The city of Oxfordshire will be the first to lower all residential speed limits to 20mph this year after the Welsh voted for blanket 20mph zones from 2023
- Witney becomes the first town in England with 20mph residential areas
- It is part of Oxfordshire County Council’s plan to lower speed limits in the area
- Council members say it will make the city a safer, quieter and less polluted place
- The move comes just weeks after Wales voted for hidden 20-mile housing areas
- Lower speed limits will be introduced in Witney later this year
A week after Wales voted to lower all residential speed limits to 20mph from next year, an Oxfordshire city has become the first in England to say it will follow suit.
Dozens of 30-mile roads in Witney – David Cameron’s former constituency – are due to lower their limits to 20mph after today’s approval.
Councilor Liz Leffman, leader of Oxfordshire County Council, gave the green light for the measures at a meeting, with the changes expected to be implemented later this year with fresh new signage.
Speed bump: An Oxfordshire town will become the first in England to lower all residential speed limits from 30 to 20mph from the end of this year, it has been confirmed
While Witney will be the first town with a 20mph speed limit, the London borough of Islington introduced the same rules a decade ago, reducing 30mph zones in 2012. Camden did the same a year later.
Andrew Gant, Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet member for motorway management, described the move as a “landmark moment” and said the agency plans to spend up to £8million over three years to introduce reduced speed limits.
“Witney is the first and largest project we are undertaking at this stage of the program and we believe these changes will make the city a safer, quieter and less polluted place and will encourage more people to cycle and walk to go – and thus reduce the carbon footprint of the county,” he said.
Councilor Liz Duncan, Mayor of Witney, added: “It’s exciting to see this comprehensive 20-mile program coming to our city that will improve road safety on residential streets and reduce the risk of death and injury.
“We have received many requests from residents for the reduced speed limit and this city-wide approach will bring tremendous benefits.”
She adds that the decision will not only make city streets safer, but will also reduce traffic noise, improve air quality and encourage more walking, running and cycling because of the risk on the streets is lower.
The county council claims it has been inundated with requests from towns and villages to introduce 20-mile zones since it introduced a broader speed-reduction policy in February.
It adds that the first two phases of the project are now fully booked, with 70 more towns and villages set to benefit from reduced speeds over the next fiscal year – followed by hundreds more over the next two years.
Just over a week ago, the Welsh Government voted to bring all residential speed limits down to 20mph in a blanket change to be implemented from next year
Mr Gant said Wales’ decision over a week ago to introduce a blanket 20-mile zone in all residential areas at a staggering £32m cost made a huge impact on the same result for Witney.
“The recent decision in Wales shows that 20mph is becoming the accepted speed limit for residential areas and Oxfordshire County Council is at the forefront of bringing about that change,” he said.
“It is known that the survival rate of accident victims increases with decreasing speed.”
Oxfordshire County Council has already set up five 20-mile pilot sites to test the impact of the directive in Cuxham, Long Wittenham, Wallingford Central, Wallingford North and Kirtlington.
Early data showed that these measures had a “positive impact” on speed reduction.
Dozens of 30mph roads in the town of Witney are set to lower their limits to 20mph. New signage will be introduced from the end of this year and enforcement will not be stepped up, Oxfordshire County Council said in a statement
While the council has worked with Thames Valley Police – who had no objection to the 20-mile proposals for Witney – the focus is on drivers complying with the new limits through a mindset shift, rather than enforcing them.
“It is hoped that as 20-mile zones become more widespread, crossing the border will become socially unacceptable for drivers,” the council said in its statement.
The changes, which have been backed by both West Oxfordshire District Council and Witney Town Council, also include reducing some speed limits from 50 to 40mph and from 40 to 30mph around the city.
Borough Council officials have said they will also try to minimize street clutter in the areas by ensuring only the legally required amount of signage is posted around the city.
The 20-mile scheme is part of the Council’s broader Vision Zero policy, which aims to eliminate all deaths and serious injuries from Oxfordshire’s roads by 2050.
The City of Oxfordshire is the first city to reduce all residential speed limits to 20mph
Source link The City of Oxfordshire is the first city to reduce all residential speed limits to 20mph