07:19 Monday 15th April 2013
Bigger Breakfast Show
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
[P]AUL STAINTON: There have been renewed calls for Peterborough City Council to support the 20 is Plenty campaign. Residents in Park Ward have compiled a petition calling for lower speed limits in their neighbourhood, whilst opposition councillors will also be raising the issue at this week’s Council meeting. Our reporter Johnnie D. is in Park Ward this morning. Morning Johnnie.
JOHN DEVINE: Good morning Paul. We have to explain that 20s Plenty is a national campaign to make 20mph the default speed limit wherever people live, in residential areas of course, instead of 30mph like it is now. Cambridgeshire County Council have signed up for it. Peterborough City Council have not yet, and I’m actually now standing talking to you Paul from Princes Gate in Peterborough, which runs alongside the entrance to Central Park, a public green space. Lots of joggers and dog walkers around even now. The road is not very long, but it’s in the middle of Princes Street , which is one side, and Princes Gardens which is the other. And they cross importantly Broadway, a very busy road, and Park Road. So it’s like two very very busy crossroads, either side of this short road I’m on now. And there’s residential housing each side of those roads, cars parked either side of the street, an area where you wouldn’t like to see speeding traffic really Paul. I’ve got with me this morning Richard Ferris from the 20s Plenty campaign for Peterborough, and Labour councillor John Shearman. So Richard first, why does this area need a 20mph speed limit?
RICHARD FERRIS: Because we’ve got very narrow streets here, as you say, and it’s become very dangerous now for pedestrians and cyclists. You see a lot of cycling on pavements, because cyclists no longer feel safe on the roads. The traffic speeds round here are above 30mph, at least 50% of them. And it would just make for a safer environment for everybody.
JOHN DEVINE: We’ve seen two or three examples already standing here this early of illegal driving, haven’t we, just up the road here?
RICHARD FERRIS: We have. Yes. There’s a junction exiting Princes Street onto Park Road, where traffic is supposed to turn left. A number of cars come out there and they will turn right, which is effectively a blind corner. And we have seen a number of accidents at that junction.
JOHN DEVINE: I’ve got Labour councillor John Shearman with me. Now just tell us about the incidents in this area, roughly.
JOHN SHEARMAN: Yes, there have been a number of incidents in the area. We’ve got this very busy, three busy roads, leading from Eastfield Road into Princes Gardens, Princes Gate, and then down onto the Dogsthorpe Road, cars using it as a bit of a rat run. We sadly had a fatality the other day. We had a serious accident in Princes Gardens about two months ago, where a car bounced off another car, careered fifty yards down the road and demolished a wall. Constantly getting complaints from residents. This Wednesday we’ve got a Council meeting. I’m presenting a petition signed by residents in Princes Gardens and St Marys Close, asking for traffic measures to be introduced to try and slow the traffic down.
JOHN DEVINE: Richard Ferris, how would it be policed, this?
RICHARD FERRIS: Well we’re behind this. It would have to be self-policing. It’s a culture change. But obviously the same thing applies to 30mph. At thirty we’ve got people, 49% of traffic in 30mph zones are driving around at 35/36. So if you imagine we bring it down to a 20mph limit, even if people are then riving at 25, we’ve then substantially reduced the traffic speed, making it safe for children and the elderly, and pedestrians in general.
JOHN DEVINE: Big question. It’s going to cost a lot of money. How are we going to pay for it?
RICHARD FERRIS: Well it pays for itself. In Warrington where they introduced the 20mph limit across residential areas, there was an eight to one repayment over the first year in terms of reductions in accidents, public health benefits, etcetera, etcetera. And if you put in 20mph limits without traffic calming, you can fund, for £100,000, you can fund 56 miles of streets with a 20mph limit. If you put in speed bumps etcetera, they’re the expensive thing, you can only fund one mile for the equivalent £100,000. So it’s a much cheaper option, with all that payback that I mentioned.
