At last some good news from the Farnham Infrastructure Programme (FIP) team about implementation of some road improvements for Farnham, not just plans.
The FIP Board announced in March that the much-delayed 20mph zones covering the town centre and outside Weydon School should start to be installed in late June.
Not only will these zones reduce air pollution but the latest measurements from London’s 20mph zones has shown a 25 per cent reduction in road deaths, backed by research by the British Medical Journal, which showed a 35 per cent reduction in general accidents.
Will Norman, London’s walking and cycling commissioner, said: “The facts are clear – a person hit by a vehicle at 20mph is five times less likely to be killed than at 30mph.”
At lot of misinformation is put out by people who are against any re-balancing of power in our town centres between the car and other road or pavement users.
So it’s important to look at real-world measurements rather than relying on people’s assumptions.
Measurements from Wales, where they are rolling out a default 20mph national speed limit in urban areas, have shown the new limits actually make negligible difference to journey times across towns.
This might seem strange but this is what happens in practice. Scotland is also rolling out a 20mph urban speed limits so there must be good reasons for it.
A letter from Ian Shearer in this paper stated driving at constant speed on a dual carriageway for many miles at 20mph used more fuel than at 30mph.
Town centres are obviously full of corners, junctions and traffic lights so his figures are irrelevant as cars are constantly accelerating up to the speed limit and then decelerating again.
This is an example of misinformation put out by some people.
So it’s important that when the new limits are in place, people try to stick to them to make our town a better place to walk, work and live and help our town recover from the recent roadworks which has been a major blow to retailers.
At the least the roadworks did slow down the cars because the average speed on some parts of West Street used to be above 30mph, according to the FIP measurements.
I only wish the 20mph zone were larger. If it stretched from Coxbridge to Shepherd & Flock, sat-navs might automatically direct through traffic on to the bypass, which would reduce town-centre congestion.
Farnham does need cars but a few minor changes to things like speed limits can greatly reduce some of the negative effects of this form of road transport.
A secondary effect of a more moderate town-centre speed limit might be that more people might walk or cycle into town as they feel safer on the roads and crossing the roads, which should hopefully encourage people to leave their cars at home.
Ironically, this would reduce some of the awful car congestion which might reduce journey times for those who do have to drive!