Change attitudes not speed signs

No Caption ABCDE SUS-151205-155333008
No Caption ABCDE SUS-151205-155333008

A Lewes resident has responded to campaigners who want to see a ‘simpler and clearer’ system to make roads safer in 20mph zones.

Michael Cotgrove, from King Henry’s Road, wrote to the Express in response to campaign group Lewes Living Streets and said he would like to see drivers, cyclists and pedestrians sharing the road, rather than a ‘blanket’ 20mph scheme.

Lewes Living Streets wants more clarity for roads in Lewes as they say drivers are confused about where 20mph speed limits apply.

Chair Kevin Moore said he questioned the effectiveness of current speed restriction signs and the group proposed five roads heading into Lewes should feature a banner on a lamp post saying ‘Lewes 20mph starts here’ with reminders on tarmac.

It proposed adjustments to 20mph start points which would have red tarmac strips with speed limit indicators.

But Mr Cotgrove said although he shares the objectives of Living Streets he believes more should be done to improve crossings and promote shared use of the roads.

He said the focus should be on changing drivers’ attitudes, rather than enforcing speed signs that he claims drivers rarely take notice of.

In a speech made to a Lewes district planning meeting last year, Mr Cotgrove called for a scheme which was fair to drivers and pedestrians.

He said: “There are many places in Lewes with lowered curbs but none of these places from a drivers point of view, is a recognised crossing point.

“If we can make these potential crossing points real crossing points, traffic would be forced to slow when busy but flow well when quiet. Some countries mark these types of crossing with white lines.

“As a starting point, there should be a recognised crossing point by each bus stop, at each busy junction, and by each set of bollards in the middle of the road. Pedestrians should expect drivers to stop and let them cross.

“Lewes should think about leading the way in driver and pedestrian equality, rather than following the pack and putting up numerous 20mph signs.”

A spokesman for East Sussex County Council said: “A series of 20mph schemes have been introduced throughout Lewes following consultation and a legal process.

“The implementation of speed limits is tightly controlled by national regulations which dictate where and when signs can be displayed.

“All the 20mph speed limits within the town are in line with these regulations.

“The average speed of vehicles on the approach roads to the town centre is above 24mph, which means traffic calming measures would need to be introduced to enable a 20mph scheme to be introduced.

“As well as being expensive to the taxpayer, the adoption of this approach on the main routes in and out of the town is unlikely to be supported by emergency services because of the impact on their response times, or bus operators in the area.

“We will continue to monitor the effectiveness of the schemes that we have introduced to date.”