Myths on 20mph

There have been some misconceptions about the petition for a 20mph speed limit on residential streets in York and these need clearing up.

Firstly, the petition does not call for a 20mph restriction “all over York”. It is only intended to affect residential streets, that is, those where our children might play, or our pets might roam. The main arterial roads would not be affected by the proposal.

Secondly, the accusation that the instigators are “the anti-car brigade who would seem to want the highways empty of traffic so that they can have the roads to themselves” is a wonderfully paranoid delusion.

Finally, and seriously, Portsmouth is not the only city which has employed a 20mph limit to create a safer environment. Leicester recently joined Portsmouth, Oxford and Norwich in committing to a 20mph limit for residential streets, creating safer roads for over 750,000 people. Leicester’s Green Party got the policy introduced with the support of Labour and Conservative councillors, but it was opposed by the Liberal Democrats. Hull has also introduced 20mph limits but uses ‘sleeping policemen’ to control speed. Personally, I’m not in favour of speed humps as they can cause damage to vehicles and to passengers with spinal or other injuries.

Here in York, Greens are pleased that other Councillors have supported our call to trial 20mph zones as we are doing in Fishergate, but we maintain that a city-wide implementation would make more sense for motorists as well as cyclists and pedestrians. Most people, myself included, are all three at different time: motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians. What we want is a safer environment where streets are for people no matter how we choose to get around.

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