement for ensuring any intervention is effective and delivers maximum value.”

What BCP should be doing is defining what it is attempting to achieve and developing the most appropriate solution to achieve these objectives in each location.

Rolling out 20 mph limits across the conurbation is not appropriate.

Brian Sutcliffe

Somerville Road