Wednesday 7 January 2015

Eleven new 20 mph areas are set to be introduced to improve safety around schools and residential areas in Sheffield.

The first seven areas were introduced during the financial years 2013/14 and a further seven areas are being implemented in 2014/15.

Prior to the adoption of the Sheffield 20mph Speed Limit Strategy, a further 24 large and 10 small traffic-calmed 20mph zones were established, the smaller ones generally resulting from planning conditions placed on new housing developments.

It is currently anticipated that a similar number of sign-only 20mph speed limits will have been implemented by the end of the 2015/16 financial year. Taken together this represents about a third of the residential streets in the city.

A Cabinet Member decision due to be confirmed tomorrow (8 January), will confirm that the following eleven areas should have a 20 mph limit introduced in 2015/16, subject to sufficient capital funding being available: Gleadless Valley; Stannington; Park Academy; Woodhouse; Greystones and Whirlow; Firth Park; Hillsborough; Wincobank; Meadowhead, Greenhill and Beauchief; Sharrow Vale; and Hurlfield

Should there be insufficient capital funding to build all eleven schemes this year, the remaining schemes will be carried forward to be built in the 2016/17 year.

The 20 mph speed limits are being introduced in appropriate residential areas rather than along individual roads. Classified roads, major bus routes and roads with an existing speed limit of 40 mph or more would generally not be subject to the new limit.

Entrances to each 20 mph area will be marked by speed limit signs and road markings, with additional small signs mounted on lamp posts within the area to remind drivers of the new limit.

Pupils from the schools have received road safety lessons and have been involved in designing banners to remind motorists to take extra care when driving in the 20 mph areas.

A publicity campaign to raise awareness amongst local residents and motorists who drive through the 20 mph areas has been launched by the Council.

Councillor Jayne Dunn, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Recycling and Streetscene said: “The Council has invested a lot in road safety, having reinstated school entrance safety schemes and is rolling out a programme of enforced zig-zag lines around schools. 20 mph zones are an important part of this and we aim to roll them out across the entire city in all suitable residential areas.”

Reductions in speed following the introduction of ‘traffic sign-only’ 20 mph speed limits are expected to be small to start with, so there will be an ongoing campaign to explain the benefits of reducing speed in residential areas.

Before a 20mph scheme is implemented all households within the prospective area will receive a consultation leaflet about the sign-only 20 mph speed limits, with residents invited to comment on or object to the introduction of a 20 mph Speed Limit Order.

Ends

Notes for editors:
The 2015/16 20 mph areas are to be paid for from Sheffield’s Local Transport Plan funding from central Government of £400,000, a potential £200,000 contribution from a Public Health grant and a £10,000 contribution from Sheffield Park Academy towards a 20 mph speed limit in the area surrounding the school. This is a total of £610,000.

The Department for Transport stipulate that every area-wide 20 mph speed limit zone must be ‘traffic calmed’ to ensure that the limit is self-enforcing. Until recently, highway features such as junctions and bends would have to be supplemented by road humps, chicanes and speed cushions that would effectively compel drivers to travel at or below 20 mph (the Nether Edge and Arbourthorne 20 mph zones for example).

The DfT has now extended the list of items that constitute ‘calming features’ to include traffic signs and road markings. This means that 20 mph speed limit areas can be introduced without traffic calming measures.

For some time housing developers have been required to design road layouts that induce driving speeds of 20 mph without the need for traditional calming features. The first ‘retro-fit’ sign-only 20 mph speed limits were introduced to existing residential estates in Sheffield at Stradbroke, Wisewood and Shiregreen. The Wisewood scheme includes physical calming measures on some roads to reduce speeds to a level suitable for a 20 mph limit.