‘Painfully slow’ set up of 20mph zones

20 mph signs junction of Sheldon Rd and Sandford Grove Rd
20 mph signs junction of Sheldon Rd and Sandford Grove Rd
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CAMPAIGNERS have called on Sheffield Council to speed up the introduction of 20mph zones in the city - after plans for the restrictions were reduced to residential areas most in need of safety measures.

The scheme was originally set to be rolled out to every residential city street, but the council has decided to only impose the limit in selected neighbourhoods on a ‘worst first’ basis.

Supporters of 20mph zones now say the lower speed limits should be brought in quickly to prevent serious accidents from happening on Sheffield’s roads.

Alan Kewley, from the Sheffield On The Move Forum, said the project was being implemented ‘painfully slowly’.

“We’re pleased to see it moving but we’d like to see it move faster,” he said.

“I’ve been following this issue for two years and it’s painfully slow to watch it progress.

“They’re saying there isn’t enough money but I think there are other ways of getting money, if there’s a will.”

Mr Kewley said he thought it would not be worthwhile creating a limited number of 20mph zones and that the council were being ‘shamed into action’ by the Department for Transport.

“We’ve said that bringing it in piecemeal is probably unlikely to have any effect. Drivers will see this as oddball requirements in certain areas,” he added.

Leasa Ward, whose 10-year-old son Mitchell Mason was seriously injured in a car accident on the Manor last year, said the 20mph zones should be introduced ‘as soon as possible’.

Mitchell suffered devastating injuries when he was hit at the junction of Harborough Avenue and Fretson Road. He had part of his skull removed and a metal plate fitted, and even had to learn to walk and talk again.

“It’s been nearly a year since Mitchell’s accident and nothing has been done yet,” said Leasa, aged 36.

“Summer is coming and kids are going to be playing out again - it needs to be done as soon as possible.”

At a meeting of Sheffield Council’s scrutiny committee, cabinet member for environment and transport Coun Leigh Bramall said it was not ‘practical or affordable’ to impose a blanket ban.

The council has allocated £40,000 for schemes in each of Sheffield’s community assemblies, but Green Party members asked for a debate to be held, arguing the plans did not go far enough.

Coun Bramall said applying a city-wide residential limit straight away would mean other traffic measures could not be paid for.

“We will roll it out, depending on the budget, on the basis of a worst-first in terms of areas,” he said.

The first 20mph zones will include a school but not be limited to streets immediately around the site, added Coun Bramall.

“I would hope basing it around a school gives us the opportunity to hammer home the reasoning and the justification for 20mph zones.

“We’re actually one of the first major cities to be doing this.”

But Coun Robert Murphy said the new strategy was ‘timid’.

“These 20mph limits are common in a lot of European cities that have the lowest accident statistics,” he said.

The committee upheld a cabinet decision to agree the new proposals.

A study published in 2009 by academics at Sheffield University found Shiregreen, Woodhouse and Parson Cross were the worst areas for road accidents in Sheffield, while neighbourhoods with the fewest casualties were Whirlow, Wharncliffe Side and Bents Green.

READERS of The Star suggested areas where 20mph limits should be implemented - including accident blackspots and roads notorious for speeding motorists.

High Green resident Stan Bradbury said he knew of three roads in ‘urgent’ need of a lower speed limit.

Mr Bradbury, of Newgate Close, High Green, said: “Number one is Greengate Lane, on which several serious accidents have taken place. The danger is at the junction of School Road.

“The second location is Jeffcock Road, which is little more than a lane and halfway along there is a blind bend.

“Motorists have to negotiate through chicanes created by parked vehicles.

“I would also nominate South Road, which runs through a housing estate - although in its present potholed state it doesn’t need a 20mph limit - I challenge anyone to find a worse road than this.”

Grenville Wilkinson, a retired company accountant and secretary, of Walkley, nominated Carr Road in the suburb.

He said: “Vehicles using this road as a ‘rat run’ have exceeded national motorway speed limits let alone local limits.”

Bernard Hill, from Broomhill, called for Ashberry Road, Birkendale Road and Birkendale View in Upperthorpe to receive the lower limit.

He said: “Ashberry Road is a rat run which very often has children playing games on the road. It is only a matter of time before someone is killed. A local petition to slow traffic to 20mph has been supported by 90 per cent of residents.”

Meanwhile Andie Parkin, writing on The Star’s Facebook page, said: “It’s a great idea if it saves more lives and drivers stick to it.”

n Calls have been made for more crossing places on a South Yorkshire road where a 76-year-old man died in a car accident.

Danny Mahoney, of Wade Street, Pogmoor, was struck as he attempted to cross Pogmoor Road on his way home, suffering fatal head injuries.