20mph zones coming to Ramsbottom?

Bury Council has finally recognised the seriousness of speeding vehicles as a Borough-wide issue.

Most sensible drivers do tailor their speed to the traffic conditions and speed limits, but some drivers are not so considerate.   Many consider speeding to be anti-social and it can certainly be dangerous to pedestrians and those in vehicles.

Cllr Bevan on Whalley Road, Shuttleworth

The Council will now promote a three-year programme of Environmental Traffic Calming Schemes designed to reduce the legal speed limit to 20 mph on certain streets – with priority being given to selected residential estates containing sensitive properties such as schools etc. and/or with recognised issues with through traffic.

Under the proposed scheme, local areas will be assessed and then prioritised according to the level of the problem to show the major ‘hotspots’.

The Council has collated statistics on areas and local residents will be consulted.

Future Township Forum meeting will also provide an opportunity for residents to present evidence or information and provide local knowledge and opinion on proposals. Residents should also contact their local Councillors to pass on their views.

Let us hope that sensible suggestions – including Holcombe Village, Shuttleworth Village, Nuttall Lane etc – will be included, although the Department for Transport guidance is that 20mph schemes are for areas primarily residential in nature and which are not part of any major through route.  Bury Council have also stated that a number of medium to large cul-de-sac estates will not be considered a priority if there is a lack of recognised through-traffic routes or school premises as the majority of traffic using these estates will be generated by residents and their visitors and these motorists will be particularly familiar with the road layout.

The only difficulty will be enforcement of the 20mph speed limits.  

Some areas (20mph zones) will have self-enforcing traffic calming measures – possibly speed bumps, chicanes etc, but these schemes are very expensive.

Other schemes will simply have 20mph speed limit signs.

Entry points to these areas will be emphasised to make it clear to drivers that they are entering a different environment to encourage a change in driving behaviour. Where existing mean traffic speeds exceed 25mph then the road environment will have to be altered in order to achieve the required reduction in traffic speeds. This will require lining, surface treatments and physical traffic calming measures (road humps, speed cushions, chicanes etc.) in addition to the required boundary signing for a 20mph zone.

Greater Manchester Police have already stated that they will assist in enforcement where their resources allow but it is recognised that the Police are generally not available to provide enforcement of 20mph speed limits.

The Association of Chief Police Officers(ACPO) stance on enforcement of 20mph speed limits is as follows:

Roads subject to a 20mph limit should achieve compliance by having the look and feel of a 20mph limit. If there is wilful offending despite the correct engineering measures being in place, then enforcement activity will take place. Merely putting up 20 mph signs where the existing average speed is much higher, then we do not believe there will be any significant road safety benefit and routine enforcement activity will not be carried out.”

Resources for the programme (£650,000) will come from the Council and other partner organisations for the three year period of the scheme.  £245,000 is allocated for the first year, £250,000 for the second year and £205,000 for the third year.

Let me have your comments and suggestions.  Email me at:  i.bevan@bury.gov.uk