20mph Speed Limits

The new normal?

Join in our survey on 20mph speed limits.

You saw it in Australia – the climate emergency is now.  Australia is but the beginning.  Elmbridge is not immune.  We need to act now but in a considered and measured fashion.

In Elmbridge one of the biggest causes of the climate emergency is car traffic.  The internal combustion engine belching out fumes and carbon dioxide.  

We, in Elmbridge, are big users of cars and compared to the national average we seem to like big cars that cause even more climate emergency problems.

What if we could travel safety to where we wanted to go without having to belch out fumes?  Simply do what the Dutch and Danes take for granted – we could cycle.

Cycling is the healthiest form of transport.  People who cycle live longer than those who do not.

We need to change the design of our streets so that our own first choice of travel is by cycle.  To do that we need two things:

– 20mph speed limits on side streets – this is relatively cheap to do.

– Separate cycle ways alongside main roads – this is more expensive, but we can do it if we want a healthier and safer environment.

Join our survey on 20mph speed limits.

Your frequently asked questions on
20 mph speed limits

Investing in Weybridge

Most of the funding for the new market / fair street improvement is being funded by CIL

New building development in Weybridge has meant that we have around £500,000 to invest in projects that improve our lives in Weybidge.

If your organisation has a project that will contribute to Weybridge’s infrastructure then apply for a grant from Elmbridge borough. You can apply for grants up to £500,000 from 13 February.

Click here for a summary on CIL and get examples of recent bids here.

Complete and submit your application by midnight on Sunday
29 March 2020.

Click here for further detailed information about the CIL grant process and do contact the borough CIL team on 01372 474342 or email cil@elmbridge.gov.uk or ourselves if you need help and guildance.

20s Plenty for Us

Why reduce speeds in our residential streets?
There are a whole host of reasons but in climate emergency terms it is to enable people to travel in the safest, healthiest and greenest way that we know and that is by cycling. We know that people will cycle if they feel safe.  The way to do this is to provide cycle ways separate from the carriageway – as opposed to a narrow lane in the kerb; and, on our side streets to have speed limits set below 20mph.

Just imagine the difference if all our secondary children could walk or cycle to their local school.  Of course, we would be reducing air pollution too.

Why is 20mph so important for safety?

Studies show that humans react differently when they are moving below 20mph as opposed to when they are moving above that speed.  It is all to do with our own maximum sprinting speed.  For obvious reasons, evolution did not equip us to react to situations when we were travelling faster than we could sprint.  So when travelling below 20mph we can deal with other drivers, pedestrians and cyclists in a far more convivial manner than when we are travelling above that speed.  

We have 30mph now – is that not good enough?

When the urban speed limit was set at 30mph in 1934 it was a matter of judgement that is was a safer speed.  Via a great deal of research, we now know that at above roughly 22mph most people find it difficult to read the intention of the person coming towards us.  The lower our speed, the more likely it would be that we could avoid bumping or crashing into someone. 

But we know driving slower is safer – what is so special about 20mph?
,,
Unlike braking distance, which increases with speed gradually, the ability to read the intention of a person coming toward you declines slowly up to around 20mph and then collapses rapidly.  Below that speed, you can see where the other person is looking and act accordingly.  Above that speed, you have to guess – and guess very quickly – to avoid a crash or, more seriously, injury or death.

The police cannot enforce a 20mph speed limit – so what is the point?

It is regrettable that our police service is decidedly overstretched but just because our police cannot, at the moment, enforce the speed this does not mean a 20mph limit should not be introduced.  Otherwise we might as well abolish the crime of theft.

Brooklands Business Park Accessibility Project

Your local councillors recently attended an update briefing from Surrey CC’s Transport Strategy Project Manager and Transport Planner on the work planned to provide improved pedestrian and cycling paths from Weybridge town centre to the station and through to Brooklands Park. 

Some preparatory work has already been completed:

  • Last summer clearing of ground-covering scrub and trees was undertaken along Heath Road; a few trees were retained to give a better aesthetic and the paths will be routed around these. 
  • The much-needed resurfacing of St George’s Avenue last October was also part of the scheme and a dropped kerb was built towards the station end of the road so that cyclists can come off the road onto a short section of pavement to then cross the main road via the refuge.
  • In November, the refuges for pedestrian access to the station were widened and dropped kerbs improved.

