Calming Traffic in Steyning: The case for a 20 MPH Zone

Last year, during the first lock down, we all enjoyed a bit of calm and peace on the roads. It took us back to a bygone era, for those of us old enough to remember, when there were fewer traffic accidents and less air and noise pollution from vehicles. It was safer for children to play on the streets and for everyone to cycle and walk on them. We were reminded that our streets were once perceived as a space that was shared, and not totally dominated by motor vehicles.

With this in mind, and with the knowledge that many of our local roads could be made safer and healthier, Steyning Parish Council convened a Working Party to consider how we could calm the traffic locally.

Greening Steyning was invited to join, along with representatives from Bramber Parish Council, the District and County Councils, Steyning & District Business Chamber, and Steyning & District Community Partnership. Having looked at different options, the Working Party agreed that the most effective and affordable way to improve our roads for everyone was to introduce a 20 mph speed limit for the whole of Steyning, and adjoining areas of Bramber. Across the UK, over 20 million people live in local authorities that are adopting, or have adopted, a 20 mph speed limit on their residential or urban streets.

‘20’s Plenty’, a national charity, which supports campaigns for the 20 mph speed limit, has now gathered much evidence of the benefits of this to everyone. This is also reinforced by the World Heath Organisation who endorse 20 MPH speed limit as best practice where motorised traffic mixes with pedestrians and cyclists. In those places where this limit has been established, there are less car accidents and fatalities, as well as less noise pollution. Air quality is improved as cars accelerate less to reach 20 mph. But perhaps most importantly, people also perceive the roads as being safer and this has increased active travel by foot or bicycle across all ages, so there are health benefits too.

Later this month, all residents of Steyning and Bramber will have an opportunity to have their say in a survey produced by the Working Party. Any proposals will be need to be developed and approved by West Sussex County Council. Evidence of strong local backing for any scheme is essential, so a wide-ranging community consultation is being held.

By the end of March, every household in the affected areas of Bramber and Steyning will be getting a survey leaflet through the door asking for their views. You can fill this in and drop it off at the Post Office or Steyning Centre.  Or you can also respond online, once the survey goes live. The online version will include some important additional questions on future traffic calming measures like making the High Street a ‘shared space’.  It also asks for your views on how we can encourage cycling and walking, electric vehicle charging and public transport links. Greening Steyning is right behind the idea of introducing a 20 mph Zone as we see it as a powerful first step in reclaiming our streets. We’re launching a ‘20’s Plenty Campaign’ to rally public support and encourage a strong and supportive response to the public consultation.

On March 30th it is hosting an online seminar to publicise the campaign. You’ll be able to hear all about the plans for Steyning, as well as the national 20’s Plenty campaign. It is at 19:30 and you can book tickets using the link below.
So how do you find your local roads? Do you think a 20 mph speed limit in the roads around you would be an improvement? Would it encourage you to ride a bike or walk? Would your children feel safer on the streets, and would you allow them more independence to walk to school or play outside?

Make sure you use this opportunity to have your say!

Dawn Daniel is Coordinator of Greening Steyning’s Transport Action Group.

To find out more about the campaign and launch event, and link to the online survey when it goes live, visit:
www.greeningsteyning.org/20MPH
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