Monday, 20 April 2009

Road safety and residential parking

As today's "Courier" mentions, I have backed new speed limit guidelines for residential streets, where these are appropriate.

This follows news that the Department for Transport is this week expected to start consulting on new speed limit guidelines across England and Wales and media reports indicate that the Scottish Government may follow suit (click on the headline to read the full article).

It had been my intention to bring forward proposals to committee on 27th April to consult on possible traffic speed reductions in parts of the City Centre, in response to calls for a pedestrian-safe, traffic calmed city centre.

I view this as a precuser to looking closely at the appropriateness of speed limits in residential areas - it is clear that very many residents wanted to see safer, lower speed limits near their homes.

Prior to the administration change, it had been my intention to bring forward proposals to consult with people on a 20mph zone in the City Centre, in response to many requests that we consulted Dundee people about their view on the issue. Lots of people want to see safer speed limits and the City Centre has a very large volume of pedestrians.

Obviously it is now for the SNP administration to decide if and when they now bring this report forward, but I hope they will see the merit in it. It is always good to consult people before any proposed change and there is much merit in asking Dundee people if they want a lower speed limit in Dundee City Centre.

I think it speaks volumes that in pedestrian related car accidents, at 20mph one out of 40 pedestrians will be killed and 97% will survive but that at 40mph nine out of 10 pedestrians will be killed and only 10% will survive.

Particularly in residential streets where there are children and elderly folk, there’s clear evidence that many residents would support a calmer car environment. At the very least, we should be consulting with communities on this and getting the views of the people of Dundee.

I was also planning to bring forward a feedback report to committee in 27th April on improving residential parking following the Council’s consultants bringing back their ideas (see for the background).

Again, I hope the new administration will move forward the issue of residential parking promptly as a formal consultation with residents and local businesses on any possible improvements should happen as soon as possible.