Communities in Oxfordshire are being reminded of an impending deadline if they hope to instate 20mph speed limits in their localities.
The window for applications is swiftly closing, as Oxfordshire County Council caps off a successful 20mph programme initiative that began in February 2022. With the first two phases of the project already oversubscribed, localities have a brief opportunity to join the third and conclusive phase, set to be rolled out in 2024 – 25.
In a recent update, the county council greenlit 20mph limits for eight additional communities. These include Watchfield, Towersey, Nuneham Courtenay, Newington, Drayton (Abingdon), Littleworth, and Bloxham. Additionally, Deanfield Green in East Hagbourne will see the same reduced speed as part of an ongoing housing development project.
However, these approvals come with slight stipulations. Nuneham Courtenay’s nod is conditional, mandating the council’s collaboration with bus operators to assess the impact on services. Meanwhile, Drayton’s approval covers only the area north of Kiln Lane. There are plans to potentially extend the 20mph boundary in conjunction with future A4017 traffic calming initiatives.
Councillor Andrew Gant, who holds the position of Cabinet Member for Transport Management at Oxfordshire County Council, expressed his satisfaction with the programme’s reception. He remarked, “Out of about 310 parishes in Oxfordshire, only about 40 have failed to respond to our invitation to provide 20mph limits. So this is their last chance to get their applications in if they want to get involved.”
Highlighting the vital safety implications of this initiative, Cllr Gant stressed the significant reduction in accident severity at reduced speeds, stating, “You are seven times more likely to survive if you are hit by a car driving at 20mph than if you are hit at 30mph.”
For an application to be considered, it must garner the support of both the local parish or town council and the corresponding county councillor. All submissions must be received by 31 October 2023.
Further details, inclusive of the application procedure, can be accessed via the Oxfordshire County Council’s website.
It’s noteworthy that the initiative doesn’t financially strain the local councils. The county council pledges to bear the expenses for sign-only amendments in localities keen to embrace these changes, provided they align with the pre-established 20mph criteria. However, the responsibility to finance traffic calming solutions or speed-triggered signs to bolster the new limits falls on the town and parish councils.
Written by: Hamish Law
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