21 October 2023
Green campaigners have welcomed County Council plans to extend 20mph zones across St Albans, but say the County Council are missing a trick and could be carrying out the work in a way that is much cheaper, easier and more effective.
Herts County Council has recently installed 20mph signs across the city centre, and has just announced a further consultation on an area round Fleetville. The new plans include physical traffic calming measures for some roads where average speeds have been measured above 24mph.
Green Councillor Juliet Voisey said, “We welcome the extension of 20mph speeds, as they make streets quieter, safer and more attractive for people on legs and wheels. But the method the Council is using is unnecessarily expensive and intrusive.”
According to the Greens and the 20sPlenty national organisation, the latest government guidance is that physical traffic calming is not needed, and signs only in streets where police are likely to enforce speeds.
Cllr Voisey added, “If the Council simply imposed a default 20mph limit in built-up streets, it would be easier, cheaper and more effective, with fewer signs everywhere and no annoying speed bumps. The Council should be spending money on publicising the change, rather than building speed humps. The lower limits then become largely self-enforcing as people get used to driving a bit slower, and because you can’t drive faster than the vehicle in front of you.”
20mph default speeds in built-up areas was agreed unanimously by St Albans Council after a motion brought forward by the Green party. Such default speeds are common across Europe (30kph) and large parts of the UK, including the whole of Wales. Monitoring of the 20mph schemes in London shows that since they were introduced, the number of collisions has reduced by 25% (from 406 to 304), and collisions resulting in death or serious injury have also reduced by 25% (from 94 to 71).