A key aim for GPG is to help make Penarth a more environmentally friendly, healthier and safer place to live and work.
T20-Herz-mphOne step that would help in all these areas would be the introduction of a 20mph speed limit in the town centre and residential streets. There has been growing support for this idea nationwide over the last few years and the measure has already been implemented by over 30 local authorities in the U.K with at least another 12 committed to its implementation.
There are many benefits for a community in implementing the 20mph limit, the most obvious being safer streets for all road users. Lowering residential speed limits to 20mph has been found to decrease child pedestrian accidents by up to 70% and in Portsmouth the introduction of the 20mph limit has reduced casualties by 22%.
The increased safety on the roads also acts as an encouragement for more people to cycle and walk and helps to create a friendlier and healthier environment for all members of the community.
Other benefits include reductions in noise and air pollution and research shows that the lower limit has a negligible effect on journey times.
The Vale of Glamorgan Council is now looking into the possibility of implementing the 20mph limit in Penarth. A proposal to consult on this idea was on the agenda at the recent Community Cabinet meeting held in Penarth. There was strong public support for the idea at the meeting where all 15 members of the audience who addressed the subject were in favour. The recommendation was approved and the Vale will now be consulting further on the proposal.
GPG would encourage all who think that this is a good idea for our communities to contact their local Councillors to make them aware of public support for the proposal.
More information on the nationwide campaign and the benefits of residential 20mph limits can be found at www.20splentyforus.org.uk
Contact details for Councillors can be found on the Vale website and at writetothem.com

The next GPG public meeting will be taking place on Thursday 21st February, 6.30pm at the Windsor Arms, Windsor Road.The meeting’s theme is ‘Safe Streets / Clean Air’ and will be focusing on the possible benefits of reduced residential speed limits for Penarth and also problems with air pollution in the town. The guest speaker at the meeting will be Rod King, the founder and campaign director of the national 20’s Plenty for Us campaign. Entrance to the meeting is free and open to all.  view poster

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11 Responses

  1. Iif you really believe that introducing a blanket limit will alert drivers to dangers of bumping into vulnerable road users, and be environmentally friendly, you might benefit from doing some research. It’s a fact that driving at a steady slow speed is hypnotic, and if 20mph becomes a “target” speed in peoples’ minds they will often be driving too fast for some conditions. 20 mph is also a speed which many vehicles produce more pollution and waste more fuel…

  2. Have you guys not heard of target fixation? This where the subject focusses so hard on the target that he is oblivious of anything else. It has been proven that where an unnaturally low speed limit is set i.e. 20mph, drivers put so much attention to not exceeding this limit, that they fail too pay attention to anything else. Then we have the problem of sudden braking as drivers decelerate from 40 to 20 mph. By the way, could you quote the sources of the studies which support the statement: “Lowering residential speed limits to 20mph has been found to decrease child pedestrian accidents by up to 70% and in Portsmouth the introduction of the 20mph limit has reduced casualties by 22%. “? I would be happy to study any weblinks relating to these studies……

  3. A 20mph limit will cause more polution, not less; it will create a ‘target’ speed where drivers drive at that speed irrespective of road/traffic/pedestrian conditions; it will invite people to break it because it will take so long to get from ‘a’ to ‘b’: especially when the roads are empty and it will be more hypnotic than 30. Overall therefore it will have a detrimenal effect on casualties.

    Think about it – would a 10mph limit make sense? How about 5mph? The only logical progression along this argument would be to ban motor driven traffic from Penarth altogether, but then we’d need to stop cyclists, skate boarders and people running. Or jogging. Or walking fast.

  4. You’ll also find that your project to persuade people to shop locally will suffer. Who will want to shop in Penarth if there’s a blanket 20mpg limit?

  5. Some interesting comments. Firstly, Phil, I would point out that this is a subject that has been very well researched by a wide range of organisations, some of which I will refer to in answer to points raised in the above comments. Could I ask on what basis you claim that it is a ‘fact’ that driving at a slow steady speed is hypnotic? One of the arguments for the slower limit is that at lower speeds drivers are more aware of their surroundings.
    Confusingly, like David, you make the claim that lowering the limit will force people to slow down and drive in this dangerous hypnotic way whilst also arguing that it will cause people to increase their speed to meet the target.
    As to the point that the lower limit causes more pollution and wastes more fuel, this has been shown by many studies not to be the case. Several references showing that the lower limit reduces emissions and fuel use can be found on this briefing sheet – http://www.20splentyforus.org.uk/BriefingSheets/pollutionbriefing.pdf

    To answer Jon’s query regarding the source(s) for the statistics quoted:
    The 70% reduction in child pedestrian accidents figure is taken from ‘A review of traffic calming schemes in 20mph Zones, TRL Report 215 1996’ This report and several others showing accident reduction rates are referenced on this Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents page – http://www.rospa.com/roadsafety/adviceandinformation/driving/speed/inappropriate-speed.aspx#ref

    Regarding the 22% reduction in Portsmouth:
    ‘Comparing the 3 years before the scheme was implemented and the 2 years afterwards, the number of recorded road casualties has fallen by 22% from 183 per year to 142 per year. During that period casualty numbers fell nationally by about 14% in comparable areas. ‘
    This is from a 2010 Department of Transport evaluation of the Portsmouth scheme – http://assets.dft.gov.uk/publications/speed-limits-portsmouth/speed-limits-portsmouth.pdf
    Similar studies in Hull showed a 74% reduction in child pedestrian accidents.

