A proposal from the City of London Corporation for 15 mph speed limits in the City have been blocked by central Government. The Department for Transport (DfT) said it would be hard to enforce such a limit as not all cars have speedometers marked with 5 mph markings and speedometers are not accurate enough.
The City Corporation is still planning to put up 15 mph limit signs but they can legally be ignored.
Comment: This is an enormous waste of money as traffic in the City rarely exceeds 15 mph. At least someone in the DfT has some common sense. Putting up signs would not have made any difference to road safety figures. But we still have Transport for London (TfL) imposing 20 mph speed limits on main roads in London which is slowing traffic and is totally unnecessary plus widely ignored. Driving even at 20 mph consistently is not at all easy in modern cars so it’s just another imposition on drivers by the cycling fanatics in TfL who seem to wish everyone slowed down to their speed.
There is no evidence that putting up 20 mph speed limit signs has any road safety benefit.
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The City of London Corporation, who govern the square mile, have published their proposed Transport Strategy. It is surely one of the most paranoid attacks on all forms of transport vehicles ever proposed. It includes the following proposals:
- A City-wide speed limit for all vehicles of 15 mph, with Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA) being used in all buses and public service vehicles to enforce it.
- Priority given to pedestrians, even over cyclists, in most of the City’s streets.
- Encouraging the Mayor of London to implement a central London zero emission vehicle zone, or if he does not doing it themselves for the City, i.e. only electric vehicles would be permitted.
- Reducing vehicular traffic by 25% by 2025.
- Expanding the City’s cycle network with wider cycle lanes.
As I said in my previous report on consultation meetings for the development of the Transport Strategy: “The road network will be degraded in the alleged interests of cyclists, pedestrians and environmental dogma”. See https://freedomfordrivers.blog/2018/07/01/degrading-the-road-network-in-the-city-of-london/ . One of the “key themes” that the Corporations officers say came out of these events were that motor traffic levels on the City’s streets are too high. That’s not how I recall the meetings. There were more concerns expressed about dangerous cycling than road traffic. There was of course no mention of a wide-area 15 mph speed limit in any of their consultations or meetings.
Bearing in mind that the vast majority of City workers do walk to work from main line or underground stations, and that some locations are overcrowded, improvement in pedestrian facilities does make some sense. But ignoring the needs of vehicle users is wrong. Very few people drive in the City unless they need to. The City is even going to discourage taxis and PHVs and it is going to work with TfL to reduce the number of buses. Likewise there are proposals to reduce the number of service and delivery vehicles in the square mile.
The proposed 15 mph speed limit is surely not going to be complied with, and that applies to pedal cyclists as much as vehicle drivers. It is very difficult to drive a car at 15 mph or less consistently if for no other reason than vehicle speedometers are not accurate or easy to read at very low levels. The only reason it might be complied with is because of traffic congestion which reduces vehicle speeds already to below that level for much of the time. But I would also question whether such a limit is legally enforceable. Signs to indicate that limit would be required but there are no legally approved signs of that nature (only 20, 30 etc.). Driving vehicles at less than 15 mph will of course increase air pollution so it’s also contradictory to their other transport policies.
The City Corporation will be undertaking a public consultation on their Transport Strategy in November. Readers are encouraged to respond to it. You can read the draft Transport Strategy document here: http://democracy.cityoflondon.gov.uk/documents/s102969/Draft%20TS%20Local%20Plan%20Sub%20091018%20combined.pdf
In the meantime, the City’s Planning and Transport Committee confirmed that the closure of Bank junction will be made permanent despite that fact that numerous vehicle drivers are clearly not aware of the restriction and collect a fine from driving through it.
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