Pilot 20mph zones set for Southend

Roads across Southend are set to become 20mph zones peppered with speed bumps to tackle speeding and boost safety.

The controversial pilot schemes for parts of Leigh and the Burges Estate in Thorpe Bay, will be debated by Southend Council’s cabinet next
week.

As well as speed bumps, 20mph speed limit signs will be installed along with “20 is plenty” road markings and banners.

James Duddridge, Conservative MP for Rochford and Southend East, has branded the plan “bonkers”.

He said: “It will be a bumpy ride ahead for the Southend’s Labour-led coalition of chaos if they go ahead with this ridiculous plan to put speed humps everywhere.

“All the evidence is pointing away from speed bumps – it’s an idea that originated in the 80s. It is completely bonkers, it will destroy the aesthetics of the area, cost loads of taxpayers’ money, upset residents and it won’t achieve what it has set out to do!

“I know their councillors claim to be ‘independent’, but this is clearly independent of common sense.”

The council says the “safer, greener” roads will help to keep residents safe, tackle speeding and reduce vehicle emissions.

Independent Ron Woodley, councillor responsible for transport, asset management and inward investment, said: “The introduction of 20mph neighbourhoods can have a tremendous impact on road safety, which is why I am pleased to see this being brought forward.

“Reducing speed will greatly increase safety for local residents and drivers, and can also reduce vehicle emissions, so it’s a win-win for the borough.

“We will carry out air quality monitoring prior to the implementation, and after, to assess air quality. I look forward to discussing this further with my cabinet colleagues.”

Studies in London suggest that 20mph speed limits see cars accelerate and decelerate less, producing lower emissions. Residential streets with 20mph limits can also encourage active forms of travel.

The trial areas will cost £500,000, funded using capital grant funding from the Department for Transport.

If successful they could be rolled out across the borough, particularly in roads where there are schools.

Southend Council says the proposals follow detailed talks with ward councillors.

Vehicle speed surveys were also carried out in the Thorpe, Leigh and West Leigh wards which identified a high percentage of vehicles speeding
in these areas.

The council said it believed reducing speed limits to 20mph in residential streets will have positive impacts, including increased safety for residents, and reducing vehicle emissions.
The roads included in the pilot scheme across Southend are:

Thorpe ward:
Area bounded by Thorpe Hall Avenue, Thorpe Bay Gardens, Maplin Way and Station Road
Shaftesbury Avenue, Kensington Avenue and Northumberland Crescent
Burges Road, Colbert Avenue and Wyatts Drive

As there is underlying historical issue of speeding on these roads, it is felt that only physical measures will have an impact on reducing speeding, so a range of measures will be introduced, including raised tables, speed humps, speed cushions and kerb line buildouts.

Leigh/West Leigh wards:
Salisbury Road
Southsea Avenue (north and south of Glendale Gardens)
Lymington Avenue (north and south of Glendale Gardens)
Leighville Grove
Grange Road

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter