Cllr Richard Andrews puts the case for making Eynsham a 20mph zone, to see what support or opposition there may be. Motorists usually express outrage at anything that slows them down, while parents and pedestrians worry about safety. A 20mph zone is a big decision and won't be implemented unless there is clear support in the village.
Why Eynsham should be a 20mph zone
There is increasing evidence that 20mph zones in built-up areas significantly reduce the risk of life-threatening injury to pedestrians or cyclists. Calmer traffic is also more conducive to getting out and about on foot and cycles, thus reducing the isolation of older residents and giving everyone the opportunity for hassle-free exercise.
Eynsham has narrow roads where safe speeds are already low but also some straight stretches where motorists speed up, quite often over the 30mph limit, simply because they cannot see any obvious impediment. A 20mph limit may also discourage traffic using the village as a rat-run to avoid the A40.
Why now - it hasn’t been necessary before?
The evidence for improved safety and higher activity levels in 20mph zones has become steadily stronger over the years. The cost of creating such zones has fallen too, from hundreds of thousands of pounds to some £10-20k.
Modern cars are quieter inside so it’s easy to speed without realising it; and quieter outside so there is less warning to pedestrians. We have many more cars but are rightly far less tolerant of injury to children & old people - and this is a chance to reduce the risks at minimal cost.
What will be involved?
There are only 5 public roads into Eynsham and no reason why any of the village should be excluded from the 20mph zone, so this will not involve too much signage ?clutter’ on the roadsides. Apart from road humps - which we would not propose - the best way to reduce speed is to reduce road width, where that isn’t already done very effectively by parked cars. The actual method will depend on each road but the opportunity to add proper cycle lanes may be another benefit. Most roads won’t need any modification.
What do residents think?
A journey across the village will take about one minute longer at 20mph compared to 30mph. In practice the extra will be less, as it isn’t practical to do 30mph all the way even now. However, we accept there will be strong opinions on both sides so it is important that everyone has their say.
Please contact a parish councillor or you could start a debate on the Facebook page set up by the Neighbourhood Planning group.