New 20mph speed limit in Bath 'aimed at making driversthink'
The first of a new set of new 20mph zones in Bath will be launched later this month.
The new limit being brought in at Southdown and Twerton on September 24 is the first phase of a drive designed to make the city's roads safer and encourage communities to think more carefully about their driving.
More residential areas will be affected over the next 15 months and, subject to consultation and funding, the limit will eventually involve almost the entire city's residential streets.
Councillor Roger Symonds, Bath and North East Somerset Council's cabinet member for transport, said the new speed limits would not be enforced by the police, but would force motorists to think more carefully about their driving in areas where there were a lot of pedestrians.
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He said: "We are trying to engender a change of culture, where people take notice. As long as we get a reduction in speed, as far as I am concerned that is a good thing.
"This means we reduce the number of accidents and also the severity of accidents.
"That is really what is behind this. We are trying to give the streets back to the people."
Residents in Peasedown St John are scheduled to be next to get a 20mph scheme, after a positive response during a local consultation programme.
The council will then consider Newbridge and Weston, and then Keynsham, before gradually moving out across the area.
The matter was discussed at a meeting of its planning, transport and environment policy development and scrutiny panel, where it was agreed that most communities would be supportive of the introduction of 20mph zones in their neighbourhood.
But there was concern about the effectiveness of such limits.
Councillor Brian Webber (Con, Abbey) said: "I am all in favour of road safety, but we should be doing it in the way that is most effective and I'm not sure the evidence is there for a blanket 20mph limit."
The panel heard that the council had allocated £500,000 to pay for the scheme, although it was not clear yet whether this would be enough to see the initiative through to the very end.
This means that some of the last areas on the list, Widcombe, Lyncombe and Bathwick, may miss out, depending on how far the money can be stretched.