20's plenty for Norwich, without further delay!
At tomorrow's meeting of the Norwich City Council Executive, ruling Labour councillors will consider a proposal from council officers to introduce pilot areas of 20mph zones in residential streets, rather than bringing in 20mph zones across all unclassified residential streets in the city at once.
Readers of this blog will be aware that in May the Norwich Highways Agency Committee approved a proposal from me for a blanket 20mph limit. Green Party Councillors including myself are very concerned that the proposal under consideration tomorrow will prove an ineffective, slow and counter-productive way of beginning the introduction of 20mph limits across all residential areas of Norwich. There already exist a number of 20mph zones in Norwich; we cannot see why further 'pilot areas' are necessary.
I have asked the following two questions of Council officers:
1) Isn't there a danger that a 'pilot areas' approach would negate the central intention of the proposed blanket 20mph scheme -- namely, that drivers will understand that on all residential (unclassified) roads, they are to expect a 20mph limit?
2) Why can't we take the implementation of similar schemes already achieved or underway in places like Portsmouth, South Lanarkshire, and on the Continent, as evidence enough that this approach can work?
Moreover, the areas that are being proposed for pilot 20mph schemes would clearly benefit from lower vehicle speeds - but so would residential streets in other parts of the city. Part of the problem at the moment is the way that speed limits vary from one residential area to another. Introducing a blanket 20mph limit would mean that drivers and residents across the city knew where they stood. It should help improve air quality and pedestrian safety and also encourage more people to walk and cycle.