20 mph limit: have your say

Last autumn, Camden announced it was considering introducing a borough-wide speed limit of 20 mph.

We’re now in the consultation phase of this proposal, so if you have strong views for or against, now’s the time to voice them. The council is clearly in favour – the key points of its argument are:

  • It is expected that a 20 mph speed limit will reduce the number of people killed and injured on Camden’s roads.
  • 20 mph zones already exist in most of Camden’s neighbourhoods and the 20 mph limit will fill in the gaps, making it more consistent and easy to follow.
  • By making our roads safer and more pleasant to use this will encourage more walking and cycling
  • A 20 mph speed limit may increase journey times on some roads and at certain times but we do not expect this will be significant.
  • There could be an increase in traffic congestion (traffic jams), but is not known if this will be the case. If there is an increase it is only expected at a few locations and not across the borough.

As you can see below, almost all of West Hampstead south of Mill Lane is already a 20mph zone, so it won’t have any immediate impact for many non-drivers living here.

blue: 20mph already, pink: not 20mph, green: parks

It’s important to note that the proposal excludes the so-called “red routes”, which include Finchley Road and Hampstead Road. These roads are managed by TfL. Camden would still like to know whether these red routes should be included in the 20 mph zone, so it can discuss with TfL about future inclusion. Camden High Street, a red route, is already 20 mph.

You can access the consultation at https://consultations.wearecamden.org/culture-environment/borough-wide-20mph-speed-limit/consult_view. There’s also a useful FAQ document. Personally, I’m in favour for many reasons: safety, traffic flow, and environmental considerations all featuring. If you’re of the mindset that says 30mph is quite slow enough for built-up areas then please read “The day I hit a child at 20 mph“.

  • Anonymous

    Why stop at 20? Why not 5mph? Surely there would be even less serious injuries….

  • Anonymous

    What's the point? It won't make any difference. It's not like people stick to the speed limit when it's 30mph. Camden Council should stop wasting our money on all these consultations all the time – change isn't always a good thing!

  • Here are my views:
    Higher levels of pollution (less mpg).
    False sense of security for cyclists/pedestrians as non-local drivers will not always see the signs (I bet the meal delivery mopeds ignore them too).
    Journey times probably won’t change.
    Theoretically less serious accidents.

    On balance, I’m not sure it will make much difference tbh. As a biker I’m only too aware of the importance of looking out for dangerous drivers/hazards, whatever the speed limits are.

  • Once again, despite reading “The Day I Hit…”, what is the logic of this stupid nanny state idea? I agree with the above points. When will it stop? When will cars be banned totally?

    The point is, if drivers and pedestrians learned how to drive/walk/look after children then accidents will reduce. HAMMER TO CRACK A NUT! Accidents do happen, that is why they are called accidents and you do not know when or where. You cannot legislate out every single chance of an accident and you have to take responsibility for your actions. If you have a small child (yes, I have three) and then run out into the road then an accident could happen. That is the risk of being alive.

    Stage one of this would be to utilise the laws that already exist – not using a phone when driving, having lights on a cycle at night, cycling through red lights, crossing the road whilst on the phone (not sure if there is a law but there should be), jaywalking (again, not sure it is law, but it certainly could be).

    This is a “headline” grabbing piece of political propaganda.

    • Anonymous

      Estimates are not needed, when facts are available: the established fact is that the difference is 40 seconds.

  • The council is proposing this with cross-party support for two main reasons:

    1. We believe it will reduce accidents and injuries. You are much more likely to be killed if hit by a car at 30mph than 20mph. Crucially, we only need small reductions in speeds to get reductions in accidents. The DfT believes a 1mph reduction in speeds means a 6% reduction in accidents.

    2. It will make Camden’s streets more pleasant, particularly for pedestrians and cyclists. The council prioritises sustainable transport modes so I want to take reasonable steps to discourage traffic domination and encourage more people to walk and cycle.

    BTW, the evidence shows you don’t necessarily need police enforcement or road humps to achieve reductions in speeds – signs and lines alone can have an impact.

    I encourage people to respond to the consultation.

    • Anonymous

      It will make Camden’s streets more pleasant? Really? You think cars driving at higher revs contentiously will be a good thing? More pollution, more noise, less economical etc. (just like speed bumps).

