Why a road safety initiative is frightening parents

Speed up as you approach a school –really?

Speed up as you approach a school –really?

The signs say ’30, 20 zone ends’ — you can see them in Blinco Grove, Hartington Grove and Hinton Avenue. The sign in the picture is in Blinco Grove, home to Morley Memorial Primary School.

Why are our streets still 30mph while streets on the other side of Cherry Hinton Road are 20mph?

The speed limit is changing throughout Cambridge, following last year’s citywide consultation on a change to 20mph, to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists. That resulted in a public vote of confidence for changing the limit to 20mph in most residential streets.

The implementation of the 2omph project is being rolled out in four phases. The east area is being done now, and as part of their signage, the Council is installing signs like the one pictured.

But many Queen Edith’s residents have said the signs virtually invite cars to speed into streets such as Blinco Grove, Hartington Grove and Hinton Avenue. Ironically, these streets are used by vulnerable road users, such as children going to Morley Memorial Primary School – just the people the 20mph limit is intended to protect.

People are already reporting cars speeding up as they exit Cherry Hinton Road, egged on by the signage. One parent of young children has described it as ‘terrifying’ to have cars ‘belting down’ our roads, as they rat-run between Cherry Hinton and Hills Roads.

Queen Edith’s should be 20 too by next spring or summer, subject to the traffic regulation orders going through. That’s a long time, plenty long enough for an accident. It would be horrible if an initiative to improve road safety results in an accident because of the timelag.

I have asked the Council to address this unintended consequence. We hope they can come up with a solution.

71% say YES to 20mph – but not for Queen Edith’s Way or Cherry Hinton Road

20mph71% of Cambridge residents have voted in favour of reducing the speed limit to 20mph on residential and shopping streets.

There was also a majority in favour of reducing the limit on unclassified roads, but not for Cherry Hinton Road or Queen Edith’s Way. The NOs narrowly outnumbered the YESes by 2% for Cherry Hinton Road, while for Queen Edith’s Way, 43% were in favour of reducing the limit and 47% against. Residents of these roads did not vote significantly differently to everyone else.

You can see the full results here: http://democracy.cambridge.gov.uk/documents/s27803/Appendix%20B%20-%20Consultation%20Results.pdf

The results will be discussed at the next South Area meeting, which will be held at St John’s Church on Hills Road on Monday 2nd February. This meeting is open to the public, and will also include the police report and priorities.

20mph consultation

20mphCambridge City Council has today launched its consultation in this part of the city for changing the speed limit to 20mph.The responses will determine whether or not the change is made.

You should receive a paper questionnaire, but you can also contribute on line, here is the link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/20mph_south_westcentral. Note that there are separate questions on small residential streets and main roads.

There is a drop-in event on December 4th at the Cherry Hinton Village Centre, 4-8pm and there is also an exhibition of the plans at the City Council’s Customer Services Centre in Regent Street.

Police priorities and 20mph

ASPolice priorities for the south of Cambridge will be set next Monday at the South Area meeting, which will take place at Homerton College, starting at 7.30pm.

Following the election of a new chair, there will be an Open Forum, when anyone can speak or ask a question.

After a report on Cherry Hinton High Street comes the police report and priority-setting. Police will report on their activity over the summer and set priorities for the coming three months.

They have been focussing on the supply of Class A drugs and propose to continue with this. There have been reports of illegal drugs dealing and consumption in Hills Road and I would welcome further feedback on this to present at the meeting.bike burglar

The police also propose to prioritise cycle crime and cycling offences, both of which will be welcomed by many people – not necessarily the same people!

There will be further reports on:

  • the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime & Policing Act and its implications for this area
  • Developers’ contributions
  • consultation on the 20mph project

20mph trial gets the thumb-up … but more support needed

Amanda and 20mph sign

There was a lively discussion on the Queen Edith’s 20mph trial at the Cambridge South Area meeting on Monday night. The meeting was held at the Cherry Hinton Village Centre for the first time, and was well attended, with many people there specially for either the 20mph item on the agenda or the policing session.

Mr Richard Preston from Cambridgeshire County Council Highways Dept was there to report and listen, and at my request, the police stayed on for the discussion.

Despite disappointing speed tests showing that drivers have not changed their behaviour much, here was general support for continuing with the lower 20mph limit, but there were also emphatic demands for two things that would make it work much better:

  • better signage (painted areas on the road or flashing signs)
  • police enforcement

There was a request for the lower limit to be extended to the whole of the estate, a change which councillors are happy to take on board. We limited it to Gunhild, Godwin and Wulfstan Ways initially, on the grounds that these roads had schools – but the point of a trial is that you can learn from it and make changes.

Mr James Woodburn of the Cambridge Cycling Campaign presented some very useful evidence, explaining how Portsmouth had brought in 20mph speed limits across 94% of the overall road length. They had taken a much more holistic approach, getting police buy-in from the beginning, making signage really prominent and giving much more information about the trial before it began. The result had been very good adherence to the lower speeds.

We asked Inspector Kerridge what enforcement there had been and what the police could offer us for the future. He didn’t give us a direct answer about what enforcement there had been (I suspect none) but explained the police had needed to do some research first about the viability of enforcing a 20mph limit. But he did say: ‘Can we enforce 20? Yes we can!’ and explained the approach he would like to take (talking to people and advising them if they were driving at over 20mph, following that up with a letter, before actually ticketing), while making it clear that the police would not enforce every 20mph limit without local requests to do so in areas where infringement was a particular problem. So: halfway there.

Mr Preston from the County Council told us more signage would cost about £500 (the cost of a painting gang) and that interactive signs could cost up to £5,000. The County had initially been trying not to clutter the area up with too many signs and taken a low-key approach – but in v iew of our comments would look favourably on local requests for more signs … if funding could be found. That may mean we have to fund them from Area Committee funds.

Mr Preston will report back on what we said on Monday to a joint county/city transport committee, and it is expected that the lower limit will remain. We evidently have more work to do on securing the better signage and police enforcement, but Monday’s meeting was a constructive sharing of what’s needed to improve the scheme. Thanks to all those who came along to speak, especially Claire from Godwin Way and Jim and James the Cycling Campaign, and to everyone who sent in surveys, or made comments on the Queen Edith’s  Facebook page.

Oh … our trial appear to have made the news!

BBC News

BBC News (Cambridgeshire)