STEPHEN LEWIS looks at the pros and cons of the plan to roll out the final phase of 20mph zones in York.

LEAFLETS have been dropping through letterboxes of homes in the east of York detailing the third and final phase of the city council’s controversial programme to introduce 20mph limits on residential streets across the city, and today we look at the effect this will have on residents and drivers.

The limits have already been introduced on many roads in west York, and 20mph signs will soon be making an appearance in the northern parts of the city.

People living in the east of York have until July 11 to make their own thoughts known on plans to introduce the speed limits there.

The council points out that it is not creating blanket 20mph ‘zones’. Limits are being introduced only on residential streets. Major through roads and the city centre will remain 30mph.

Nevertheless, the roll-out of 20mph limits – which will cost almost £500,000 – has been highly controversial.

Residents questioned by The Press in the Woodthorpe area of York, where the new limits have already been introduced, by and large agreed that they were a waste of money, and that motorists didn’t do more than 20mph anyway before they were introduced.

Former police accident investigator Mike Natt has argued that the new speed limits are not needed because accident rates in the city were falling already.

But York’s cabinet member for transport, Cllr David Levene, said the main aim of the programme was to make local neighbourhoods more pleasant and to encourage more people to walk and cycle.

“The introduction of 20mph limits was a Labour manifesto pledge,” he said. “I won’t be breaking that promise to residents.”

Here, we look at the pros and cons of going 20mph – and examine evidence about the effect on road casualties.

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