Next month, Islington will become the first London Borough to introduce a 20mph speed limit on all residential streets. A 30mph limit will be retained on A roads in the borough.
The measure is designed to improve road safety and alleviate traffic congestion and pollution. Unlike existing 20mph zones within Islington, there will be no traffic calming measure, with signs and road markings highlighting the new speed limit.
Islington Cyclists Action Group has supported the council’s efforts towards implementing the lower limit, saying: “Lower speed limits turn streets into living spaces not sterile stretches of tarmac. They create and re-invigorate communities. They save lives. Lower speed limits smooth traffic low and cut pollution.”
According to the Islington Gazette, the introduction of a blanket 20mph speed limit across the borough was first proposed in February this year by Green Party Councillor Katie Dawson, who reportedly convinced the ruling Liberal Democrat and opposition Labour parties last February to set aside cash for the initiative in the 2009/10 budget.
Since then, the council has consulted with local residents, sending out more than 46,000 consultation documents to homes across the borough. Replies were received from nearly one in four of those households, 61% of which were in favour of the 20mph limit.
Greg Foxsmith, Islington Council's Liberal-Democrat executive member for environment, told the Islington Gazette: "A blanket 20mph zone is a bold step, but it's what our residents want and deserve."
The move to a 20mph speed limit is now expected to be followed by several other London boroughs. Similar measures have already been implemented elsewhere, with Oxford having introduced a 20mph limit on residential streets earlier this year and Glasgow City Council is considering following suit.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.