ALMOST 1,200 residential streets across Leicester have been included in a wide-ranging road safety programme to create 20mph zones.
The programme which began in 2011 has seen the speed-reduction work rolled out in communities across the city, and now includes 67 schemes comprising 254km of road – around a quarter of the city’s road network.
Further schemes are also due to take place, primarily in residential areas near to schools and other local amenities, and where there has been strong local support for measures to make the roads safer and to encourage more walking or cycling.
So far, about £1.5million has been invested or committed to city council-funded 20mph zones, as well as others funded by developers as part of local planning agreements.
Additionally, urgent ongoing action to tackle the risk of coronavirus infection by improving social distancing and aiding sustainable transport, such as pop-up walking and cycling routes and pavement widening schemes, could also see further 20mph zones brought in at the city centre and local neighbourhood shopping areas.
The latest 20mph scheme to be approved will cover the streets around King Richard III School in Westcotes, following consultation with residents and businesses in the area – 89 percent of which supported the implementation of a 20mph zone, and 86 percent of which also approved of a speed hump and pavement-widening outside the school entrance.
Streets involved in the scheme include Cherryleas Drive and Linkway Gardens, off Fosse Road South; Stretton Road, Daneshill Road and Arundel Street, off Fosse Road Central; along with Norfolk Street, Catesby Street, Musgrove Close, Andrewes Close, Andrewes Street, Coventry Street, West Holme Street, Dane Street and Fitzroy Street. The scheme will cost about £40,000 to install, and is due to be in place in August.
Though a small number of schemes were put in place in the 1990s and 2000s, starting with Bede Island in 1999, they were brought together under a wide-ranging programme of works following Peter Soulsby’s election as City Mayor in 2011.
He said: “The work we have carried out since 2011 shows our commitment to making residential streets across the city safer for everyone who lives in those communities, by cutting vehicle speeds.
“We’ve been listening to residents and local ward councillors about local issues and what measures they want to see put in place. In some cases that has meant new schemes, while in locations we’ve extended existing 20mph zones.
“We are now facing the additional challenge of coronavirus, and the design considerations involved in making streets safer, with wider pavements, new cycle ways and a rethink of they way people use public spaces. 20mph zones have an important role to play in keeping all road users safe as we see a rise in the number of people choosing to cycle or walk.”
A rolling programme of 20mph zones has already included the areas around 72 percent of the city’s 114 schools across the city, with 10 more citywide schemes in the pipeline for the coming year.
A short video showing how the city council’s 20mph streets programme has grown since 2011 can be viewed on Leicester City Council's Youtube channel
Department for Transport figures show that for every 1mph reduction in speed, the frequency of accidents drops by five per cent.