20mph in Hammersmith and Fulham and beyond

speed_limit20mph is a relatively simple measure which can have a dramatic effect on reducing the severity and number of collisions on our roads. In addition, it naturally provides increased opportunities for pedestrians to cross the road and reduces noise and pollution levels.

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20mph in London courtesy of ITO world. Green is 20mph, orange 20mph, red 40mph

20mph is spreading throughout London as a measure to make an immediate and straightforward change to the adverse effects of motorised traffic. Borough wide limits have now been enacted or are due in Islington, Camden, Southwark, Haringey and the City of London. Hackney, Waltham Forest and Greenwich have made generalised policies for residential roads. Hammersmith and Fulham meanwhile has actually dropped some 20mph schemes due to low responses to consultations (despite officers recording average speeds close to 30mph in narrow residential streets).

Here are a few commonly believed myths set straight on 20mph:

Myth: TfL control the main roads so 20mph wouldn’t change any main roads in Hammersmith and Fulham.
Fact: TfL control the strategic long distance routes and certain junctions for them. Due to the A4 and A40 taking most traffic these are the main East-West routes TfL control in the borough. King Street and the Uxbridge Road/Goldhawk Road are essentially controlled by the borough.
Myth: 20mph in London is pointless because TfL don’t want 20mph on their (main) roads.
Fact: TfL has trialed or implemented 20mph on several main roads and junctions such as Camden Town and the ‘IMAX’ Waterloo roundabout
Myth: 20mph will mean speed bumps everywhere and signs cluttering lamp-posts, and would cost far too much.
Fact: 20mph limits now permit councils to simply add signs once every 400m to an area. Even this restriction is now being relaxed. 20mph implementation is only getting cheaper, and is cheapest and best understood when pursued in the simplest blanket forms.
Myth: 20mph would not do anything to help drivers in an already congested borough.
Fact: 20mph has many effects beneficial to drivers, including: reduced fuel consumption with less acceleration towards jammed traffic, congestion reduces as vehicles can drive closer together at 20mph than 30mph and also occupants of cars also benefit from reduced severity and frequency of collisions.

We believe that 20mph must be introduced as a priority for Hammersmith Bridge, the town centres and residential spaces of Hammersmith and Fulham. It makes sense to consider simply undertaking a borough limit like other boroughs in London, most recently the City of London. But we’re not alone, Isobel Dedring, Boris Johnson’s Deputy Mayor for Transport has said “I live in a residential road in Camden that isn’t 20mph and I think its absurd that this small road with cars bombing down it is ridiculous”. Quite.

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The Hammersmith and Fulham branch of the London Cycling Campaign