I support the concept in principle and would love to see safer residential roads in Chichester. But, I cannot support the proposals for a blanket cover of the city. I consider this a waste of public money for the following reasons;
1 Controlling traffic speed just by the provision of 20mph road signs will not work on most roads. This is obvious with the current 20mph restrictions in West Street where even the buses still travel at 30mph!
2 For this to be effective any such control must be self-enforcing by the introduction of suitable complementary traffic calming measures and significant and regular enforcement, not just lip-service.
3 Traffic calming measures include chicanes, raised platforms, sleeping policemen, raised pads etc. Some are more appropriate than others in specific areas. There is no single solution for all roads eg bumps are to be avoided on bus routes. Without these measures periodic enforcement will be ineffective.
4 I believe chicanes are the most effective since humps, pads, platforms and bumps are ineffective for slowing down larger 4x4 off-road vehicles.
5 On-street parking can provide a supporting means of slowing cars down and these 20mph proposals should be developed in conjunction with the emerging Chichester Parking Plan that is also soon to be consulted on.
6 In my opinion, to provide sufficient traffic calming measures for the area proposed will cost several million pounds.
7 Regular enforcement does not mean the odd police visit when there are a number of complaints from the public or a few well-worded letters in the Observer. It means significant visible enforcement that is followed through to prosecutions that are then made public. Controlling parking around schools is a clear example of the ineffectiveness of poor enforcement.
8 Quite frankly I do not consider the police have the resources or time for this enforcement. They are already understaffed, overworked and rarely seen in Chichester. And, they clearly must have higher priorities. The comment in the WSCC literature that Sussex Police are ‘key partners’ in this is rather stating the obvious. But, I find it hard to believe they have their hearts in this further demanding new initiative.
There should be a concentration of the limited resources of WSCC and the police on specific roads that have been identified as consistent problems, particularly those near schools. Targeting these with physical measures backed up by regular enforcement should work and set a clear message to drivers.
Ex-Group Manager in charge of Local Transport Planning, WSCC