30mph is too high

The Rev John Collins has rather strange views on speed limits as shown in his letter to last week’s Observer and in previous correspondence to this paper in which he opposed the slowing of traffic near West Dean Primary School.

Much has been written, and will be written, about statistics in the national press by those who do not want to curb motorists’ ‘freedom’ (ignoring the ‘freedom’ of the school child or elderly person to travel on our city streets in safety and without fear).

What we do know is that luckily the six or seven deaths in the past two years in the whole of the UK on 20mph streets were extremely random and rare events.

This is an inevitable effect of the increase in number of 20mph streets. Is this one extra death a good enough reason to stick to 30mph?

On 30mph limit streets there was a corresponding increase from 546 fatalities to 612 in the same time period. I would rather ask whether 30mph limits are fit for purpose on our busy, congested city streets.

I am seriously worried by Rev Collins’ assertion that drivers need to be driving fast to pay attention on the roads. I doubt very much that variable and frequently-changing poster campaigns, as he suggests, would be allowed by the DfT, as a key concern for traffic engineers is the standardisation of signs.

Perhaps we should re-think our plethora of signs and look toward the shared space idea where, by making streets look more lived-in and less like race tracks with barriers, all road users are asked to treat all other road users with greater respect, caution and common sense.

Signalling at junctions is essential, but what the 20’s Plenty Community Group proposes is the sharing of our streets on a more equal footing between pedestrians, cyclists and car drivers. This is a whole new concept for Chichester and some people clearly find the idea of change very challenging.

Sarah Sharp

Whyke Lane, Chichester