More work is planned for the February half-term, including larger refuges for the crossing on Brooklands Road to Heath Road South car park. Following this, the track from the car park, past the sewage treatment works, across the River Wey and through to Brooklands will be widened and provided with lighting. Funding has been ear-marked for improvements to Sopwith Drive and Wellington Way as well as for better pedestrian access to the station and for increased cycle parking provision. There will be bus stop improvements and suitably placed finger-post signs. The path under Wellington Way occasionally floods, as it has done recently, and a raised boardwalk is planned to keep this path open and usable more often.

If there is sufficient money then a second phase will be considered to link the planned route from Heath Road through to Churchfields and the town centre. This exciting proposition would complement the current discussions of a town regeneration scheme centred around developing the publicly-owned NHS, library and community centre sites. There would be further public consultation on any proposed options.

Cycling to a new level

The regular monthly Sunday Elmbridge cycle ride is called off because of the weather.  The next ride will be on Sunday 8th March. 

But if you want to look towards the summer the Elmbridge Cycle Group is planning cycle tour in Switzerland – to ride from the source of the River Rhine to Lake Constance in Germany.

The trip will be towards the end of June (provisionally 21st June to 28th June).  They will start in Andermatt at the source of the Rhine River and will follow it (mostly downhill) until it reaches Lake Constance.  This will be about 5 days of cycling with one or two rest days or optional side excursions to Liechtenstein, St Gall and/or Friedrichshafen.  Beyond Lake Constance there is another option to continue for three or four more days to Basel.

Typical distances will be between 30km and 60km per day.

If you are interested or have any questions please let George of Elmbridge Cycle Group know.

Safer streets

Would you believe that some city governments are actually removing roadside cycle paths? In most places across the country there is a dire need for safer cycle facilities. Surely removing cycle paths is grossly irresponsible. Well it depends on the circumstances. If traffic is already going at less than 20mph then separating cycles and cars need no longer be necessary.

We believe people in Elmbridge want a better quality of life, a safer place to live and, if possible, an environmentally sustainable neighbourhood too. We feel that, for a whole host of reasons residential streets should have a maximum speed limit of 20mph.

Nearly all the road danger occurs in residential streets. More than half of road deaths and serious injuries occur on roads with 30 mph limits. Britain has the highest percentage of pedestrian road fatalities in Europe 20% and Britain has one of the lowest levels of children walking or cycling to school in Europe. British parents consistently cite traffic speed as the main reason why their children are not allowed to cycle or walk to school.

As the main roads will still have limits of 30mph and above, car journey times would hardly lengthen at all. Lowering residential speed limits to 20mph has been found to increase a 15 minute car journey by less than a minute.

Lowering urban and residential speed limits to 20mph has been found to decrease child pedestrian accidents by 70%. Where 20mph limits and similar measures have been introduced 24% of in town trips are made by bicycle. Noise levels are lower and crime falls too.

80% of the public and 75% of drivers support 20mph as a speed limit on residential streets and now city governments around the country are beginning to introduce citywide 20mph limits: Bristol, Edinburgh, Hull, Portsmouth, Northampton and Nottingham – Islington becomes the first borough in London.

A noticeable feature of area-wide 20mph limits is that as more people begin to live in 20mph streets they drive down other people’s 20mph streets at a more respectable speed. This re-enforces the lower speed limit for everyone – speed humps and chicanes become things of the past.

It is time for our residential roads to be equitably shared with all the users by setting an appropriate speed limit that protects the young and the vulnerable. The time for 20mph as a speed limit on residential roads in Elmbridge has come.

Monica Harding thanks local voters and activists for their support

The Liberal Democrat candidate Monica Harding fought a powerful campaign in the General Election in Esher & Walton – gaining 28,389 votes against the current Tory MP Dominic Raab’s 31,132. Although Monica was 2,743 short of winning the contest, the result showed a strong swing towards the Liberal Democrats – in fact the largest swing in the country. In 2017 Mr Raab still had a majority of more than 23,000.

Monica is grateful to all those who voted for her as their preferred choice for our future MP, and wishes to thank warmly all the hundreds of volunteers who supported her campaign.

Underneath you can read Monica’s letter to residents and activists following the general election.

We are not a ‘safe seat’ any longer

The old adage about ‘safe seats’ does not apply in the Esher & Walton constituency any longer. Here’s the proof. Elmbridge voted decisively ‘remain’ in the European election by voting for the Liberal Democrats – ahead of the Brexit Party and the Conservatives.

And the most recent YouGov poll in the Esher & Walton constituency confirms that the Liberal Democrats are ahead of the Conservatives in people’s voting intentions.
So the time has come to send a Liberal Democrat to Westminster as our MP.

