Azara Blog: Cambridge City Council votes for an arbitrary 20 mph zone

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Date published: 2010/11/16

The Cambridge News says:

Concerns about speeding commuters mean three Cambridge streets are in line for lower limits.

Shaftesbury Road, Clarendon Road and Fitzwilliam Road could benefit from a peculiar highways policy.

As the News has reported, residents living in the area claimed workers from Cambridge University Press and organisations based at Eastbrook regularly flouted the area's 30mph maximum.

Now they are set to get a 20mph limit, even though a survey found average speeds were well under the current top level.

In one direction, the mean speed was just 19mph.

But a meeting of Cambridge City Council's south area committee heard doing a new survey might not be a good idea, because Cambridgeshire County Council - which has responsibility for highways - will only approve 20mph limits in areas where the average speed is 24mph or lower.

Members agreed to spend £12,000 on imposing the new maximum, plus £10,000 on two automatic warning signs.

The lower limit still has to be approved by the county council.

In a survey, 82 per cent of respondents said they believed the area had traffic problems, and 65 per cent supported a 20mph limit.

Two cats have died after being hit by cars and there are fears a child could be next.

Maybe there is some special speeding problem on Shaftesbury Road, Clarendon Road and Fitzwilliam Road. But it does not seem likely, especially when the excuse given is that "two cats have died after being hit by cars and there are fears a child could be next", combined with the results of some meaningless survey. Is there any road in Cambridge where cats have not died after being hit by cars? Is there any road in Cambridge where you could not use the same emotional blackmail about a hypothetical "fear" that "a child could be next"? Is there any road in Cambridge where the residents would not claim there is a "traffic problem"? (Presumably by this is meant a "speeding problem", although any category of "traffic problem" would no doubt get the same response.)

And why stop at 20mph? Let the emotional blackmail continue to its logical conclusion. Some child could be killed by a car doing 20mph. Some child could be killed by a bicycle doing 10mph. Some child could be killed by a bus doing 5mph. Perhaps the Lib Dem middle class control freaks who run Cambridge City Council should vote to ban all non-pedestrian traffic everywhere in the city just in case some child might be killed somewhere in Cambridge. (Adults apparently do not count, since the emotional blackmail is not so useful.)

This is not to mention the county council's farcical policy where you can only get a 20mph limit if the speed is already slow (on average). So fast roads have to remain fast and already slow roads can be forced to become even slower. The Cambridge transport bureaucrats really should all be sacked.

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