Yesterday I drove into central London from my home in Bromley to attend an appointment at Guys Hospital. I regularly drive in as I wish to avoid public transport mainly because I now use a wheelchair and wish to avoid the risk of a Covid infection to which I am vulnerable. So I took the A20 and A2 through Lewisham, New Cross and Deptford.
The whole route now has a 20 mph speed limit once you are in Lewisham. This makes it extremely tedious and is totally unjustified on road safety grounds. The A2 is of course the historic road from London to Dover. It should be a four-lane motorway with a 70 limit but is now reduced to a crawl from the GLA boundary.
It’s a typical example of how Transport for London (TfL) have destroyed the London road network under the chairmanship of Sadiq Khan in the last few years.
I may have a ULEZ compliant vehicle, exemption from the Congestion Charge as a Blue Badge holder, and free parking at Guys Hospital but when TfL create road congestion through stupid restrictions I end up taking hours on simple journeys.
Many years ago I used to commute into central London via car. Now that is totally impractical due to TfL induced congestion.
Since the 1960s there has been no comprehensive plan to improve London’s road network. That’s why we have horrible air pollution on roads such as the South Circular. Improvement plans are regularly defeated by anti-vehicle lobbyists and by individual councils such as Lewisham and Greenwich by nimby factions.
The UK Government has said it will back motorists who keep our country moving and its plans would include: a review of guidance on 20mph speed limits in England to prevent use in “areas where not appropriate”. Well the whole of London’s A roads should be excluded for a start.
It has been widely reported that Rishi Sunak is to announce new motorist-friendly policies that might inhibit the introduction of more LTNs, restrict more 20 mph speed limits and times of bus lanes might be relaxed. On BBC Radio Manchester he argued that prioritising driving was the best policy as the vast majority of journeys are made by car. He has that right at least so why are we spending billions of pounds on HS2 which will be used by very few people? It should surely be scrapped.
Mark Harper, Transport Minister, said this on Twitter: ”Too often the private car is vilified by Labour politicians and sneered at by the metropolitan bubble, when it has been one of the most powerful forces for personal freedom & economic growth”. But will this fine rhetoric which will no doubt be lapped up at the Conservative Party Conference this week be followed up by action to control local councillors who introduce silly speed limits. Or Sadiq Khan in London or Mark Drakeford in Wales (petition against default 20 limit in Wales now has more than 450,000 signatures but is still being ignored!).
If the Conservatives follow through on this agenda it will certainly win them some votes.
A20 Speed Limits
Meanwhile the latest imposition of an unreasonable speed limit has been imposed in the last few days on the A20 between Crittalls Corner in Sidcup and the BP service station/McDonalds before the Swanley M25 junction (eastbound only). The speed limit has been reduced to 40 from 70 and signs for average speed cameras put up and 40 repeater signs also so presumably this is a permanent change. It is unknown why this change has been made although it has been suggested that it is due to road flooding which requires some work on the road which may not be done until May 2024. However it is a ridiculously low speed limit for such a dual-carriageway.
The country is grinding to a halt because of unreasonable speed limits which will mean enormous numbers of drivers will get fines even when driving at safe speeds.