    On the issue of promoting local shops: a lower speed limit making our streets safer and friendlier for all users can only help to make the town a more pleasant place to visit and increase the time spent shopping and eating in the many local independent businesses. I have spoken to several businesses in the ‘Shop in Penarth’ scheme who are very strongly in favour of the proposed 20mph zone.

    One final, persuasive, statistic:
    If you are struck by a passing car in your street at 35 mph there is a 50% chance that you will be killed. At a traffic speed of 20 mph, the pedestrian survival rate is immediately increased to 97%
    (Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents, Road Safety Advice)

  6. You’re confused by my lack of clarity, Anthony. Sorry, I’ll try again: if people are told that it is safe to drive at 20 mph, many people will do just that. They will drive at 20, without noticing that conditions vary from day to day, from place to place, from one second to the next, whether it would be safer to drive at 5 or 15 mph. There are people who will drive like automatons, bored at 20, in places where if they picked up or dropped speed a little it would have kept them alert to notice far more. This may go some way to explaining why in the Portsmouth study you’ve quoted, while there are apparently less accidents (though REPORTING of less serious accidents dropped everywhere in the UK in the same period -though by an average of 14% rather than the 22% in the Portsmouth study), there were MORE people who were seriously injured and killed.

  7. I do not care about the 20 limit people like you will just impose it. anyway its a daft idea. what I am worried about is what happened to the plans 4 wordsworth park and the play equipment for the kids and the money us on the estate raised and gave for it.

  8. I’ve just returned from a trip to Oxford, which now has 20mph zones, including the Cowley Road, a busy artery shared by cars,buses and lots of bikes. It was a pretty alarming road to cycle along when I used to live there. I was really impressed by the change. Walking along the pavement with two small children felt much safer, road noise was reduced so we could hear one another talk, and the general atmosphere was much calmer. Using the local shops and businesses on foot was much pleasanter.

    It seemed that drivers were less likely to overtake cyclists too. It used to be (like here) that drivers seemed to think it compulsory to pass a bike because they ‘ought’ to be able to drive at 30, regardless of whether overtaking was safe.

    Our bus journey was slightly slower than it might have been, but it was also much smoother and pleasanter than on previous trips, as the bus wasn’t roaring up to speed and braking suddenly for the stops. For elderly, infirm or passengers with children this is quite a significant benefit too.

    I think this is a great idea. I’d like my children to be able to walk to school, or to the shops, safely and I think this is more important than drivers’ need to get to their destination as quickly as they wish.

  9. This is all very interesting, but I’m afraid I don’t think the case for a blanket 20mph limit has been made at all. It’s all very well to quote from the Portsmouth example, or from generic figures for the UK as a whole, but Portsmouth is not Penarth. What are the road casualty figures for Penarth? What are the trends? Where are the accident blackspots, if there are any? How about targeted lower speed limits in those areas only, or near schools? What economic modelling has been done to determine the impact of 20mph zones on economic growth in the Penarth area? Unless we have answers to these questions, I simply don’t see how we can proceed with such a sweeping and expensive change (almost £500,000, if the Portsmouth figures are to be believed? and when budgets are tighter than ever!). And if, as has been claimed, traffic speeds are normally lower than 20mph in any case, why spend all this money on more regulation?

    There may well be some environmental benefits, but surely, in these difficult times, getting the local economy moving again, and helping people get to work so they can provide for their families, must be a priority too? And as far as road safety is concerned, well, are the accidents really being caused by people driving at speeds between 20 and 30mph, or by people breaking the existing 30mph limit? Or by people driving at very low speeds who aren’t looking where they’re going (on whom a lower speed limit would have no effect)? Surely it’s better to target scarce resources on dealing with the most dangerous and careless drivers, rather than imposing more costly regulation on the law-abiding majority. In short, what we need is a full cost-benefit analysis and a proper, detailed consultation that addresses all these questions.

    At the moment, it seems to me as though the campaigners want to use a sledgehammer to crack a nut. If proper local data can be produced that support the case for 20mph zones, I’m ready to be persuaded – but I shan’t hold my breath.

  10. Alot of streets in Burry Port has got a 20mpg speed limit complete with speed bumps, most of the compulsary 20mph streets, are where properly trained responsible drivers/riders would reduce their speed to that or a lower limit anyway, the speed bumps had done nothing but smash the suspension on mine and most people I know vehicle, 2 local garage’s has commented on how much business has gone up for them due to susspension and shock’s etc, not because hitting the bumps too fast but the constant up and down of them (maybe six in a short distance) over a prolonged period of time, no one in Burry Port want these speed bumps but yet no one will listen to the resisdents. I think that better training to a higher level is much more suitble for reducing accidents than lowering the speed limit, not hitting anythinf at all is better than hitting people at a slow speed. And I must agree with phil macfaden that driving at 20mph does make me at least drift off and pay less attention to the road ahead of me.

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