20mph debate gathers pace

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Two very different views from Dunstablians on 20mph speed limits were put forward in separate petitions to a traffic management meeting.

A petition from the Poynters Road Action Group pressed for a 20mph limit and traffic calming to combat speeding in the busy Dunstable street.

Meanwhile, another petition called for Central Beds Council to ditch 20mph zones now in force in most residential areas in Dunstable.

That petition said the 20mph zones put road users in danger, with speeding drivers in conflict with other motorists who stick to the limit.

Both petitions were considered at the Central Beds traffic management meeting.

> After looking at the Poynters Road petition, the council will install speed cameras there during the next financial year. And the speed and volume of traffic in Poynters Road will be monitored at least once a year.

But the meeting heard lowering the speed limit would pose problems on that main road at this time.

Poynters Road was closed for almost 11 weeks last summer for road improvements.

The petition said speeding had increased since then.

A council officer’s report suggested installing average speed cameras in the road.

The report said the council is working towards bringing in a 7.5 tonne weight limit for the street no later than the opening of the Woodside Link road.

And the report stated: “Ultimately, the intention for Poynters Road is that the bulk of the heavy goods vehicles will be prohibited. Once that has been implemented, there will be additional options that will be available in respect of traffic speed restraint methods, such as zebra crossings, 20mph limits, etc.”

> Regarding the other petition, calling for the town’s 20mph zones to be axed, the meeting decided that they would be retained for now.

The meeting heard of the national trend to introduce lower speed limits, particularly in residential areas. Evidence indicated they reduced the number and severity of road accidents.

But the new 20mph zones will be monitored and there will be a full appraisal after 18 months of full operation.

Executive councillor Brian Spurr said it was too soon to draw reliable conclusions about their effectiveness, to consider remedial measures or to change the speed limits.

But he added: “However, I can assure residents that their concerns have been duly noted and we will be closely monitoring the limits to evaluate their effectiveness.”

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