Issued by City of York Council
Following a widespread consultation inviting 13,000 households in the West of York to have their say on the introduction of a 20mph limit policy, residents’ comments will now be considered at a decision session on Friday 19 July.
City of York Council announced the 20mph proposals in March, which were supported by headteachers in the West of York School’s Partnership and one of the UK’s leading health and well being mutuals, Benenden Health.
The scheme builds on the policy to introduce 20mph speed limits in residential areas to help promote considerate driving, make walking and cycling more attractive and raise confidence in the safety of local neighbourhoods.
Throughout May and June residents were then given the opportunity to feedback their views. In total, 97 formal representations were received during the consultation period with the three main points centring on existing speed averages already at 20mph or below, questioning the estimated costs of the scheme and suggestions for alternative schemes i.e. road repairs and also claiming that there are already low accident rates in the proposed areas.
Extensive research was carried out prior to the consultation and analysis carried out in other areas which have introduced a 20mph scheme show that there is a significant reduction in the casualties in the short term post implementation. Lancashire, for instance, has found a 48 per cent decrease in casualties in their 20mph pilot areas.
The most common response received during the consultation related to the costs involved.
To put the costs in perspective, the citywide 20mph scheme has a budget of £500,000.One serious injury has a value of prevention equal to £189,519 and one slight injury has a value of prevention equal to £14,611*. Therefore if the scheme can help prevent three serious casualties, thirty four slight casualties or a permutation of the two equal to £500,000 then cost becomes far more justifiable.
Councillor Dave Merrett, Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning and Sustainability, said: “With significant reductions of up to 3mph (average speeds) in parts of Fishergate ward as a direct result of introducing a lower speed limit, this should prove to be a cost effective approach.
“The introduction of lower speed limits, in accordance with the latest Government guidance, reduces speeds giving drivers more time to react to the presence of other road users, and reducing the likelihood and scale of any potential remaining accidents.
“We are seeking to increase driver and safety awareness on our roads as part of the roll out. We as a city are committed to making York’s roads safer; I’d like to thank residents for their view and invite everyone to also look at and sign up to our n ew iPledge scheme to improve road safety.”
Following consideration of residents’ representations their comments will now be fed back to a decision session for consideration before the introduction of the proposed 20mph limits. The Cabinet Member will be recommended to approve implementation of the 20mph speed limit scheme.
If endorsed by the Cabinet Member the planned introduction is set to take place this summer and will ensure that the majority of residential roads and neighbourhoods will have a lower speed limit to help reduce speeds where people live.
The signed-only 20mph speed limits are designed to be largely self-enforcing and aim to support, strengthen and work alongside the many existing traffic calmed 20mph zones that are already in place in many residential streets and around schools in the West of the city.
Current 20mph limits aim to help promote considerate driving, make walking and cycling more attractive and raise confidence in the safety of local neighbourhoods.
As part of a phased citywide rollout Acomb, Holgate, Dringhouses & Woodthorpe and Westfield will become the next Wards to be considered for lower speed limits.
For more details about the decision session, or to attend, please visit the Democracy York page.
What they say
Inspector Michael Barron of North Yorkshire Police’s Roads Policing Group, said: “Speeding is one of the major concerns highlighted by members of the public. Not only is inappropriate and excessive speed a cause of deaths and serious injuries, but it can affect people’s quality of life.
“By reducing the speed limits through residential areas, noise pollution will be reduced and the environment will feel safer for all road users and pedestrians alike, and in the unfortunate event of a collision, the severity of injuries can be reduced.
“Drivers should also remember that the speed limit is not a target, and should also drive according to the road conditions and potential hazards at the time.”
West of York School’s Partnership, which includes all headteachers in the West of York, said: “We are encouraged by the positive results that have been achieved in the trial areas across the city and as school leaders we are delighted to be able to work in partnership to support strategies which ensure the safety and well-being of our pupils and our communities.”
Ken Hesketh, Chief Executive at Benenden Health – based on Holgate Park Drive – said: “As a major health & well being organisation with strong links to the community, we are fully supportive of local schemes that will encourage a healthier environment for walking and cycling.
“Our employees commute to our offices in Holgate Park from all over York’s region. Freeing up traffic flows and enabling improved safety from alternative forms of transport can only serve to improve York’s infrastructure, make communities safer and support local businesses.”
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