More 20mph zones for Sheffield

Sign of the times: 20 mph speed limits.
Sign of the times: 20 mph speed limits.
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TWO more areas of Sheffield are set to have 20mph zones as Sheffield Council aims to cut road accidents which are estimated to cost the city £90 million each year.

A report to Sheffield Council’s cabinet highways committee has revealed the total cost of road accidents, which is £425m for South Yorkshire as a whole, includes the impact on emergency and health services, damage to property and vehicles and lost economic output from people left dead and injured.

The latest 20mph zones are proposed for Woodthorpe and Lowedges – despite huge apathy from residents during a consultation process.

The council spent hundreds of pounds sending leaflets to 5,000 households on the estates – but just nine people in Lowedges and 11 in Woodthorpe gave their views, with eight to one in favour in Lowedges and eight to three in favour in Woodthorpe.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service also failed to respond to the council.

No objections have been made by the fire service or bus operators and police said they supported the schemes.

Rysz Szumski, a community worker with Woodthorpe Development Trust, welcomed the lower speed limit but added that without traffic calming such as humps or enforcement measures he likened them to ‘lions without any teeth’.

He said: “I think the 20mph zones are an absolutely fantastic idea but it’s just going to be signs and what is to stop drivers from ignoring the lower limit?

“On some streets you see cars doing as much as 40mph. You need humps or enforcement action to make the zones work.”

Five more 20mph zones to be set up within the next 15 months are Steel Bank, Upperthorpe, Parson Cross West, Spink Hall in Stocksbridge, and Charnock.

The council aims to bring in 20mph zones in residential areas across the city but admits that they will be marked by signs and lines only due to insufficient funding for any physical traffic calming.

Zones set up in previous years, such as in Nether Edge, Shiregreen and Woodseats, have been accompanied by road humps to ensure vehicles slow down.

The council cabinet highways committee meeting on Thursday has been recommended to approve the Lowedges and Woodthorpe schemes.

Highways officers said they would assess how the seven new ‘sign-only’ 20mph zones work before deciding whether to continue the cheaper approach in more areas of the city.

* What do you think about 20mph zones? Leave a comment below or emailus at letters@thestar.co.uk.