Our parliamentary candidate Monica Harding is campaigning energetically to unseat the current Tory MP Dominic Raab, who does not represent our views.
Get to know Monica and support her campaign!
https://www.monicaharding.org
https://www.facebook.com/MonicaHardingEsherWalton

This is the Liberal Democrat Manifesto for Elmbridge

Safer, Greener, Smarter

Environment
Climate Change is an existential threat to humankind.  We will put Elmbridge on a path to become carbon neutral and will adopt appropriate policies to this end. We will work with local businesses and residents to identify and implement smart and practical measures to achieve our goal. This work will bring tangible benefits to our neighbourhoods and to our personal well-being, too.

Traffic
We will begin to tackle traffic congestion and cut air pollution by installing 20mph in residential areas, improving public transport, discouraging engine idling near schools and elsewhere, and promoting walking and cycling options across Elmbridge.  We will install electric vehicle-charging points in our car parks, encourage them in any new developments and provide free parking for zero-emission cars. We will co-ordinate on and off-street parking, introduce smart parking charging and secure easy access to services.

Planning
We will defend the Green Belt and implement a “brownfield sites first” approach in the upcoming local plan.  We will campaign for infrastructure improvements to be in place for new developments. We will set targets for social housing and family starter homes to meet the needs of a younger generation.  We will encourage local forums to create neighbourhood plans. We will also promote the concentration of shops and services in town centres.

Crime
We will strengthen Neighbourhood Watch and anti-social behaviour teams, and work with Surrey Police to restore neighbourhood policing.  We will promote leisure, sport and social facilities for young people in all towns.

Democracy
We will ensure full transparency in both borough and county budget planning and spending, as well as in the conduct of planning applications – with full accountability to residents.  We support the introduction of an effective unitary authority by merging the county and borough levels into one authority in place of the current Surrey County Council and Surrey’s eleven boroughs.

Leisure                                                                                                                               We recognise the importance of leisure to both mental and physical wellbeing and also its economic benefits.  All leisure activities should be provided at affordable cost to participants, including free adult fitness equipment in every settlement. We will safeguard libraries and look to innovate their services.

Why aren’t we getting there? By train!

Monica Harding, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Liberal Democrats in Esher & Walton writes:  

South Western Railway has become a joke in our constituency. Failings in our transport network mean we can’t get to work on time, our children can’t get to school, and yet fares have increased again by 3.2% in the New Year. We’re being asked to pay more for less.

It is not good enough. It is unacceptable that we are not able to get to London on time – the world capital of finance in one of the largest economies in the world. This is having a negative impact on earnings which are lost, enforced time off work, childcare extras, appointments missed and so on.

While the national government fails to get a grip on poor performance, Liberal Democrat MPs are stepping up and holding the rail companies to account. They believe that passengers must come first, not the investors in South Western Railway. They are speaking up for their constituents and offering solutions and they are pressing the government to take action.

Our neighbouring Lib Dem MP, Vince Cable (Twickenham) brought an emergency debate to parliament in December on the subject of South Western Railway and Ed Davey (Kingston and Surbiton) has set up an All Party Parliamentary Group to hold the train companies to account. In December Ed published a report ‘ Passengers Must Come First’ which spells out what needs to happen.

LibDem MPs have a reputation as good constituency MPs, working hard for their constituents and standing up for their interests. As the Liberal Democrat PPC in Esher and Walton I will work with Ed and Vince in pushing the solutions for trains in our constituency.

Here’s what needs to happen:

  • The national government must either remove SWR’s franchise or impose a new performance related contract, without negotiation.
  • SWR must not be rewarded for its manifest failure. A new contract or operator must be incentivized to put the passenger first, before shareholders. Profits should only be made once stretching performance targets are met.
  • Performance targets on SWR must include the existing Public Performance Measures improving to at least 90% on all routes by the end of 2018/20.
  • SWR and Network Rail must urgently develop new capability and capacity to manage disruptions better.
  • The Government must support immediate additional funding for essential investment.
  • Network Rail must reform its structure and culture so that managers are held accountable for performance.
  • Network Rail must be given more time to access safely the infrastructure to allow for basic maintenance and repairs.
  • The Department for Transport’s role in holding the rail companies to account should be independently assessed.

Want to know more? Follow me on twitter @monicabeharding, Facebook or at monicaharding.org and get updates as we demand better for Esher and Walton.