CycleSheffield response to Sheffield City Council’s proposed city centre 20mph zone

Sheffield City Council is currently seeking views on the introduction of a Proposed City Centre 20mph zone. This would cover most of the city centre, including key areas such as Grey to Green, the Knowledge Gateway on Paternoster Row and the planned Sheffield Retail Quarter.

CycleSheffield welcomes the Council’s plans to reduce vehicle speeds within the city centre and supports the proposed 20mph zone.

The city centre is the very heart of the city and should be a place where people feel safe and comfortable. As more and more people choose to live and work in the city centre, it’s vital that we create streets and spaces that people can relax and spend time in, shop, eat, drink and safely move around, regardless of the mode of transport. Reducing traffic speeds is crucial to achieving that, and will help to enable more people to choose to travel by walking and cycling.

Evidence from similar initiatives such as Edinburgh’s city-wide 20mph limit shows that there is very little impact on overall journey times, but that reducing speed to 20mph has a significant effect on the risk and severity of collisions.

There are a number of roads that will not see the introduction of a 20mph limit. Many of these roads form strategic routes into and through the city centre and a 20mph limit might not be appropriate. It should be recognised however that where this is the case, and a 30mph limit is maintained on routes used by people on foot and cycle, pedestrian improvements and segregated cycleways should be provided to ensure people can use these routes in safety and comfort.

A ‘sign only’ approach to reducing speeds isn’t the most effective way of reducing speed, but it is an important first step and demonstrates Sheffield City Council’s commitment to making the city centre a more welcoming place for everyone.

Ultimately low speeds need to be self-enforcing by creating streets and spaces in ways that prioritise people walking and cycling, and through design causes people to drive slowly. This should be combined with reducing significantly the volume of motor traffic on streets in the city centre to allow us to create truly people-friendly streets and public spaces.

What can you do?

Please email your comments to 20mphAreas@sheffield.gov.uk by Friday 11th August. Please feel free to use any of the points raised above, or add your own.

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