Caroline Russell

Publication from Caroline Russell: Letter to the Mayor on safe speeds for central London

Date published: 
10 July 2019

Dear Sadiq,

Safe speeds for central London – introducing 20 mph speed limits

I note your proposals to introduce further 20 mph speed limits in central London as part of your Vision Zero action plan. I strongly support these plans for a welcome extension of 20 mph limits as a means to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on our city’s roads. However, I think you should go further and make 20 mph the default limit on every road in London where there is a pavement and where people walk and cycle.

Slowing vehicle speeds on roads where people live, work and play is fundamental to tackling road danger. Your justification for these changes rightly notes the unacceptable number of people killed in speed related collisions on all of London’s streets. Combined with those suffering serious injury that represents a toll of 2,384 people killed or seriously injured in speed-related collisions in the last three years.

Tackling hostile main roads dominated by fast moving traffic can unlock a number of opportunities. Slower speeds reduce danger, noise and pollution and make roads safer and more pleasant for walking and cycling. The accompanying measures you have outlined in the consultation such as raised pedestrian crossings and tables will help support these improvements for people crossing the road. I am particularly interested to understand the outcomes of research into the measures adopted and encourage you to get TfL to communicate the results and share them widely.

The enforcement of 20 mph speed limits is a topic frequently raised with me as a councillor and assembly member. It is right that existing enforcement measures for 30 mph are updated to support 20 mph as well. In addition, I would encourage you to use a combination of engagement and enforcement to back up the new limits at the point of their introduction. That opportunity should be used to reinforce existing 20 mph limits, not just to focus on the streets newly reduced to 20 mph.

I was pleased to hear in response to a recent Mayor’s Question that you accept that vehicle technology has a critical part to play in reducing deaths and serious injuries in London and that Transport for London (TfL) is already insisting on Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) on all new buses it purchases, with just over 800 currently running on the network. I urge you to ensure that every bus operating in central London is fitted with ISA by the time these limits come in to operation.

I welcome all the proposed new roads moving to 20 mph in the phase 1 plans in central London, but these proposals still leave roads in inner London like Euston Road, Finchley Road and Seven Sisters Road at 30 mph. Timing for phase 2 remains unclear, and if it tracks your Vision Zero action plan, could be as late as 2024. There should be a clear commitment and timetable for future reductions in speed.

Before you come to consult on phase 2, I urge you to review the approach proposed for areas beyond central London. 20 mph should be the default for any road with a pavement, and where people walk and cycle. Higher speed limits should be the exception, rather than the other way around.

So, in summary I support the proposals in this consultation, but urge you to act sooner and more comprehensively on bringing 20 mph limits to roads throughout London.

Yours sincerely,
Caroline Russell
Green Party Member of the London Assembly

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