Chichester road speeds slowing thanks to 20’s Plenty

The 20's Plenty street party in Cleveland Road, Chichester on Sunday, June 30, 2013. PICTURE BY MICHELLE BEAN
The 20's Plenty street party in Cleveland Road, Chichester on Sunday, June 30, 2013. PICTURE BY MICHELLE BEAN

A YEAR on from a 20mph speed clampdown on Chichester streets, new figures show drivers are slowing down.

A report prepared for West Sussex County Council by consulting company CH2MHILL concluded there was an ‘observed reduction in speeds’ at 89 per cent of the sites they surveyed in Chichester.

The report was presented at last week’s meeting of the county council’s Chichester south county local committee meeting.

Sarah Sharp, who led the campaign to get the speed limit introduced, said: “We are heartened by the report and its findings. The speed measurements and statistical number crunching suggest that Chichester’s 20mph scheme is having a very positive effect one year on.”

However, she sounded a note of caution, saying there was a ‘risk of becoming fixated on numbers like what the average speed is’.

She said key questions for the 20’s Plenty campaign still revolved around changing people’s behaviour to encourage more cycling and walking.

The official report surveyed various sites in Chichester and compared the average speed with a similar survey conducted before the 20mph speed limit was introduced.

It was stated average speeds in a 20mph zone would be expected to be below 24mph, in line with national trends.

When the limit was 30mph, 63 per cent of sites had an average speed of below 24mph and new data shows this has risen to 77 per cent following the 20mph introduction.

However, the report has identified problem streets, such as Florence Road, which had the greatest average speed at 26.5mph.

Mrs Sharp said: “We always knew that certain roads would be tricky and the analysis of the data has confirmed our suspicions.

“Long, straight roads are just so tempting. They may be residential but they do make great rat runs.

“The average speeds on such roads have remained stubbornly high.”

Other problem roads mentioned in the report include Quarry Lane, College Lane, Norwich Road, Brandy Hole Lane and Whyke Road.

The overall impact of the slower speed limit was praised by councillors.

Cabinet member for transport and highways Pieter Montyn said many people doubted when the limit was introduced how effective it would be, saying it was ‘interesting’ to see Chichester was consistent with national trends.

County councillor for Chichester East Simon Oakley said drivers exceeding the 20mph speed limit could still face a potential fine.

“If we can’t appeal to their social conscience, we can certainly appeal to their pocket,” he said.

There will also be further reviews of the limit in the future to check that the 20mph is limit is still having a positive effect.