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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

The 20 mph speed limit in Haringey is due to come into operation on 15 February next year.

The Council Transport Forum was recently informed that, in Islington, where a borough -wide limit has been in operation for some years -


 " Since implementation average speeds across borough have dropped from 23 to 22 mph. Average top speeds recorded have also dropped from 28 to 27 mph."

Was all the expenditure on signage and road marking money well spent ?

Can we afford it ?

Tags for Forum Posts: 20mph, traffic

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Never ceases to amaze me the elaborate rhetoric espoused by citizens who want to maintain the status quo. Driving at 20 makes sense, not driving at all makes even more sense and would mean less punishment for all of us

No Jon, I do not want to maintain the status quo--the SQ is a mess.  What I am annoyed about is the sort of dramatic gesture that ticks a box and does nothing.  I have said for years that traffic can be slowed down using gentler and more sustainable street design -- and a bit of imagination.  For instance all the ladder roads could be set up for diagonal parking in staggered sets--with something like a tree and shrub troughs at the ends of each set.  That would turn the roads from straight and very tempting speedways into chicanes.  It would slow traffic down very efficiently as well as putting trees IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROADS.  Meanwhile, there are some areas where 20mph is a complete nonsense and other areas where speeds should actually be less that 20mph.  Slapping a general 20mph ban on everywhere is the product of the sort of mindset that thinks punishment is a good substitute for competence.

Sorry Lydia, I'm too quick to judge, yes road design essential part of it! Experts commissioned by London Campaign for Cyclists have been in liaison with tfl and the Major trying to get them to adopt safe road design for pedestrians and vulnerable traffic for years(some of the designs are close to what you propose). Change is slow, finally Boris Johnson has been shamed into playing his hand and we will have some 'almost' safe roads in the near future.

There are always pedestrians around in most of London so don't know where 20mph would be a 'complete nonsense'.


I often wonder how many accidents are caused by too much attention being paid to the speedometer and not enough to the road. Unfortunately, because of the drivers who wish to drive dangerously fast in inappropriate places, the rest of us have to suffer the cost and inconvienience.

People should always give the road and it's immediate surroundings their full attention. If doing so means they can't maintain an appropriate speed (dictated by either the legal limit or other circumstances) then they shouldn't be on the road.

The reason the 20mph limit is very important, in my opinion, is that 30mph is increasingly (due to density of population and vehicles) an inappropriate speed to drive at on many of Haringey's streets. However, far too many motorists think the speed limit is something which they're entitled to aim for (and usually exceed by some arbitrary amount) regardless of any other factors. This is by no means limited to people who have no regard for the law, but very often 'normal' people who turn into mild sociopaths when delivering their children to and from school.

I'm guessing there are several reasons why recorded speeds haven't dropped in accordance with the lower limits. They're still not particularly widespread so people tend to regard 30mph as a default urban limit regardless of the posted one. They're new, which means the overwhelming majority of motorists are accustomed to the legal limit being 30mph in cities. Lastly, the police have completely washed their hands of any responsibility for changing people's behaviour because they consider it 'unenforceable', which is a frankly stupid position. Will be interested to see if they take a similar stance if (or more likely, when) lower alcohol limits come into force.

Yes quite agree..where there's a will there's a way.. police love the status quo as well (sorry keep going on about a defunct pop band)

One of the reasons behind this is the road safety aspect. I remember some stats suggesting that your chances of survival/being killed at varying speeds if caught in a car accident are as follows:

  • 20mph- 90% survival 10% killed
  • 30mph- 50% survival 50% killed
  • 40mph- 10% survival 90% killed

I do not have a good reference for these figures, but I believe they are attributed to a DfT study. Figures around these ranges are often quoted.

I remember also so basic physics. The kinetic energy of an object is directly proportional to the square of the objects velocity (KE=mv2). Thus an object's kinetic energy will not double if the speed is doubled, it will quadruple.

Now, none of this is of any relevance unless a 20mph speed limit is enforced.

As an aside, I heard someone (in the council) say they think speed on Wightman may have actually increased since it was made a 20mph zone. I did not get the chance to try to understand how they got to this conclusion, nor why, but is there some nutty psychological issue going off here, that sees folks feeling frustrated by the 'limits' on their speed??? If so, where does this all leave us

These sorts of figures showing steep increases in fatalities with increased speed appear on websites and may be attributed to a DfT study.  But so far I've not found actual links cited. Anyone else have better luck? 

And the figures I've seen don't match yours, Justin.  Doesn't mean yours are wrong, of course. Nor that an overall speed/fatalities relationship is false. It seems that on the whole lower speeds do mean safer streets.  Though possibly we need to take care with the figures we use.

I confess to my own "Confirmation Bias" on this. Plus, I was a little flattered when another New York website used one of my photos - for free of course - to praise the steps being taken to reduce traffic speeds in London to 20mph.  Despite the fact that this is still not yet the norm.

This is from the U.S. website StreetBlog NYC in 2010 commenting on lack of enforcement in New York city.

Notice that the Source cited is our Department for Transport.

I agree about being cautious with figures, there are some classic examples of folks using a certain well known figure, with everyone citing each other as the original source is so remote only to find out that when the original source is identified and investigated it is fatally flawed. I was trying to show a trend, not an absolute, though your figures are not that much different and they certainly bear out the trend Alan.

My point was there is a marked trend that is not directly linear in relation to speed and safety, and the logic is simple- the faster we go the more (kinetic) energy we have - energy which is in fact the killer, and the logic of that relationship is clear.

Again though, I do not get the point if it is not enforced. The number of drivers I see accelerating then braking hard from one speed hump to the next on Ladder roads staggers me. If this is left to individual drivers to police themselves then it is not going to happen. 

Alan, as a footnote to the above bar graph, I find that when I leave the OAE residence of a morning and proceed southwards along Wightman Road towards Finsbury Park, or even eastwards down Mattison Road towards Green Lanes, at a steady 2.6 mph, I rarely kill any co-pedestrians. I thought this remarkable fact might be of passing interest to our readers. 

Hoorah! Well put!!

Has anyone done an environmental assessment on all the extra fumes which would come about as a consequence of longer journeys? Safer, not restricted, driving is what this silly council should concentrate on (when their Members are not fighting each other like cats and dogs!). 



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