CROYDON COMMENTARY: The latest consultation about 20mph zones should seek comments from those in favour, as well as objectors, says CATHERINE SHELLEY, pictured
There is a strange dynamic whenever notices are published for planning and other publicly regulated work, which is that by law objections are invited, but there is no equivalent invitation to anyone who wants to support the plans.
While it is right that there should be a place to express objections, the assumption that those who do not object therefore support the proposals means that there is no room for people to actively support them. Democracy might benefit if such an invitation was publicised alongside the invitation to object.
The further rounds of consultation, announced this month, about traffic regulation through limiting traffic speeds to 20mph on residential streets in the south of the borough can only be a positive thing which some may actively want to support.
The statistics are unanswerable – in Croydon during 2015 (the most recent published statistics) there were a total of 896 road traffic accidents which resulted in 1,047 casualties. These casualties involved 202 pedestrians, 104 cyclists, 176 on motorbikes/ scooters, 487 to cars and 78 with other vehicles such as taxis, buses and goods vehicles.
Across the country (according to RoSPA, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) the majority of pedestrian and cycle accidents happen in built-up areas. That is, involving kids walking or cycling to school; older members of the community who do not drive or have a car. Although the number of households who do not own a car is about 25 per cent, the number of people who do not drive – that is children and older members of the community – is significantly higher. It is no wonder that these groups feature heavily in the pedestrian and cycle incident stats.
Yet this is where traffic calming helps. A mere 1mph speed reduction can reduce collisions by 6per cent; that would be 53 fewer collisions in Croydon based on the 2015 figures. The statistics suggest that a greater speed reduction, such as the 10mph difference between 20 and 30mph, can result in even greater reductions in accidents.
Surely, reducing speeds on most residential roads (the main roads are not affected) is worth the savings to life and limb, especially those in our communities most likely to be walking or cycling, such as our children and older members of our communities? Drivers benefit too; who wants to be the one that causes an accident and injury to a child? In addition, fewer and slower cars on the road will also have a beneficial impact on the environment and the level of pollution, another improvement that will benefit everyone.
And if you agree, why not say so? Don’t leave the argument to the objectors. You can email Parking.Design@croydon.gov.uk or write by post to Croydon Council, Order Making Section, 8 Mint Walk, Croydon CR0 1EA
- Catherine Shelley is the co-chair of Croydon Green Party
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