Thursday, 12 November 2009

It's Total Twenty (well almost).

Bristol City Council have just issued a Press Release on their 20 mph proposals for south and east Bristol. The number of roads excluded from the 20 mph coverage has been pared right down. The south Bristol is now 'Total Twenty' with no exclusions except the fragments on Clarence Road and York Road along the Cut which are effectively outside the scheme area. The whole of the A38 (West St - Malago Road - Bedminster Parade) is now included as 20 mph.

In east Bristol the exclusions (shown red below) are the M32 - Newfoundland Way - Newfoundland St, Easton Way -Lawrence Hill Roundabout - Barrow Road, Lawrence Hill - Church Road,
Old Market - West Street - Lawford Street/Lamb Street/Lawfords Gate/Trinity Road - Clarence Road (the A420). No one ever expected the M32 and Easton Way to be included so effectively it's just the A420 that has been excluded. That will still disappoint some but the gains compared to the officers' original proposals are enormous.

The proposals will have to be the subject of Traffic Regulation Orders before they can be implemented and it is possible that there might be objections, but it looks as though the overwhelming degree of public support for 20 mph proposals has carried the day. Credit to all those who have contributed to the consultations and debate, especially to 20splenty4Bristol, Bristol Living Streets, Bristol Cycling Campaign and above all to Jon Rogers for pushing so hard for the minimum of exclusions. We must also recognise the willingness of the officers themselves to listen to the public and to reconsider their initial position


TonyD said...

Yes, congratulations to everybody involved. I have to hold my hand up and say I thought officers only wanted to sign roads that were already almost operating at 20mph rather than those that really needed to be calmed. They have demonstrated that I was being way too cynical.

Graham Spiller said...

This is a good thing. Whether or how it'll be enforced is another thing - the 20mph trial on Church Road in Redfield doesn't seem to have made any difference - cars routinely hurtle down there at 40.

Anonymous said...

Great. Signs. That'll do the trick. You're not cynical enough. Streets in Redfield have been 20 mph for 10 years - no change in traffic speed here.

Anonymous said...

Yay! One more thing for the cyclists to complain about when ever a car goes 21mph!

Chris Hutt said...

To borrow from Churchill, this is not the beginning of the end but it is perhaps the end of the beginning.

There's still a long way to go before our streets can be called safe but we might be at the point where the corner is turned and we start making real progress towards that goal.

This isn't just about signs (in fact signing is going to be kept to a minimum), it's about culture change. Motorists might not reduce their speeds by all that much to begin with but it's part of a process that can lead us forward.

Police enforcement remains an issue but that needs to be directed at those who grossly exceed the speed limits or do so when there are vulnerable people around.

The most effective form of enforcement is the ordinary motorist who respects the new limits and who thereby slows down those who don't. We now have the law on our side.

20's Plenty for Us said...

Chris and all

This is great news. And as you say its not about drivers responding to 20 mph speed signs but a whole community redefining the way it wishes to use and share its public spaces.

The 20 mph signs become superfluous (apart from enforcement) when people decide that "20's Plenty where people live".

Congrats to the whole community. People in towns throughout the land first loked at Portsmouth, then Oxford and now Bristol.

Best regards from us all at 20's Plenty for Us.

Rod King

Anonymous said...

Fantastic news, shame about Old Market but this is a great announcement. The single biggest contribution to making our streets safer in a generation. Of course the cynics will say signs alone will change nothing but the evidence says otherwise.
Well done Jon Rogers and all who helped by emailing etc.
Steve Meek
Living Streets Bristol

SteveL said...

This is way better than portsmouth. There all main roads, like the seafront and those past schools stayed at 20, everything was broken up with signage. This is uniform, wide and sets a precedent for the rest of the city. Which leaves me hopeful that when it gets to my road, I will get it too.

For pedestrians: roads that are safer to cross.

