The Dorset Echo is reporting on the frustration of our Town Councillors at the ‘slow speed’ of implementing the proposed 20mph in residential areas of Dorchester, such a Poundbury.
Town Councillors support evidence that slower speeds of 20mph zones in urban areas are a key factor in making streets safer for people, and making active travel such as walking and cycling more attractive. This in turn improves health and air quality. Slower speeds have a particularly positive effect on young children, who can then walk to school and be outside more, and older people, for whom high speeds can be very frightening and limit independence. Perhaps surprisingly, they can actually make car journeys faster and less stressful for motorists too, because traffic flows more smoothly than it does at 30
Scotland, Wales, and a significant number of English local authorities (although not Dorset) have implemented default 20mph limits in urban areas, which can be changed back to 30mph in individual cases if a strong enough case based on evidence for that is made. However, these locally made decisions are now being challenged by the current central government.
Our Poundbury Ward Councillor Richard Biggs told us: ‘The current state of play with 20mph proposal for Poundbury is that the town council have paid a sum of money to Dorset Council to do a speed survey at Peverell Avenue, as sections of this road may not fall in to the ‘criteria of suitability’ for 20mph without traffic calming measures. Thus far I have not seen any survey equipment installed so I’m chasing up.’
Richard added: ‘I’m very worried by remarks from the Prime Minister that he wanted to make it more difficult for councils to roll out 20mph when there is overwhelming evidence that they are very beneficial for the community as a whole. Scotland have just made 114 towns 20mph [and as] most of Poundbury is designed to make it difficult to exceed this speed [safely], so it’s a no brainer to bring in a scheme as soon as practicable.’