Here is a copy of the report which is going to the Cabinet Member at a meeting on Thursday. County Cllr Roz Smith will be attending.
Two things stand out from this report:
- The police have opposed the extension of the speed limit
- The money for it is being taken out of the Access to Headington budget
CABINET MEMBER FOR ENVIRONMENT – 7 SEPTEMBER 2017
PROPOSED EXTENSION OF 20MPH SPEED LIMIT B4495 WINDMILL ROAD OXFORD
Report by Director for Infrastructure Delivery Introduction
- This report presents responses received in the course of a statutory consultation to extend a 20mph speed limit on the B4495 Windmill Road, Oxford, southwards to include the full length of the road to its junction with Old Road.
- The request for the extension of the 20mph speed limit on the B4495 Windmill Road southward to include its full length was made in the course of the wider consultations on the Access to Headington. At the Cabinet Member for Environment decisions meeting on 9 June 2016, it was resolved that officers carry out a formal consultation on this proposal. A plan showing the proposed extent of the 20mph speed limit is shown at Annex 1.
- Formal consultation was carried out between 13 July and 11 August 2017. A public notice was placed in the Oxford Times newspaper, and sent to statutory consultees, including Thames Valley Police, the Fire & Rescue Service, Ambulance service, Oxford City Council and the local County Councillor.
- Thirty four responses were received as summarised at Annex 2. Copies of the full responses are available for inspection in the Members’ Resource Centre.
- Responses comprised objections from Thames Valley Police and two members of the public with expressions of support from the local County Councillor, Oxford City Council, the Windmill Road Residents Action Group, Windmill Primary School and Cyclox (a cyclist action and support group within Oxford) and twenty six members of the public, primarily residents of Windmill Road and adjacent roads.
- Thames Valley Police’s objection was on the grounds that while average speeds were within the threshold of 24mph as recommended in the Department of Transport guidance on 20mph speed limits without supporting traffic calming measures, the speed surveys also showed that a significant number of vehicles were travelling appreciably faster than this, and consequently it was unrealistic to expect good levels of compliance with the proposed 20mph limit. This could not only potentially lead to a more general disrespect of speed limits but also result in demands for police enforcement which cannot be accommodated within present resources.
- Objections from members of the public were on the grounds that the proposal was unnecessary and could lead to driver frustration and increased delays, with one respondent suggesting that a shorter extension of the 20mph speed limit to its junction with Margaret Road, south of which the road widens, might be more acceptable.
- Expressions of support primarily cited improved safety for all road users and in particular children, pedestrians and cyclists. However, several of these responses also stated the importance of enforcement of the lower speed limit should it be approved and that without this its benefits would be much reduced.
Response to Objections and Concerns
- The concerns of Thames Valley Police on the likely high levels of abuse of the speed limit are noted and it is accepted that police resources for speed enforcement – including by the use of speed cameras – are already under severe pressure and that it would, therefore, be unrealistic to expect significant enforcement of the proposed 20mph speed limit.
- The objections from the members of the public on the grounds of need are similarly noted. However, the accident record of the part of the road where the reduced limit is being proposed (one serious and seven slight accidents have been reported in the latest 5-year period available, to 31 July 2017) does point to there being valid safety concerns, even when allowing for the fact that the circumstances of some of these incidents were low speed collisions.
- The significant number of responses in support of the proposal – notwithstanding that some of these were qualified by concerns over its benefits in in the likely absence of any appreciable enforcement activity given the severe pressures on police resources – is noted and it would, therefore, appear that the proposal has significant local support, together with that of Cyclox, representing wider cyclist interests in the city.
How the Project supports LTP4 Objectives
- The proposals would help facilitate the safe movement of traffic.
Financial and Staff Implications (including Revenue)
- The costs of the 20mph speed limit would be met from the budget allocated to the Access to Headington project.
14. The Cabinet Member for Environment is RECOMMENDED to approve the proposals as advertised