For cyclists, cars can't get so upset about the bicyles in their way that they need to start sounding their horn -I refer to you, Audi driver on Pembroke Road-

For everyone driving, it does at least deliver consistency, instead of confusion as to what the limit is. Now you know that in S. and E. Bristol, outside a few roads, the limit is 20. These are streets to live in.

Bristol has something to be proud of today: the people who live here chose to have streets to live in rather than roads to race through.

SteveL said...

Incidentally, why does your google map give St Georges its welsh name llansansior? Is there some announcement about Bristol being annexed by Cymru and welsh becoming the official tongue that I've missed?

Chris Hutt said...

An occasional glitch I've noticed with Google maps is that overlays sometimes go astray and so you can get place names 'ghosting' over an inappropriate bit of map.

My view of the map shows everything in its proper place.

Julia Wallond said...

Dear all I'm very pleased. It's good news for us in Easton. I work in Eastville Health Centre, and a 20mph speed limit on Fishponds/Stapleton Road will hopefully make our immediate area safer for us and our patients. Also evidence from other places is that the area wide speed limit will encourage more of us out on our bikes and by foot,- better for our health and community all round.

Thankyou to the counsellors and officers, and especially to Jon and those who have supported and encouraged him to forge forward with this initiative.

I hope that soon this will spread to the whole city so others can reap the benefits and enable a bigger cultural shift.


SteveL said...

grab the map and drag it so you can see st georges park on it. At the right zoom levels, llansansior appears -St George in welsh.

McD said...

Fantastic news well done Chris for your part in this. My experience of the flashing 30 signs is that they seem to have gradually brought speeds down - they give drivers who want to obey the speed limit the confidence to do so (and they appear to be in the majority). let's hope the same happens with 20.

Chris Hutt said...

SteveL, you're right about Llansansior. It's not just my map but in the Google maps base. I've drawn up another Google map to illustrate it here -

This could go viral!

Anonymous said...

I'm very pleased that the 20 mph pilots are truly radical proposals about making our streets safer and also offering something to motorists - clarity for one. Bedminster suffers from rat-running and excessive speeding like other parts of the city and I'm sure that this will make a difference. All credit to Jon, but also to my former Labour cabinet colleague, Terry Cook, who saw the potential and fought to get it on the agenda, with my complete backing.

Mark Bradshaw
former transport 'supremo' :)

Chris Hutt said...

As Mark indicates one of main factors leading to the success of this campaign is that politicians of various parties (Lab, Lib-Dem and Green for three) seemed to put their usual animosity aside and came together to support it, especially in south Bristol.

This bodes well for the future when, hopefully, the 20 mph areas will be expanded to cover a large part, if not all, of Bristol. To this end can I draw attention to the e-petition in support of 20 mph for Bristol here -

Mark also noted the need to present this as something positive for motorists, since they too will benefit if traffic flows are improved by being smoother and less start/stop. Overall journey times need not be significantly longer, especially if we tailor traffic management to that end (e.g 'green waves' based on 20 mph rather than 30 mph).

I can confirm myself that driving to a 20 mph 'reference point' is also much less stressful and one can take pleasure in giving way and being courteous to others, especially cyclist and pedestrians, if only for the look of surprise on their faces.

kev said...

good, more please,
and street furniture yes please
look at Broadway New York
fantastic innit

Bristol Dave said...

Overall journey times need not be significantly longer

Even if you're only legally able to drive on many roads at 2/3rds of the speed you were before?

I beg to differ.

However, I agree with the speed limit of a lot of residential areas being reduced to 20mph - I myself live in a 20mph zone and don't really have a problem with it, especially on those roads when the average speed is shown to be around 20 anyway - it makes no difference. On wide, main roads with good visibility and safe crossing points I don't really see the point of the reduction and I would also hope that roads in non-residential areas would be excluded.

The one thing I have against the 20mph zone I live in is the speed bumps, which my car's front bumper really doesn't like very much.

As an ardent motorist I do worry however that non-motorists, drunk on the influence they have over these sort of things will start hanging themselves off the bar to try and lower it to 15's plenty, or 10's plenty, until we're not allowed to drive any more (in which case I'll move).

