Poll: Should we have 20mph speed zones in Norwich?


. - Credit: PA

Norwich could be transformed into a city of 20mph zones under a vision to make the streets safer.

The proposals form part of the £5.7m Push the Pedalways scheme, designed to help make cycling and walking safer and more enjoyable.

If approved, the 20mph speed restriction would be signed on all streets and, where necessary, speed cushions, raised tables and other road modifications used to help reduce vehicle speeds.

A consultation began on January 12 and will run until Monday, February 9.

Officers at the city council have sent letters to about 2,000 homes in areas where traffic calming measures are proposed, seeking their views.

More than 50 people have responded to the consultation so far, with information also available at City Hall on the authority's website and on social media.

Councillors said the reaction from the public had been positive and they were encouraging more people to share their views.

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Richard Bearman, Norfolk county councillor for Mancroft division, has been pushing for safety improvements.

He said: 'Certainly from people who live and have to deal with this traffic every day there has been widespread support, and as a regular cyclist myself I welcome it – in particular improvements to the contra-flow cycling lane on Duke Street.'

He dismissed criticism from driver groups, which had claimed that more 20mph zones would result in more signage and more street clutter.

'As you could reason that 30mph is the exception rather than the rule, that argument is nonsense,' he said. 'The limit would be 20mph unless signed otherwise.

'The idea behind the design is to make most of this scheme self-enforcing, like the traffic lights on Prince of Wales Road.

'It would be a culture change. If 20mph is the norm, then 30mph feels excessive.'

Meetings have also been held in relation to specific proposals, with plans for Duke Street discussed at the Golden Star pub.

'There were some good ideas from residents that I hope they will be taken on board, and I encourage all residents to make their views known,' said Mr Bearman. 'The more people who comment, the better the consultation we have.'

Denise Carlo, city councillor for Nelson ward, said that support for the proposals had been cross-party.

'The city council as a whole is signed up to achieving 20mph limits and there's very strong backing from all councillors,' she said. 'There's a big push in Norwich to get 20mph in all residential areas.

'Although a number of streets in the city centre are already 20mph, there are a number where it's needed, particularly the one-way streets like Duke Street and Westwick Street where traffic really speeds along.

'It will be beneficial for all users.'

She added proposals were sensible and could help motorists get around the city more quickly.

'If you're constantly stop-starting it doesn't make for good traffic flow,' she explained. 'It's going to even out the speed and make it better for everyone. They have 20mph in many continental cities as standard and we're now catching up.'

• To take part in the consultation, see www.norwich.gov.uk/pedalways

• See tomorrow's paper for more on the 20mph proposals.

• What do you think? Write to Letters, Evening News, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE, giving your full contact details.