20’s Plenty for Wandsworth
20mph as the basic speed limit on Wandsworth Borough roads, not 30mph. Unthinkable? But
over 5 six million people in the UK now live in areas where the basic speed limit has been brought down to 20mph, or it is being done on a pilot basis, or the local council is awaiting County Council permission.
Public opinion is changing on this issue, and often local politicians, highway engineers and police authorities are scrabbling to catch up with what more and more people now want – lower speeds on our local roads.
- Bringing down the speed limit is the single biggest factor in reducing the numbers of people killed or injured on our streets;
- improving public health and reversing the trend towards more and more obesity (by encouraging more walking and cycling);
- reducing urban noise and air pollution that so often make the experience of being out and about on our streets so unpleasant;
- cutting back on gridlocked roads as people switch to public transport, cycles and walking, and use local shops instead of distant megastores.
If our streets are to be places where we can enjoy using, being, and spending time, then a vital first step is lowering the speed limit that came into existence nearly 80 years ago when there were only a tiny number of private cars on the road.
Lots is happening already. The Putney Society and Wandsworth Cycling Campaign have long pushed for a fundamental re-think on speed limits in the borough.
The Council has slowly, slowly bowed to local pressure and declared individual local streets around schools 20mph zones. In doing so, Councillors have conceded many of the main arguments in favour of a 20mph speed limit on local residential and shopping streets. But the Council still cannot seem to see why a borough-wide approach is both infinitely cheaper than a street by street, or zone, approach; or why a borough-wide 20mph speed limit will be far more effective in achieving a modal shift to other means of travel in London.
The Wandsworth Environment Forum, which is a member of the Local Strategic Partnership with the Council, is in discussion with the Cabinet Member responsible for Transportation, Cllr Ravi Govindia, to set up a Working Group to look into the issue of a borough-wide 20mph speed limit in Wandsworth. This initiative is being supported by various local groups, including the amenity societies.
Much work needs to be done. We need to informing local residents about the case for 20mph,and get their support. We need to work with Councillors and Officers to get them to understand why so many other cities and areas are adopting a 20mph approach. And we need to examine the potential gains for all of us, including car drivers, in Wandsworth.
If you want to know more and get involved, please contact: Susie Morrow
- Living Streets national campaign
- 20s Plenty for us (This website is a mine of information for campaigners, and Wandsworth Living Streets is working closely with this public spirited and highly expert group.)
- 20mph Facts
- Busting the Myths about 20mph
- Leaflet – 20s Plenty for Wandsworth
- Answering Objections to 20mph Speed Limit, 30 June 2011