Now how about a bit of give and take with a "70's Not Enough" campaign on the motorways? ;)

Chris Hutt said...

I thought you'd won that one years ago. Last time I drove on a motorway everyone except me and the HGVs was doing 80+ mph.

As for 20 mph, for me the main point is to get people to change the attitude thay have when using streets. In my experience a lower speed 'reference point' is a necessary precursor to that.

I think it's going to be a long time before we see anyone pushing for even lower limits. It's still going to take many years to get 20 mph generally accepted. But who knows what might happen ten or twenty years down the line.

Chris Hutt said...

Oh, on your first point Dave, if everyone was driving at 20 mph it would be easier and quicker to make conflicting movements like right turns. What's more we wouldn't need so many light controlled junctions and crossings. And people might be less inclined to use cars for short journeys, walking or cycling instead. For those reasons it's possible that journey times might even be marginally shorter.

Bristol Dave said...

I thought you'd won that one years ago. Last time I drove on a motorway everyone except me and the HGVs was doing 80+ mph.

Proves my point entirely. Most people drive around 80mph on the motorways, it's perfectly safe to do so. Let's make it legal for goodness sake. The current speed limit (30) in cities is reasonable and based on scientific evidence of damage/injury occurring to people in collisions at that speed.

The current speed limit on motorways (70) was an entirely arbitrary limit pulled out of the governments arse and based on absolutely nothing whatsoever. At the time of introduction very few cars could reach that speed, and it was only ever introduced as a knee-jerk reaction to stop MG using the M1 as it's personal test track. I like the idea of unrestricted motorways a la the German Autobahn but our motorways are simply not safe enough (not to mention neither is driver behaviour in this country). However when most people as you say drive 80+ they may as well just legitimise it. You could argue that people will then drive 90+ and 100+ but I disagree, most people drive at 80 because it's a speed they feel safe doing, where they would not feel safe driving at 90+ or 100+. I also think a large amount of re-education is needed for drivers in general, but specifically on the motorway. The amount of people I come across sitting in the middle lane (with no traffic as far as the eye can see in Lane 1), oblivious to everything going on around them just beggars belief.

MJ Ray said...

Not that it matters for 20mph, but I think Bristol Dave means Aston Martin, based in Newport Pagnell by the M1 from 1954 to 2007. MG was in Oxford, a good hour from the M1 back then - and had been using the Bicester straight as their personal test track for ages.

Is there actually much evidence online on why 70mph was picked? Most of the links people give seem a bit nutty.

Chris Hutt said...

Dave, you're normally so cynical yet you seriously believe drivers would not just go faster if the motorway speed limit was raised to 80 mph? I'm amazed at such naivety, which shows I suppose how woolly minded we all become when defending our corner.

Bristol Dave said...

MJ: I did indeed, thanks for the correction.

Dave, you're normally so cynical yet you seriously believe drivers would not just go faster if the motorway speed limit was raised to 80 mph?

Not necessarily. People don't have a desire to break the speed limit, they have a desire to drive at 80mph. By doing so, they break the speed limit, but it's not the first thing in people's minds. What makes you think that people would then automatically have a desire to drive at 90mph if the limit was upped to 80mph? If people drive at 80mph now (already breaking the speed limit) and want to drive at 90mph, why would they wait for the limit to be upped before they do it? Since they're breaking the speed limit anyway, why wouldn't they just drive at 90mph now?

Bristol Dave said...

Just did some digging, it was actually AC Cars that were rumoured to be behind the speed limit, testing their Cobra at speeds of up to 180mph up the M1. ( and

Anonymous said...

Not totally relevant to this post but I think to your blog. What are your thoughts on the climate change deal that will attempted to be made in Copenhagen.

Chris Hutt said...

I haven't done my homework on that one. There are plenty of far more informed opinions expressed on that in the national media and the internet.

