Friday, 13 December 2013

Six thoughts about Phase 2 of 20mph in Brighton and Hove

SCAN3860_000 B&H Map

As the dust settles on last Wednesday’s meeting of Brighton and Hove City Council’s Environment and Transport Committee on extending the existing 20mph zone outwards from the centre of the city, following are some thoughts. In the form of current flavour of the month, a listicle:

1. In the UK there are now 12 million people living in 20mph areas. With the implementation of Phase 2, this will rise to 12 million + the population of Brighton and Hove covered by the second phase, minus those who live along the roads which have been excluded due to a) the original plan and b) Conservative and Labour amendments. (Ditchling Road, Surrenden Road, Braybon Avenue (including Old Farm Road and Graham Avenue) and Carden Avenue (excluding the Carden Avenue service road).  Map

2. Hundreds more streets in Brighton and Hove will be covered by a 20mph speed limit. As this article points out.

3. 20mph is enforceable. It’s no different from any other speed limit, as has already happened in Brighton and Hove, where 50 drivers were stopped by the police for exceeding the 20mph limit.

4. 20mph is uncontroversial elsewhere. While a policy that is demonstrated to reduce the numbers of Killed and Seriously Injured (KSI) in other parts of the UK and Europe is uncontroversial, for reasons best known to themselves (because they haven’t said why), a 20mph default speed limit seems to have huge symbolic value for Brighton’s would-be “unchained” motorists.

5. Beware of “common sense.” When those two words are used, its time to turn the bullshit detectors up to max. Common sense, as per the adverts from the Unchainers, is just another way of saying, “there is no evidence for what I’m going to say next.” Here’s an example, from Unchain’s latest advert.

“Victory for common sense. Thank you to the Conservative and Labour councillors for listening to the majority of people who did not want to see a 20mph speed limit in nine areas of the city.”

And here’s some more common sense, a verbatim comment taken from the Unchain Facebook site:
“Roads are for cars teach people to respect their own space and that of cars. Cars can kill, so I take care when driving n ask that pedestrians respect me - even fear e a little. The raod is for cars. Beware and be aware. Take care out there n stop trying to pad out life. Live with care, in everything.”

6. We’ll wonder what all the fuss was about. Over time, 20mph will become the norm in British cities. People will get used to it and looking back, will wonder what all the fuss was about. Like the smoking ban. Apart from a few diehards, who would now go back to the days when pubs, restaurants and other venues were full of smoke? And, as this report shows, the smoking ban has had a major impact. In the same way, 20mph will make things better for everyone: safer, quieter, more inviting, less threatening, more sociable. What’s not to like?

IMG_1820 com
Thanks to Becky Reynolds for the photo.

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