20mph speed limits in north Cambridge

Earlier this year, Cambridge City Council consulted residents in the north of the city on the introduction of 20mph speed limits. Later today, the Council’s North Area Committee will be considering the results of that consultation. Here’s a look at what people said.

The consultation asked whether people agreed with 20mph limits in principle. It then asked about 20mph limits for the mainly residential roads (coloured blue on the map below), and for five named roads (coloured red and white) which have more through traffic: Arbury Road, Gilbert Road, Kings Hedges Road, Green End Road and High Street Chesterton. Finally, the roads coloured green will stay at 30mph.

Click the map to see it full size.

20northmap

Here are the results from residents who responded to the consultation:

Residents supported the principle of 20mph limits by nearly two to one, and for the largely residential “blue” roads by about the same margin. Opinion was more divided on the “red and white” roads. A majority were in favour for High Street Chesterton and Green End Road – both of which already have traffic calming – but the result was much closer for Arbury Road, and the balance of opinion was against 20mph for Gilbert Road and Kings Hedges Road. Finally, a few people dutifully completed the consultation to say that they had no opinion.

The council also received some reponses from people living outside the affected area, presumably mainly through its website. Note the much smaller numbers on the horizontal axis here – resident responses outnumbered non-residents by about ten to one.

20northnonres

Non-residents were much more evenly split on the principle of 20mph limits and whether they should apply to the “blue” roads, though they responded in a fairly similar way for the five named roads – the only different result was Arbury Road, where No edged out Yes by just two votes. There was also a much higher proportion with no opinion on the named roads than for the residents.

Commenting on the results, the Cambridge Cycling Campaign (of which I’m a member) said:

The overwhelming majority of residents within the North Cambridge area have now clearly spoken for safer residential streets.

This isn’t entirely accurate – the overwhelming majority of residents didn’t express an opinion, since only 21.7% of households responded to the consultation:

20northresprate

This is still a pretty high reponse rate for a Council consultation – only around 30% of residents vote in local elections. It is a shame that the council didn’t conduct telephone polling, as it has done on other issues, to get a broader picture of what people thought. But ultimately, policy is made by those who express an opinion. We’ll see what the councillors have to say at the meeting this evening.

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