The Guardian seems to have lots of coverage. There are some links on the right sidebar of this blog that you might like to follow. Mark Lynas and George Monbiot are sure to have interesting views.

Based on what has gone before (Rio, Kyoto, etc.) I expect Copenhagen to fail to agree on effective action although it may advance the potential for future agreement.

However time is running out and stricter interventions in the market are likely to emerge. Coupled with rising oil prices and the realisation that oil reserves are much more limited than previously claimed it may be that we will begin to see major impacts on the way we live over the next 5 years, whether we like it or not.

My role as a local blogger is to try relate these global issues to what's happening in and around Bristol.

Anonymous said...

Thank you. It is the hard thing to get people to change behaviour but local is the only way to go.

Bristol Dave said...

Coupled with rising oil prices and the realisation that oil reserves are much more limited than previously claimed

Actually, oil companies are usually more guilty of claiming the opposite, in order to raise oil prices.

It is the hard thing to get people to change behaviour

It's hard to "get people to change behaviour" by demanding they accept restrictions on freedom and being taxed hand-over-fist because apparently climate change is all our fault, without any unbiased, balanced proof whatsoever being provided?*

I should bloody well think so too! And pray tell who the fuck Chris is to "change" my behaviour anyway?

* The environmentalists can ram their flawed, fiddled-with, based-on-ridiculous-assumptions "hockey stick" graphs up their arse. If somebody can show me, explain and demonstrate to me some REAL SCIENTIFIC proof then I'm quite happy to accept the AGW agenda and accept that behavioural changes are needed. However, all we've seen so far is some very flaky studies (with some appalling bias such as locating temperature monitoring stations by air conditioning exhaust vents, "adjusted" computer models,etc) and environmentalists and governments persuading us that we're all killing the planet without understanding the most basic science behind it. We're just being told to blindly accept AGW without any proof or explanation whatsoever - how scientific is that?

I don't understand the intricacies of climate science, the government doesn't understand the intricacies of climate science, and you can be damn certain the environmentalists sure don't understand them.

I'm fed up of "being told" that Scientific consensus on AGW is decided - it's nothing more than propaganda - if you actually bother to read into it, the concensus is actually "We don't know". It's a very reasonable answer and the one I'm currently happy to accept until somebody, somewhere can prove otherwise - up until now, nobody has. Until that point, I see no reason why I should be happy to accept massive "green" taxes (which of course is the reason behind the government blind acceptance) and punative "behavioural change".

Anonymous said...

Bristol Dave. I currently work with over 100 African communities, across Sub-Saharan Africa..and try telling them that climate change isnt happening..yes they might all be anecdotal but somehow I doubt it. Anyway, not sure you would consider the affects on the poor of the world as being that important. In addition, I belive (more than I believe your comment/rant) the last IPCC report that was compiled over a period of 6 years with the contributions of 2500 scientists from 130 countries. Or maybe they all got together and thought lets tax Bristol Dave. Show me some evidence and I will be intrigued to read it.

Anonymous said...

P.S I am no fan of Chris Hutt before you start down that road!

Chris Hutt said...

Dave, I am not sufficiently clever or experienced in scientific matters to determine for myself whether AGW is a credible hypothesis or not. With respect I suggest the same is probably true for you and virtually everybody who ever reads this blog.

Therefore we have to make a judgement about the validity of the AGW hypothesis on the basis of secondary evidence. For me this means asking why virtually all the world governments and major corporations have eventually come round to accepting the AGW hypothesis despite the dire implications for their economic activity.

One answer to that question is that the science is so robust and irrefutable that the world governments and corporations have had to accept the hypothesis despite its unwelcome implications. That seems like a credible answer to me.

Another answer might be that they all know it's bullshit but play along with it for personal gain, to acquire greater power and wealth. That answer is tempting for me but doesn't really fit with the evidence that the implications of AGW are so threatening to so many vested interests in government and corporations. So I don't buy that one, although I think there's an element of truth there.

