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Agenda item

20 mph Speed Limits: Your City Results and an Update on Policy Development

This report presents residents opinions gathered through the recent consultation on citywide 20mph speed limits undertaken through Your City and reports on the initial impact of the trial in the Fishergate area. The report also informs the Executive Member of the options for revising the policy on 20mph limits in the city.

Decision:

RESOLVED:            That the Executive Member for City Strategy agrees to:

i) Note the results of the 20mph speed limit consultation.

ii) Confirm the Councils current policies on setting speed limits within the City of York Council area.

iii) Requests officers to consider how greater influence could be given to local communities and neighbourhoods in determining the speed limits applied to residential streets in their areas.

 

REASON:To enable a policy on 20mph speed limits to be developed in line with amended national guidance.

Minutes:

The Executive Member considered a report which presented residents opinions gathered through the recent consultation on citywide 20mph speed limits undertaken through Your City. Details of the initial impact of the 20mph trial in the Fishergate area were also reported. Consideration was given to the options available together with the impact of the introduction of 20mph limits in other cities.

 

Officers confirmed that, as a precautionary measure, the speed surveys had been retaken in the Fishergate area following a couple of issues with equipment and signage. It was confirmed that the speed data results had been very similar to those already published in the report.

 

Representations were made by the 20’s Plenty for Us Group representative who detailed the benefits to be gained from lowering speed limits to improve safety, cut pollution levels and encourage smarter travel choices. She referred to the success of the Grange Street trial and to the high level of respondents to the consultation in support of the introduction of 20mph limits on all roads within the outer ring road. She therefore supported a 2 year phased introduction of these limits without the need to install physical traffic calming measures together with its inclusion in the LTP3.

 

Representations were also received from a resident of her experiences as a road safety/school travel adviser over a 4/5 year period and work in Munster and the evidence that this provided. She confirmed that this had shown how widespread 20mph zones and low cost compliance could boost cycling and walking in vulnerable key age groups and support Council projects such as Cycling City. She therefore requested the Executive Member to reconsider the recommendations.

 

Representations were received from an organiser of a petition on behalf of residents seeking a 20mph speed limit on Bishopthorpe Road and surrounding streets. He referred to the speed of vehicles on this heavily residential road and to the absence of a pedestrian crossing. Also pointing out that a lowering of the speed limit would not increase journey times but would assist vulnerable residents.

 

Councillor Gillies referred to the inconclusive trials in Fishergate and to national guidance which provided little evidence that 20mph limits had a significant affect. He pointed out that the introduction of a blanket 20mph speed limit would require half the present transport budget, diverting funds from other important works. He confirmed that he had written to the DfT suggesting a potential way forward in line with the localism agenda. He proposed legislation which would allow local authorities to erect signs indicating that drivers should travel at 20mph under the existing speed signs in 30mph zones for implementation nationwide. This would meet the expectations of all groups, be compulsory, not advisory and have the same affect for less money.

 

Councillor Merrett confirmed that he echoed the comments of the earlier speakers. He stated that both the volume and speed of traffic was a major deterrent to cyclist’s safety. He stated that a different approach was required which did not simply require signage but sought to engage the hearts and minds of the public. He therefore requested the Executive Member to reconsider his draft recommendation and support Option B with further exploration of the options for 20mph speed limits and reductions in signage costs.

 

Officers confirmed that they felt that, in view of the response received and as there had already been a 22% reduction in accidents in the York area that further investigation/options were required prior to any revision of the existing policy.

 

The Executive Member confirmed the Council’s current policy of applying the most appropriate speed limit to a road or group of roads bearing in mind their characteristics. Any requests for changes were then considered at approximately 6 monthly intervals. He went on to refer to the consultation undertaken on the provision of a citywide 20mph zone, to the low response rate and claims made regarding reductions in accident levels in residential streets. He confirmed that his conclusions were that there was some support in limited parts of the city however he was not convinced that the introduction of a city wide zone was either necessary or would have a favourable impact on overall accident levels.

 

The priority the Executive Member felt was to continue to educate drivers and focus on problem locations. He therefore wished to continue supporting the current approach and went on to consider the following options:

 

Option A. To continue with current policy and to proceed with the South Bank trial to enable officers to assess the benefits or otherwise of 20mph speed limits in York.

Option B. To undertake more detailed feasibility work for the two citywide 20mph speed limit options included in the consultation and present recommendations to a future decision session meeting.

Option C. To undertake more detailed feasibility work for the introduction of 20 mph limits on all roads and present recommendations to a future decision session meeting.

 

RESOLVED:            That the Executive Member for City Strategy agrees to:

 

i)                   Note the results of the 20mph speed limit consultation.

 

ii)         Confirm the Councils current policies on setting speed limits within the City of York Council area.

 

iii)        Requests officers to consider how greater influence could be given to local communities and neighbourhoods in determining the speed limits applied to residential streets in their areas. 1.

 

REASON:            To enable a policy on 20mph speed limits to be developed in line with amended national guidance.

Supporting documents:

 

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