Published: 17 October 2012
By ALICE HUTTON
A MANDATORY 20mph speed limit for all vehicles could soon be rolled out across the borough of Camden.
The Town Hall wants to restrict all roads in order to reduce the number of accidents and get residents walking and biking.
It comes a week after a consultation survey on whether to curb the speed of cars in Primrose Hill came to an end. The move follows neighbouring Islington’s decision a year ago to force all road users to observe a 20mph limit – becoming the first area in the country to do so.
The New Journal’s sister title, the Islington Tribune, later revealed that police believed it to be “unenforceable” and that they would not prosecute drivers who violated it.
A public consultation will be held if the plans are agreed in December and a spokesman for the council said a meeting with the police would be scheduled to discuss how to avoid a similar situation.
Cabinet councillor Phil Jones said that not only would it “prevent road casualties” it would “give greater confidence to the pedestrians and cyclists who use our roads”.
He added: “A borough-wide rule would also ensure a more consistent environment for drivers who would no longer have to move confusingly between borough roads with different speed limits. We believe that drivers want to play their part in making the streets safer and making Camden a better place to live, work and visit.”
Tony Armstrong, chief executive of charity Living Streets, called the proposals “enlightened” and said that the council should be “applauded”.
But Keith Peat, the regional co-ordinating manager for campaigning non-profit group, the Association of British Drivers, said the move was “counter productive”.
The former police driver added: “In congested areas, 20mph zones often have drivers more focused on the speedometer so they don’t get a fine than, say, keeping an eye out if a child runs across their path.”
In their 20mph proposals, the council claim that statistics from Transport for London show a 6 per cent decrease in accidents for every 1mph reduction, including a more than 20 per cent fall in accidents in Belsize Park, which has been under a 20mph zone since 2006.
But Conservative councillor Jonny Bucknell, who sits on the London Transport Liaison Committee, said that trying to slow vehicles down won’t stop accidents.
“Cities are 30mph places for 30mph people,” he said. “The idea that everyone will enter a 20mph zone and suddenly turn into Postman Pat is wishful thinking. The idea of 20mph came from research some time ago that a person is more likely to survive a collision at 20mph than 30mph. There are so many variables in a collision that the speed is only part of the equation.”
* Camden Council have removed a proposal from their 20mph Primrose Hill consultation after an “error” caused residents to comment on a zebra crossing in an incorrect location. Cllr Jones said: “I’d like to apologise on behalf of the council for this error and any confusion that has arisen. We will consult local people separately at a later date on the proposal for a zebra crossing to reduce the amount of confusion caused by the original error.”