Another answer might be that they are fools who have been bamboozled into accepting a scientific theory that they simply don't understand. That is also tempting for me, but doesn't really make sense unless you think almost the entire scientific 'industry' has bamboozled itself. Not inconceivable but highly unlikely I would have thought.

So my judgement, for what it's worth, is that AGW is happening and that we need to adapt our collective behaviour to mitigate it. I'm by nature a contrarian, someone who tends to go against the flow, so my acceptance of AGW is not just instinctive but is because the circumstantial evidence for it seems so strong.

I must admit though that the idea that we (especially you lot) have to make sacrifices and give up aspects of this profligate life we (you) lead appeals greatly to me, so you could certainly say I am biased in that respect. But does that necessarily make me wrong?

Bristol Dave said...

No, but it does make you biased.

These are my beliefs:

I don't believe that governments or major corporations necessarily do believe AGW - but perhaps more importantly, I certainly don't believe that most of them have the understanding of the science behind it. On the part of major corporations, maybe they believe it, maybe they don't, but it doesn't really make any difference because they're not really doing anything that's going to economically disadvantage them. They're making all the right noises of course, but it's cheap to do that.

The problem is that the whole field of climate science appears to be incredibly heavily biased. All reports that suggest that AGW doesn't exist and we needn't worry are funded by Exxon Mobil and all reports that suggest that we're all going to die unless we go back to living in caves exist because the IPCC won't provide funding unless the outcome of your report suggests this. Both these facts are widely documented. As for the IPCC report with the contribution of 2500 scientists, pretty much every report that the IPCC has released draws it's temperature data (a key part of the evidence) from one or two previous studies, both of which are deeply flawed: Google "yamal tree rings" if you fancy finding out a bit more about this.

I'm naturally sceptical of most things - this means I have to question most things I'm told. I believe that it's only right that we all do, especially when we're being told to make drastic (and in my opinion) punative "behavioural changes".

When it comes to believing governments, I have a real problem. In particular ours have lied to us on countless occasions, using events, and in this case, "studies", to benefit themselves. Climate Change is no exception to this - they've seen the threat of AGW as the perfect opportunity to grasp huge amounts of revenue under the guise of regressive "green taxes" and also pretty much any level of control over people's behaviour that they want.

The environmentalists are partly to blame for allowing this to happen. If I, or anyone else, dares to even question AGW, I'm put on the level of Holocaust denial. Why is this? I'm being told to believe that unless I make punative changes to my behaviour, I'm going to kill the planet, and even worse than that, this instruction is given to me with little to no proof, with the justification being "Don't worry your pretty little head about it".

OK, let's assume that the Climate studies aren't biased, and that AGW does exist and is happening. We are therefore told to drive our cars less, all fit energy-saving lightbulbs and recycle all our rubbish. Why is this? Why should we all change our behaviour and seemingly go back to living in the dark ages, when halfway around the world, China is building a new coal-fired power station every few days? When other countries - Africa, India, most of Asia in fact, are making no changes whatsoever. I've been to India and seen the smog sitting over the cities. Do you think they give a flying fuck? Their economic development is more important to them. A statistic claimed by Tony Blair, and one glossed over by the environmentalists, is that here in the UK we're only responsible for 2% of the world's CO2 emissions. Even if we cut our CO2 emissions to zero, which would never happen, the change would be absorbed by outputs of other countries within a year. So tell me please, why the fuck I should be forced to make all these punative changes to my behaviour, when halfway around the world, others are carrying on just as before? I feel no need to justify my anger against being told to do all these things by governments and environmentalists who understand no more about it than I do, and my scepticism of firstly something which seems to be already being used to justify huge levels of taxes, and secondly that my changing my behaviour will make the slightest bit of difference.

Bristol Dave said...

And by the way, what makes you think my life is "profligate"?

It's all relative, and I hardly think you're in a balanced position to judge.

Anonymous said...

Bristol Dave, in terms of Africa doing nothing about Climate change. Just look at per capita CO2 emissions, in fact do the same for China. In addition where do you think we export our emissions of CO2 to..China, Asia. I understand how hard your life must be in Bristol compared to rural Sudan..another famine.

