Is 20 Plenty for Twickenham?

A slow day for localness

A slow day for traffic?

Mucho commento at El Brute towers, on the interwebz and in the pages of the Richmond & Twickenham Times about a 20mph speed limit being applied (or rather, not) in Manor Grove, North Sheen. El Brute recently turned down a request for a 20mph limit in the street on the grounds of a low response to its consultation. Then contrast this with a petition on the same subject signed by a majority of the householders in the road which ‘proved’ that support was there all along. Since then it’s become a “he said, she said” debate about levels of support, party political activism and other such stuff that you’ll just have to look up for yourself if you can be bothered.

Meanwhile, the TWAP (that’s the Twickenham Action Plan to the likes of you) proposes a 20mph limit in Twickenham. Assuming that goes ahead a large area of central Twickenham will be covered. Good thing? Bad thing? Or maybe just something that’s keeping up with the reality of much of the traffic flow anyway. But what about other roads, especially our residential streets – some of which turn into rat runs at rush hour? Should we all be going “twenty’s plenty for us” and voting for the reduced speed limit? The Council indicates that it’s “not averse” to the idea and has a page on its website about how to apply, expected levels of support and other “less intrusive” options to consider. No doubt the Borough’s official provider of speed limit signs must be a keen supporter of changing limits too. It could end up with motorists doing the 20 / 30 hokey-cokey as they drive around the town. Putting that to one side, it’s a serious subject and there’s plenty of clear evidence to demonstrate that lowering the limit significantly reduces the risk of death or serious injury in the event of an accident.

In the light of the Battle of Manor Grove, the growing “20s plenty for us” campaign and the recent spate of serious accidents in London involving cyclists we asked El Brute for an update on the introduction of 20mph limits in Twickenham. So far they’ve kept their own counsel on the matter – or perhaps our request is just proceeding sedately along in slow moving traffic.

So, is the prospect of 20mph limits in Twickenham sending you into a petrol sniffing, Clarkson-esque rage or are you standing outside your house, tin of white paint in hand, just waiting for the go ahead?

* Richmond Council 20mph Page
* 20s Plenty for Us


Filed under Council, Twickenham Action Plan

24 responses to “Is 20 Plenty for Twickenham?

  1. Pingback: Time for 20mph in Richmond | Richmond Cycling Campaign

  2. In response to Twickerati’s last tweet, let me bring light to the debate….

    Nemesis is a bit naughty to post a link from a Telegraph article which might just be biased. On the effectiveness of 20mph zones and limits, a fair review of the available evidence is the report of the Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents which can be read here.

    There are also plenty of well-researched reports (including internationally) on the 20s plenty website here.

    In the multiple posts below, Nemesis also recycles nearly all of the hoary old myths about 20mph limits. It would be tedious to rebut them all here – however, the 20s plenty website has a convenient page dealing with the myths here!

    I am delighted that Alexis agrees with me about the need for 20 mph limits. However, I should note that I didn’t select Amyand Park Road because it was “convenient” but simply because I walk along it every day and so do my children.

    In my letter to the Richmond & Twickenham Times, Alexis accuses me of making a “blatant bit of LibDem party political puff”. I guess that is a reference to me saying that we needed a change of council to get the 20mph limits that we need. That’s just a statement of fact. If I had wanted to be party polical, I would have pointed out that only the Liberal Democrats can beat the Tories in Richmond and Twickenham… 😉

    • Alexis

      Mr Goodrich says:
      “In my letter to the Richmond & Twickenham Times, Alexis accuses me of making a “blatant bit of LibDem party political puff” he then goes on to say: “If I had wanted to be party polical, I would have pointed out that only the Liberal Democrats can beat the Tories in Richmond and Twickenham…”.
      He is, of course quite right, Labour have no chance, Independents have no chance and a solitary UKIP candidate, if successful, can only hope to hold the balance of power – that would be interesting!
      I really don’t want to go back to the ghastly Lourie years when we were told how to live our lives. He might be gone but the old guard who pulled his party political strings are still lurking on the LibDem benches in the Council chamber, waiting and hoping and, perhaps, praying. In the absence of any viable Labour candidates, the new generation like Cllr’s, Knight, Churchill and Roberts seem to be determined to sleepwalk us into some sort of alternative left wing cul-de-sac. I really hope they don’t get the chance to sucker us yet again.
      Perhaps the new mantra should be: “Vote LibDem get Labour”
      PS: I’m still in favour of a 20mph speed limit on non-main residential roads – Since Mr Goodrich agrees, I wonder if he has a view on how this would be policed? I ‘m afraid I don’t.

  3. George

    I’d say yes to 20mph in central Twickenham and other town centres, and yes to 20mph in residential side streets. If you’re driving down a residential road with cars parked on sides then 30mph is too fast and, if you;re a sane driver, it actually seems too fast. A 20mph limit should help to curb the worst offenders and also serve to raise awareness that in narrower, residential streets it doesn’t take much to cause a potential accident – a child stepping out, a car door flung open, a cyclist to ‘squeeze past’, a buggy nosing out between parked cars.

  4. Absolutely. We should have a 20mph limit for all residential roads unless there is a good reason otherwise. Other London boroughs have acted as have other councils up and down the country.

    A few words on the LBRUT “scheme” for nominating roads for 20mph zones. It doesn’t work.

    OK – a few more words:

    1. They require a ludicrously high response rate (with no answers taken as a negative vote). If they applied this to their “consultations”, they would presumably nevery change anything and if it was applied to local elections, no councillors would ever be elected…

    2. If you get over that hurdle, they seem to require actual accidents before considering whether they will take action. (In the meantime, spending money on further traffic monitoring and consultations).

