Thinking allowed — 06 November 2012

Twenty is plentyIslington Council has a long history of discouraging the use of cars within its boundaries; passengers have told me of having their cars taken to the car pound one day after their residents’ permit expired.

Another wealthy resident said his cul-de-sac which was 100 metres long had 8 speed humps ‘to prevent excessive speed’.

The existing speed humps, which were designed to keep speeds below 20mph, have only managed to impair the emergency services. All the ‘boy racers’ went out and purchased wide-wheeled 4x4s and continued to drive furiously.

Islington’s next ploy was to build ‘pincer points’ which allow only one vehicle through at a time and construct innumerable pedestrian crossings on Upper Street. This has resulted in an 18 hour-a-day traffic jam with cars belching out noxious fumes and pedestrians resolutely refusing to cross at the designated places.

The slower a vehicle travels reduces the risk of injury to pedestrians, but so does observation and driving. In Islington you spend an inordinate amount of your journey looking out for obstructions installed by the council.

Vehicles are not designed to travel at 16mph (the speed you should travel as 20mph is the maximum), use far more fuel and increase their emissions at these low speeds. In addition many odometers are inaccurate at low speed resulting in drivers having to maintain a speed of 15mph.

If this north London council is serious about keeping speed limits below 20mph it can only enforce it by a complex system of average speed cameras, just how much would that cost the ratepayers?

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