Details of the meeting between RBK and the Police on 31 May 2012 –
Justin Bennett (Police), John Bolland (RBK) and Paul Dearman (RBK) attended
Justin Bennett of the police was informed that RBK did not want to get into a "technical discussion" about the 20mph speed limit. The existing average speed of traffic was found by RBK to be approx. 26mph using a speed gun and a methodology agreed with the Police. This was after RBK had previously measured average speeds as approx. 23mph using loop counters. Justin Bennett said that Police "Standard Operating Procedures" state that if average speeds are above 24mph they must object.
However Justin is just assuming that all RBK is doing is putting up 20mph signs and nothing more. He is therefore discounting the other changes RBK are making, such as vertical road deflections, lane narrowings, gateway treatments, coloured road surfacing, a central greenway and informal and formal pedestrian crossings. All of these features that the Police are discounting will, in RBK's opinion, also have a reducing impact on average vehicle speeds.
Justin was informed that RBK could also add vehicle activated signs to the scheme to reduce average vehicle speeds. These signs (4 no.) would warn drivers of the 20mph limit along the length of the Broadway as speed limit repeater signs in both directions. Justin was shown Department for Transport Local Transport Note 1/07 "Traffic Calming" where Section 9.3.1 includes the text "...... The more recent full-scale evaluation by Winnett and Wheeler (2003) found that the speed limit repeater signs reduced mean speeds of traffic as a whole by an average of between 3 and 9 mph, the higher reductions being where the speed limit had also been reduced by 10 mph...... ". Therefore, if a similar effect could be reproduced at Tolworth, an average speed of 26mph could be possibly reduced by 9mph to 17mph by introducing such signs alone. On top of this RBK believes that the other measures being introduced (i.e. those currently being discounted by the Police mentioned above) would add further to the speed reduction.
Justin was also informed that RBK would seek to have the speed limit on the A3 London-bound off-slip at Tolworth Roundabout reduced from 40mph to 30mph, in line with other off-slips on the A3. RBK would also seek to have the speed limit on Tolworth Roundabout itself reduced from 30mph to 20mph. As both are on the TLRN, these speed limit reduction initiatives would be discussed with TfL at our meeting with them on 1 June 2012 and would help to calm traffic as it reaches the southern end of the Greenway scheme. There is no guarantee that TfL will agree to these changes, although TfL are likely to be more sympathetic to the off-slip speed limit reduction than to the roundabout speed limit reduction.
Justin was also told that it is possible that the 20mph speed limit could, instead, be introduced as an experimental order before deciding to make it permanent. This would allow speed monitoring after introduction and any objections or support received within the first 6 months of the experimental order being made could be taken into account when deciding to make it permanent or not. This would mean that the permanent 20mph speed limit order which the Police has objected to would be withdrawn by RBK, (and hence the Police objection could be withdrawn), and replaced by an experimental order which would allow immediate introduction of the 20mph limit when the Greenway scheme opens and the Police could monitor speed during the first 6 months and then decide whether to object or not.
Justin asked for evidence of where such traffic calming measures have worked in the past and he was shown a copy of Department for Transport Local Transport Note 3/08 "Mixed Priority Routes" which contains 10 schemes in a Demonstration Project across the country where lessons were learnt from implementation.
Justin agreed to consider the above and come back to RBK within 2 weeks with his views on whether the objection should stand or not.
Justin was also informed that if the objection still stands after his consideration a further meeting would need to take place between Director of Place and a senior Police officer (possibly a Chief Inspector) to discuss the matter further with a view to having the objection removed.