    In short, the scheme is set up to make it almost impossible to actually obtain a 20mph zone and is little more than a sham so the Tory council can pretend to be doing something.

    Even complete no-brainers like Amyand Park Road, where there are literally hundreds of kids walking and cycling to school in the morning and it just isn’t safe to drive above 20mph, can’t get the lower limit (or apparently any signage at the St Mary’s end).

    The local Lib Dems have got a petition up on this and I would urge anyone who wants a new approach to sign it.

    (Before the inevitable response, yes, I am a Lib Dem supporter but if any other party had a petition up, I would be more than happy to promote that as well. The more people behind the campaign, the better as far as I am concerned).

    • Alexis

      I’m with Mr Goodrich on this issue although not necessarily with his motive which may well be political rather than altruistic. He recently had a letter published in the R&TT. It was along the same lines but ended with a blatant bit of LibDem party political puff – how silly was that! At least, having been outed by Ms Meagher in her reply, he has attempted to downplay his LibDemmery and makes a few good points.

      1. Quite right. I’m all for a 20mph limit on all residential side roads, although not main roads other than adjacent to primary schools. If we have to have a consultation, why not work on the basis of a minimum 60% response rate with 31%+ representing a majority? Those who can’t be bothered to respond should be discounted.

      2. Amyand Park Road always should have been 20mph, however it’s a convenient example for Mr Goodrich to use. Try doing more than 20mph in that road at the best of times and you are a far braver person than I or are a van driver. There was a recent accident involving a parked Range Rover although that appeared to be down to the sort of careless behaviour that can and does happen on any road.

      3. How will 20mph be policed? Are we to be subjected to yet more cameras? Who’s going to do something about the adversarial/speed cyclists who make driving a car a nerve-racking experience? Try sticking to 30 on Staines, Hampton or London Road and you will soon have a van clamped to your bumper with the driver’s phone clamped to his ear. Speed limits are routinely ignored by a growing number of motorists because they are often ill-thought through and mostly unenforced, so, I wonder how Mr Goodrich and his LibDem chums plan to enforce a borough wide 20mph zone if that is to be in their manifesto?


    • nemesis

      Where is the statistical evidence that 20mph limits work? Because other councils have done this is not grounds to follow suit.
      As regards to the survey; Isn’t taking ‘non responses’ as a negative vote equally bad as taking them to mean a positive response?
      Taking accident statistics into account seems to be a sensible and valid response before introducing these costly measures.
      What are the child accident statistics for Amyand Park Road? Most people who use this road would drive with extreme caution anyway due to the nature of the road. Those that dont would probably ignore speed limits anyway. Who is to say that driving past school children at an arbitary 20mph is safe. Best to concentrate on road conditions than be focused on your speedo.

  5. Rufus McDufus

    Would it make any difference? I’m struggling to see where it’s possible to get much above 20 , and probably wouln’t be enforced very rigorously anyway. So it doesn’t really bother me.

  6. Delayed of Twickenham

    Not going to make any difference is it. The oldies and the yummy mummies all drive at 15mph round here anyway, even slower when there’s a cyclist in front of them because they seem to need at least 5m clearance to overtake a cyclist these days. So all the traffic is below 20mph anyway.

  7. anonymouse

    The Twickenham Highways scheme only has 20mph limits on the main roads through the town centre. The Council claim the 20mph limit will make the roads safer for cyclists and pedestrians.

    Well, that all makes sense good sense, provided the roads are designed to minimise conflict between the different road users/crossers (but that’s another can of worms).

    What doesn’t make any sense is the Council’s reluctance to introduce a general 20mph limit on residential side roads, if as they claim 20mph is The solution to high street safety.

    One of their impossible Con-ditions is that accidents have already occured on the nominated road.
    Another condition is that nearly everyone in surrounding area (not just the road in question) responds to their Con-sultation positively, because no reply = a No vote. Given the incredibly poor response to recent Council consultations (they seem pleased with 1-2%), this is an absolute show stopper.

    The ‘Listening’ Council certainly seem to have achieved maximum hypocrisy levels on this issue and have upset many, many residents by setting impossible Con-ditions. Probably not a wise move Con-sidering the proximity of Council elections.

    • nemesis

      “Another condition is that nearly everyone in surrounding area (not just the road in question) responds to their Con-sultation positively”
      Perhaps because you dont own the road outside your house and because adjacent roads are likely to use said road fairly frequently.

  8. Roger Crouch

    Agree with previous comments. Not only good for safety but reduces vehicle emissions and noise on residential streets. Let’s reclaim streets for residents. Instead of looking at 20mph limits on a street by street basis and having to jump through technicalities it would be easier to introduce 20mph limits on all residential roads across the Borough. This is happening in other parts of London.

  9. Anonymous

    Slightly off-topic: I’d like to see the Scottish system where they have a temporary 20 mph limit outside schools. This is only operational when children are arriving or leaving. The 20 mph signs are electronic and only switched on (presumably by the school’s staff) at the appropriate time.

    This might solve the speeding problem outside schools on a main road, where a full-time 20 mph zone may not be appropriate.

    They do some things better in Scotland!

  10. Adam

    Not unusual for local residents views to carry little weight. When there is any consultation process, professional lobbyists from across the country stick their oar in, drowning out any local voice.

  11. The Scout

    Of course we should reduce speed limits on residential roads. It’s a simple measure to reduce car emissions and potential accidents. A ‘no-brainer’.

  12. Got on bus 93 from Putney Station toward Wimbledon Village and almost every side street had two big “20” sign at the entrance. Richmond Council could on this occasion look for inspiration at Wandsworth.
    “Twenty is plenty” on residential streets, but not on general busy roads. It wouldn’t be that hard to remember, that when you get off the ‘high street’ you are down to 20 where ever you go off a busy road.