Slower is safer in the city centre

Anne Shaw, Assistant Director for Transportation and Connectivity at Birmingham City Council, blogs on the plan to introduce 20mph limits to most roads in and around the city centre, with work starting today (May 16)…

Over the last couple of years there has been lots said about the plans to introduce 20mph limits to the vast majority of Birmingham’s roads.

20mph limits will soon be coming to the vast majority of city centre roads

20mph limits are coming to the vast majority of city centre roads

To erase any doubts or cynicism, the move isn’t about a war on motorists or raising revenue. It is based on one simple statement – slower is safer.

We’ve started things off with work in a number of areas to the south and east of the city centre including the likes of Moseley and Kings Heath, Sparkbrook, Bordesley Green and Washwood Heath.

Work to install signs and lines in these areas is now substantially complete and drivers should be getting used to sticking to the new speed limits in advance of them shortly becoming legally enforceable.

Now we are turning our attention to the next phase which covers the city centre itself.

As a busy area where people use every conceivable mode of transport to get from A to B, it’s crucial we do everything we can to make our highways as safe as possible.

The new speed limits send out a clear message that speeding is not accepted and that the council and its partners are committed to road safety.

Signs will soon be appearing on lampposts and there will be new markings on roads in relevant areas.

We know from the first phase of the scheme there is some uncertainty over the law when this work starts.

In the interests of transparency and openness, we want to be clear the new slower limits are NOT enforceable until the scheme is complete in the city centre pilot area.

We hope motorists will use the signage popping up as an early reminder to cut their speed and get into the good habits that will make the city centre an even more welcoming and inviting place to be.

Anne Shaw - Assistant Director for Transportation and Connectivity

Anne Shaw – Assistant Director for Transportation and Connectivity

The implementation of the scheme is supported by an ongoing campaign of publicity and community engagement, to persuade people of the benefits of driving at 20mph on residential roads. We’re delighted to have the full support of our road safety partners for this campaign, including the police and the fire service.

Whilst there will be targeted enforcement aimed at problem locations and persistent offenders, we know from other areas that speeding fines are not the answer.  20mph is more than just a speed limit. It’s about changing the way motorists see residential roads.

The support of the public is vital in achieving self-enforcement and compliance. This should not be about the council or the police coming along and saying – you will drive at 20mph. Local people are the ones who drive on their own streets and the people who are most likely to benefit if everyone drives a little slower.

But there’ll continue to be concerns and we expect and understand that. Hopefully this mythbusters document, will help allay any fears that anyone has.

We’ll keep posting updates at www.birmingham.gov.uk/20mph – so if you have an interest in what we are doing, make sure you visit the page regularly.  You can also follow us on twitter (@bham20mph).

Here’s to a slower and safer city centre!

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