Detailed proposals for the first area to pilot widespread 20mph speed limits in Birmingham are due before the city council’s Cabinet on November 17.
The 20 is Plenty pilot, covering most of Sparkbrook, Springfield and Moseley & Kings Heath Wards and a small part of Brandwood, is one of three being developed by the council as part of the effort to improve road safety in the city.
During public consultation staged earlier this year, 56 per cent of respondents backed the scheme, with 30 per cent against. When looking at responses from those living within the proposed pilot area, support went up to 69 per cent, with just 18 per cent against.
The first ‘inner-south’ pilot will cover approximately 90 per cent of roads, with exemptions for main A/B distributor roads on the highways network, except where there are places with a high footfall including local shopping areas and outside hospitals and schools.
Cllr Lisa Trickett, Cabinet Member for a Green, Smart and Sustainable City, said: “Public support for this scheme in Birmingham is clear and we know from other towns and cities that the improvements to safety for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians are significant.
“But we are also mindful that some people still have concerns about the impact that lower speed limits may have for traffic. That is exactly why we are running this on a pilot basis to demonstrate the benefits locally and to inform our roll-out into other areas.
“This is not a blunt instrument, but one of a range of measures that can make our roads safer. There is a role for other measures such as traffic calming but they only cover a very small geographic area and do not achieve behavioural change.
“20 is Plenty is a cost-effective way of improving safety and sends out a clear message that we want to change the culture of road use in Birmingham, particularly in our residential areas and local centres.”
The £386,000 proposals were refined as a result of the public consultation, with some extra roads added to the scheme where appropriate, including Addison Road. This followed the submission a 100-signature petition to the council, in favour of the measure as a road safety aid.
If approved by Cabinet, work to implement the 20mph limits would start in March 2015 and take around three months to complete. Before work could start there is also a statutory requirement for a further round of formal public consultation on any speed limit changes.
Cllr Tahir Ali, Cabinet Member for Development, Transport and the Economy, added: “The accident figures show that 20 is Plenty is needed for a number of significant reasons.
“Every accident is distressing for the families of those involved so it is only right we look at ways of reducing risk. The non A/B roads that will form a part of this particular pilot scheme were the location for 314 casualties between 2011 and 2013. We cannot sit back and do nothing on this.
“Based on findings from other places that have introduced similar schemes, we forecast there would be fewer accidents per year and the related economic costs from injures, hospital and ambulance costs would also reduce by £400,000, meaning the scheme would pay for itself in just one year.
“The proposals complement the emerging Birmingham Development Plan and the Birmingham Mobility Action Plan and will make the city a safer and more pleasant place in which to travel.”
Full business cases for the remaining pilot areas in inner parts of eastern Birmingham and the city centre will follow in the coming months.
Notes to editors
A mythbusters document addressing some of the frequently-raised concerns about 20mph limits can be found here.
For more media information please contact Kris Kowalewski on 0121 303 3621