Hackney 20mph limit plan runs into diversions

THE 20mph limit in Hackney is to be extended this spring from residential streets to main roads.

The council will start a statutory consultation from 9-29 March 2015 on its wish to extend the scheme to “all its main roads”. But already problems have arisen, among them:

* The A10 (Kingsland) and Ruckholt Road and other Transport for London red routes will be exempted

* The police are showing only slightly more interest in enforcing the limit than the non-interest they evinced when 20mph became the maximum in residential streets.

In its press release and a Hackney Today article the council said that red routes comprised “around 8.5 per cent of the borough’s overall road network”, which underrates their importance: they are arterial roads.

A year ago Councillor Vincent Stops, who chairs the planning committee, said: “The big news is that there will be enforcement”. The press release for the latest scheme said: “Enforcement will be carried out by the police”.

BallsPond Rd flows S to Dalston junction 26 July 2013 © david.altheer@gmail.com BallsPond Rd flows S to Dalston junction 26 July 2013 © david.altheer@gmail.com
Balls Pond Road in Islington, which has a 20mph limit. That will continue to rise to 30mph when it mutates into Dalston Lane in Hackney

In reality, a council request to the police for a statement confirming enforcement went unanswered. But Superintendent Andy Walker, of Hackney police, told Loving Dalston: “As far as possible, 20mph zones should be self-enforcing through the design and layout of the roads.

“However, if there are problems with speeding in particular locations, such as outside schools, then police enforcement remains an option.

“We are determined to keep the borough’s roads safe for all users and we will target persistent problems with robust enforcement action.”

Tom Platt, of pedestrian charity Living Streets, told Hackney council that the “roll-out of 20mph is good news for everyone who lives, works or visits the borough”.

Councils around London were recognising that lower speed limits reduced road danger.

The Automobile Association’s road and transport policy head, Paul Watters, said: “Twenty is certainly plenty in residential areas, busy shopping streets and near schools but traffic on more important routes through London should be allowed to flow at 30mph if it is safe.”

He noted that latest Department for Transport statistics suggested that journey-time rises on London roads could be due to the expanding network of 20mph zones.

David Altheer 270215

* Documents detailing the scheme can be seen at the council offices in Keltan House, 89-115 Mare Street (020 8356 2897). Views of the proposal should be sent in writing to the assistant director (public realm).

* Picture: vehicles travelling north or south on the A10 can continue to do 30mph in Kingsland High Street

* Emboldened underscored words in most cases indicate a hyperlink, a reader service rare among websites. If a link does not work, it is probably because the site to which the URL refers has not been maintained.

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