JOHN DEVINE: Richard Ferris, for the 20s Plenty campaign for Peterborough, and Labour councillor John Shearman. Thanks for joining us. We’ll just have to wait and see whether people slow down around this area of Peterborough. (STUDIO)
PAUL STAINTON: Johnnie, thank you for that Johnnie. Johnnie D in Park ward in Peterborough. Well a number of councils have signed up to the 20s Plenty campaign, including Cambridge City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council. But as yet, Peterborough has not. Well one man who wants that to change is Councillor Nick Sandford. He’s the Leader of the LibDems in Peterborough, and he’ll be raising the issue at this week’s Council meeting. Morning Nick.
NICK SANDFORD: Morning Paul.
NICK SANDFORD: We heard from John Shearman there. We heard from others the plus side of the 20mph speed limit. Where would you like to see them enforced?
NICK SANDFORD: Right. We’d like to see them in housing areas really. What we’re doing at the Council this week, we’re putting a motion forward saying that the Council should ask one of its scrutiny committees to carry out an enquiry, with a view to introducing these across the whole of Peterborough.
PAUL STAINTON: Everywhere?
NICK SANDFORD: Well yes. But precisely which streets you introduce them in is why we need this committee to examine it. Because obviously there are certain roads, like the parkways and various arterial roads where it wouldn’t be appropriate to have a 20mph speed limit. But precisely the areas that Councillor Shearman has just been talking about.
PAUL STAINTON: But are you talking about just about every neighbourhood in Peterborough then, off the main roads? Is this what you’re talking about?
NICK SANDFORD: That would be the ultimate aim. What a number of local authorities have done is they’ve introduced it gradually over a period. One of the advantages though, as the gentleman from the 20s Plenty campaign was pointing at was if you introduce this 20mph speed limit generally, it means that wherever in Peterborough car drivers go, they realise that there’s a 20mph speed limit. The problem you’ve got at the moment, there are a very small number of areas in Peterborough that do have speed restrictions, but it’s very difficult to enforce, because it’s very much the exception. What we’re talking about is a culture change, where it becomes the general thing. And hopefully over time it will become general across the entire country.
PAUL STAINTON: You talk about enforcement. There’s a 20mph speed limit on Mill Road in Cambridge, and that’s not enforced. Few obey it. You’re talking about mass signage, mass enforcement, mass 20mph limits right across the city of Peterborough. It’s just not feasible, is it?
NICK SANDFORD: You meed mass enforcement where it’s an exceptional situation. If you look at a completely different analogy, if you look at the smoking ban that was introduced two years ago, or three years ago, because that’s a general ban that happened in all premises across the entire country, it doesn’t need a great deal of enforcement, because it becomes part of the popular culture. What we’re talking fundamentally about here is safety, particularly safety involving children. We’re talking about reducing the number of accidents involving children, but also reducing the severity of those accidents that occur. So whereas a child who may be hit by a car going at 20 may get a fairly small injury, a child hit by a car going at 3o or 40 is going to have a severe injury, or may even be killed.
PAUL STAINTON: None of us want that. It’s just the feasibility of this. And is it just on cars, or what about cyclists? What about skateboarders/ They go pretty fast, don’t they?
NICK SANDFORD: Well there are very few cyclists that tend to go more than 20 and 30mph. One of the aims of this is to change the way that our housing areas are seen, so that they’re more of a shared space, so that children can play there. But also because we all as part of our general lives make choices. Are we going to walk somewhere, or are we going to cycle, or are we going to get the car out. What we need is more people to make the healthy choice, which is to walk or cycle. So imposing what is quite a reasonable restriction would seem to be a way of achieving that.
PAUL STAINTON: Well good luck with your chat with the Coucnil this week. We do have a statement from Peterborough City Council. It says,
“Currently we have no plans to introduce 20mph zones across Peterborough. However it would certainly be something we’d consider as part of a wider body of work, for example if we’re launching a local safety scheme, or calming enforcement. (UNCLEAR) state that introducing a 20mph speed limit in the absence of such measures only achieves a 1mph speed reduction in actual speed.” That’s what Peterborough City Council has to say. You’ve heard what Nick Sandford had to say, Leader of the LibDems in Peterborough as well.