      As for the comment about enforcement, you say that signs and lines alone can have an impact, yet one of the reasons you want to introduce a borough-wide 20mph speed limit is so you can remove the 20mph signs that already exist, so you haven’t really thought this through, have you? And when you talk about “lines”, I assume you mean the 20mph signs that are painted on the road? Well, my poor old neighbour came off his bicycle in the rain and can you guess what the cause was? Yep, you guessed it, the thick slippery 20mph road markings painted on the road near junctions. Ironic really, don’t you think? Maybe the money would be better spent changing the slippery metal manhole covers to non-slip alternatives. I’m sure cyclists and motorcyclists would really appreciate this simple safety measure.

      I guess councillors/politicians need to change things just for the sake of it to make themselves feel important.

      But hey, when you introduce the 20mph limit (which I’m sure you will, even if the majority are against it), I bet you will be able to make a fortune from it down the line when you take over enforcing the speed limit from the police (like you have done with parking enforcement and moving traffic contraventions).

      PS. Please don’t take this comment personally Cllr Phil Jones. At least you had the decency to come here and communicate with residents. Even if I don’t agree with your stance on the matter, I respect you for that. I don’t see any other councillors making much of an effort to do the same.

  • Anonymous

    the crud state of the roads means that slowing down to a snails pace mangles your alloys. The best way I've seen speed safety schemes work is on the likes of Exhibition Road –

  • Anonymous

    I find whenever I drive on WEL (which is already 20mph) I get tailgated and sometimes even honked at or aggressively overtaken for driving at the speed limit. That's when I can even get up to 20mph, mind you. I'm not aware of many 30mph roads in the borough where you can regularly get up to that speed anyway.

  • Anonymous

    Don’t do it. Have you ever thought about local businesses? Do you want to deter people from driving to the area even more? Are our shops and businesses supposed to survive solely on a hyper local market of just the few neighbouring streets?
    The amount of money wasted on this pointless exercise could have been spent on improving the walkways and pavements and actually making walking a pleasant experience.
    Instead of that, we’ve got crap pavements, they’re not flat, they’re cracked, uneven and littered with dog turds. Not to mention the ugly lamps and lightning, overuse of signage, unnecessary amount of trees and bushes that intrude onto the pavements so we’re all forced to walk single file… I could go on.
    Camden should concentrate on making walking a pleasure and encouraging it instead of trying, yet again, to penalise the motorist under this thin guise of “safety”.

  • Anonymous

    Are there any estimates of hour much this will slow the typical car journey? I imagine we're talking a few percent.

    As for pollution, it might help prevent stop start driving, it might not. Maybe the council could look at adjusting traffic light phasing on main non-tfl roads to mitigate the impacts on journey time.

  • If you are driving at 20mph you may be in a lower gear than at 30mph but will be at approximately the same engine RPM if you have selected the right gear. Your engine management system will also recognise that less energy is required to overcome friction forces and hence will meter less fuel to the engine.

    Modern cars will return about 90+ mpg at a constant 20mph. It is not steady speed which uses fuel but all the repeated acceleration up to higher speeds. As 20mph limits renove all 20-30mph acceleration then fuel consumption is reduced significantly. Those drivers who constantly seek to get to 30mph max are constantly maximising acceleration fuel used and also increasing the time spent idling at the next congestion point.

    The fact is that 20mph limits take all the “pace” out of a street and make it a better place for all road users including motorists.

  • Anonymous

    What's the point they have had a 20mph speed limit on Mill Lane, West Hampstead for years now and everyone just ignores it. Trying to cross the road on the bend at the Sumatra Road junction every morning is lethal. The only thing they slow down for is a C11 bus coming in the opposite direction!!

    • Anonymous

      "Trying to cross the road on the bend"??? Are you serious? That is NOT the place to cross any road – you cannot see or be seen clearly. There is a perfectly good zebra crossing about 40 metres away. Should the whole of Camden be slowed down so that people can cross where they want? You know people that is a dangerous place to cross so find somewhere else to do it!

    • Anonymous

      Hear hear. There are endless traffic lights on WEL, all of which have pedestrian lights as well (and that doesn't include the zebra crossing and traffic islands). I realise that people are usually running late for trains but the number who thrown themselves, kamikaze-style, in front of traffic rather than walking a few metres to the nearest crossing is baffling.