Friday, 26 September 2008

KENT AND MEDWAY ROAD CASUALTIES REMAIN CAUSE FOR CONCERN

KENT PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Friday 26th September 2008 - 27 Audley Avenue, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 1XF - www.kentgreenparty.org 0845 257 4236 – 01732 355185 – Mobile: 079444 71083

ROAD CASUALTIES REMAIN CAUSE FOR CONCERN

The Department for Transport has released the latest road casualty figures. Kent and Medway had 834 casualties in 2007, which included 358 cyclists and 75 children. Dr Hazel Dawe, Chair of Kent Green Party, is calling for 20 mph limits in all residential areas to reduce these casualty figures. She says:
“Kent County Council has been very slow to respond to calls for 20 mph speed limits in residential areas. It should have a uniform policy for all residential roads, along with Medway, in its Local Transport Plan.
“I lived in Austria for 17 years. The city of Graz in Austria has half the rate of road deaths compared with similar cities in the UK, thanks to a speed limit on almost all roads of 30 kph (19 mph). When the new speed limit was introduced in 1992, there was a sharp decline of 24% in serious injuries on the roads. Kent and Medway should follow the lead which Graz has given.
“At present, Kent is planning to allow increases in traffic despite the increasing air pollution in many Kent communities(1). This, combined with permitting excessive speeds in residential areas, shows an exceptional lack of concern for public safety and public health. We call upon Kent and Medway councils to take action on these matters without delay.”
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FURTHER INFORMATION: Dr Hazel Dawe, Chair, KENT GREEN PARTY ON 01732 355185, OR 0845 257 4236 or mobile: 079444 71083. Contact address as above.

Notes:
1. Kent has over 50 Air Quality Management Areas due to high levels of air pollution.

1 comment:

james wishart said...

Hello,
I read with interest your item on traffic in Kent and Medway. These schemes are dependant on a change in culture. I am a retired civil engineer maintaining an interest in environmental issues.

A current civilizing trend in towns is for the authorities to calm traffic in residential areas. Apart from the obvious safety benefits it makes these living areas more pedestrian friendly. However in spite of the popularity of calmer traffic with the public there are some commonly held negative views regarding 20mph areas which are usually based on misconceptions or misapprehensions.

"20mph is too slow for most traffic." In fact, in most residential areas, the average speed will already be below 30mph. Government guidance for road planners in the recently published Manual for Streets stipulates that all residential areas should be governed by 20mph limits

"20mph limits require road humps which are a nuisance". As stated above the average speed in residential areas is likely to be just over 20mph. At this low average speed, the law permits the provision of 20mph areas without road humps. The need for physical measures to slow traffic will become less urgent when the new culture of slower speeds is established and accepted.

"If the average speed of traffic is already low why do we need 20mph zones?" Accident statistics show that the death rate resulting from a collision between a car and a pedestrian is nine times higher for 30mph than it is for 20mph. But a major benefit of a slower speed in residential areas is that the environment is improved for the residents, the street becomes more of a 'place' than a traffic conduit.

"20mph zones are already provided near schools. Why do we need them elsewhere?" Pedestrians are vulnerable whatever their age and children do not disappear when remote from schools.

Good luck in your efforts,

regards,
James Wishart BA, CEng, MICE,
23 Palmerston Road,
Northampton
NN1 5EU