Croydon Council Members of the Traffic Management Advisory Committee have now approved 20 mph limits in areas covering North West, South-East and South-West. These will join the areas which were covered in the first phase of the operation- the North and the North-West.
The 20mph limit covers every street in the borough except the important bus routes and major intersecting roads which host more traffic with the 3 remaining areas to come into effect by May 2018.
Where did this policy originate from?
The proposal has always been a part of the current administration’s manifesto commitments and in line with the Council’s objective of making the roads safer and more pleasant for community residents. This was also done with an eye to encourage safer and more sustainable modes of transport such as cycling and walking.
The council’s approach was to include the residents and the community in the decision-making process as a means of validating the need for this policy. Although traffic management was the key objective, understanding the other benefits this policy could have needed to come from the residents themselves. Through a wide survey conducted in the identified areas in 2015, the council discovered that a majority of the residents supported this idea. Many of them felt this policy would help them on a personal level and the larger community, as a whole but some started a petition to derail the move through their say no to 20 campaign.
The council believes that the policy should not affect the main road network as doing so would only encourage drivers to speed through the residential roads. Not making changes to the main road network would reduce the administrative burden and any potential operational nightmares, as by retaining the signal timings of road junctions; journey times would not be affected.
Is this speed safer?
According to the Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents, if a pedestrian is hit by a vehicle travelling at 20 mph, there is much less likely chance of a fatality as compared to a higher chance at even 30 mph. Slower speeds can also reduce collisions and as a result, collision damage as cars travelling at that speed have a significantly longer time to react.
Visibility and Accountability
In order to ensure these road changes have the desired effect, the roads included in this policy would have 20 mph signs and any drivers caught violating these rules can expect substantial fines, points on their license or in extreme cases, even prosecution.
In order to ensure that violators don’t get away, the Council has installed number plate recognition speed visors. This will essentially be a record of the drivers’ speed and any discrepancy will be automatically reported to the Metropolitan Police.
Traffic management has been an issue and this is a significant step in reducing the issues related to mismanagement. It is understandable that not everyone will follow this rule from the outset; however the Council expects a lot more responsibility from its community residents as they themselves have contributed to this decision. If the speeds do not reduce in time, the council has provisioned for measures such as stronger enforcement by the police or traffic calming measures, which could help this cause.