I guess your opinion is fuck them, not my problem.

Anonymous said...

"Why should we all change our behaviour and seemingly go back to living in the dark ages."

What hyperbole nonsense!!

Bristol Dave said...

Anonymong: Kindly explain, with examples and proof, how I am directly or even indirectly responsible for famine in the Sudan.

Also kindly explain out how me zeroing my CO2 emissions (if I could), or even the country zeroing our CO2 emissions will make the slightest bit of difference to said famine.

Then kindly fuck off, and take your own holier-than-thou hyperbole, you insufferable pious handwringing cretin.

Chris Hutt said...

OK you two, I'm not having any more obscenities on this blog. The next comment with such words gets deleted.

Bristol Dave said...

Fair play Chris, it's your blog. It won't happen again from me.

Chris Hutt said...

Thanks. I actually think many of your views are, er, interesting and worth thinking about. You express yourself well and I'm happy to have your comments. But I personally find obscenities off-putting and I suspect most readers of this blog do to. It just gives people an excuse to dismiss your arguments.

Anonymous said...

I notice that the fuzz is rather silent on this issue. Is it because they're following the old addage if you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all.

The success of the other 20mph zones mentioned was due in part due to co-operation with the police which is sadly not happening here it seems. Have Police concerns been soothed away or ignored and if they are being ignored how the hell are these zones going to enforced?

Bristol Dave said...

Back on topic again :)

I suspect the police concerns are probably that they will get a huge amount of undue criticism for not policing the 20mph zones enough, even though it's a near-enough impossible task. People in support of these zones may get frustrated when it is discovered that motorists aren't sticking to the speed limit. I have no problem with 20mph zones in residential areas but don't agree with having them city-wide on roads that have a fairly high speed limit and where a 20mph limit would have no clear benefit to pedestrians or cyclists but a large inconvenience to cars due to such a large speed limit decrease, mainly existing dual carriageways - for example St Philips Causeway or Brunel Way. In these situations I would counter that 20 is not plenty :)

I think it's inevitable that there will be a large amount of people ignoring the 20mph speed limit on roads where it is currently perfectly safe to do 30mph. I find in my street which is in a 20mph zone there are many people in the dead of night who are quite content to drive 40mph along it, but in the day there are enough people driving along it who stick to 20mph such that it's fairly impossible to go any faster.

The concern I have is that enforcement might develop in the form of speed bumps, which I'm really not a fan of - in my opinion they're ugly and aren't always effective either - many speed bumps are actually more comfortable to drive over at faster speeds, others are so large that I can feel my car's wishbone bushes deteriorating no matter what speed I drive over them.

Bristol Dave said...

On the "other" subject of this thread, it appears that Anthropogenic Global Warming is about to be blown out of the water. I am genuinely excited about this information being leaked. Initial analysis is that this is legit. If it is, it really does uncover probably the biggest conspiracy of all time. I await with stark interest.

Anonymous said...

Bristol Dave..I was purely referring to you claiming that your life was hard in Bristol. Read before you type such lovely words. Just had the pleasure of reading your blog..I understand your pain.

Claire Sambrook said...

Hi - I live in a 20 mph zone in Portsmouth. I keep to the limit which is hard to do but then that's the law....yes? anyway. I feel sorry for the residents in Bristol - be prepared to see your anger and frustration levels leap. I have been spat, shouted at and flashed by motorists tailgating me.
My evening dog walk has also become a living nightmare as cars speed in excess of 50mph.
Why you ask? - because the 20 mph limit is NOT enforced. It is just a publicity stunt it seems. I am all for dropping the speed on a blanket 20 mph across all cities. How do you get people to slow down though?
One thought I had was getting residents involved in capturing those awful speeders. The technology is already there to design a plug-in for a mobile that records a car reg and speed. This could then be uploaded to the police database and the resident gets a % of the fine.
Not sure why this isn't happening?