A 20 mph speed limit for central Audlem?
ADAPT exists to encourage a sustainable and resilient community in Audlem. Having a safe and accessible village centre is consistent with this objective. It will not only reduce risks to Audlem residents but also encourage pedestrians and cyclists, both from Audlem and beyond, to frequent the core of the village. This should support the businesses trading in the centre of Audlem.
Traffic in the village is a potent high volume mix of local traffic, through traffic, HGVs and large agricultural vehicles. Passage of vehicles through the core of the village in a manner which is safe for pedestrians (especially the young and the elderly), cyclists and other vehicle traffic can only be achieved at speeds significantly below the current 30 mph speed limit. While most vehicles treat the core of the village with respect, there is a significant minority of drivers who travel at or above the current speed limit. It is likely that these vehicles may fall in the through traffic category, and their drivers may be less familiar with the unusual characteristics of the road layout in central Audlem.
Consequently, ADAPT's transport group believe that there is a strong case for the consideration of the introduction of a 20 mph speed limit in the centre of Audlem. Our initial suggestion is that the boundaries of this limit should be:
These boundaries are illustrated on the map.
There are two kinds of 20 mph restriction schemes employed in England:
For Audlem, ADAPT's initial suggestion is for the latter type, i.e. a signed-only 20 mph limit, on the following grounds:
We believe that the characteristics, layout and parking configurations in the area concerned constitute a de facto traffic calming arrangement making further physical traffic calming measures unnecessary.
There is much evidence that 20 mph zones are effective at reducing average speeds, collisions and injuries. For this reason, the majority of the 2000 schemes in operation in England are 20 mph zones.
Signed-only 20 mph limits are now recognised as being most appropriate where vehicle speeds are already relatively low, generally defined as 24 mph or less. It is our suspicion that average traffic speeds in central Audlem are below this threshold, but we do not hold evidence to support this assertion at this stage.
The reduction in average speeds which can be expected from a signed-only 20 mph limit scheme is low, generally quoted as being about 1 mph. However, early adopters of such schemes in Europe have recorded reductions in excessive speed (over 31 mph) over more than half (RoSPA paper "20 mph Zones and Limits", June 2015, page 7). The same paper (page 1) cites recent research showing that the pedestrian fatality risk in a 20 mph collision is 1.5%, compared to 8% at 30 mph.
As for enforcement, the Association of Chief Police Officers revised its guidance on enforcement, particularly in respect of 20mph limits, which are dealt with in chapter 11 and appendix A of the ACPO document included in the dossier. While an appropriately designed and implemented signed only 20 mph limit would be enforceable, it is clear from this guidance that a 20 mph zone approach would be more likely to receive active attention to enforcement from the police than a signed only 20mph limit.
So, if a greater impact than ADAPT's suggestion of a 20mph limit is desired, including active enforcement, then a 20mph zone approach may be preferred, and if so ADAPT would be equally supportive of that approach. Costs would, however be much greater, and there may be a greater extent of objection.
We believe that it is the reduction in excessive speed which is the prize available by adopting a 20 mph limit in central Audlem, and we wish to suggest that Audlem embarks on the necessary consultations and makes representation to the Traffic Authority advocating the introduction of a 20 mph limit scheme. We recognise that there may be arguments against the scheme based on these being through routes in a village environment, but the characteristics of Audlem roads are not typical of other through route village roads.
An approach has been made to Audlem Parish Council who have agreed to arrange for Cheshire East Council to undertake a traffic speed survey.
If there are concerns about resources to move the project forward, ADAPT's Transport Group are willing to provide resources to work with the Parish Council on the actions required, or even lead the research, consultations and liaisons involved were that to be the preference of the Council. This traffic speed survey is essential to provide evidence on whether current average speeds are 24 mph or less.
To provide context, we have prepared a excerpts from pertinent guidance documents which are listed below.