Proposals for the third initial area to showcase widespread 20mph speed limits in Birmingham are due before the city council’s cabinet on February 16.
The latest part of the 20 is Plenty project, covering all of the city centre inside the ring road including parts of Ladywood, Nechells and Aston wards, is being developed by the council as part of the effort to improve road safety.
As in the other approved areas (inner-south and inner-east Birmingham), this proposal will cover approximately 90 per cent of roads, with exemptions for main A/B classified roads and main bus routes – except places with a high footfall including local shopping areas and schools.
The area was chosen as one of the first three to trial the reduced speeds on the basis it covers wards which have some of the highest accident rates on residential roads.
Cllr Tahir Ali, Cabinet Member for Development, Transport and the Economy, said: “The accident figures show there is a clear need for ’20 is Plenty’ regulations here in Birmingham.
“The non A/B roads that will form a part of this particular scheme were the location for 288 collisions, involving 371 injuries, between 2011 and 2013.
“This included 50 deaths, or serious injuries. In simple terms, that is roughly one injury every three days – we have got to do something about this and we are.
“Based on findings from similar schemes in other locations, we forecast there would be fewer accidents per year – the related annual costs from injuries, hospital and ambulance services, would also reduce by up to £637,000, meaning the scheme could pay for itself in just eight months.
“Importantly, the plans also complement the Birmingham Development Plan and the Birmingham Connected transport strategy and will help make the city a safer and better place to travel in.”
If approved by Cabinet, work to implement the 20mph limits at a cost of £400,000 would start in June 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 Lisa Trickett, Cabinet Member for a Green, Smart and Sustainable City, said: “Just over a century ago, open sewers were the biggest danger to public health. More recently smoking in public places was a serious threat. As a society, we dealt with these challenges.
“Now, we need to turn our attention to vehicle speed. Put simply, speed kills – and is a greater risk for children than any other group.
“We know some people remain to be convinced of the benefits to be gained from 20 is Plenty – that is why we think a series of initial areas, showcasing the advantages, is the best way forward as part of our efforts to make roads safer.
“The project will help inform our roll-out into other areas -“ and it is not a blunt instrument, but one of a many of measures that can make our roads safer for all.
“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 residential areas and local centres.”
A number of requests were made to increase or decrease existing road speeds limits as part of this latest proposal. Some roads are being decreased to 20mph as a result, but in the case of James Watt Queensway, the limit is being increased to 30mph from the existing 20mph to ensure the dual carriageway has consistency with other dual carriageways in the area.
Notes to editors
A mythbusters document addressing some of the frequently-raised concerns about 20mph limits can be found here.
During public consultation staged between September and October 2014, 50 per cent of respondents backed the scheme due before Cabinet on February 16, with 32 per cent against.
When looking at responses from those actually living within the third initial area, support went up to 60 per cent, with just 26 per cent against.
For more media information please contact Kris Kowalewski on 0121 303 3621