Traffic should go no faster than 20mph on Milton Keynes estates and residential areas, rules MK Council

The move is part of the council's new road safety strategy, which also sees the e-scooter scheme expanded

Wednesday, 6th October 2021, 12:57 pm
Updated Wednesday, 6th October 2021, 12:58 pm

A new council policy that this week been adopted to rule that 20mph should be the maximum vehicle speed in all residential areas in Milton Keynes.

The decision was made by Cabinet member Cllr Jennifer Wilson-Marklew as part of the council's official ‘Road Safety, Walking, Cycling and Smarter Travel Strategy.’

But it does NOT mean that 20mph limits will be immediately imposed in all existing residential areas.

20mph speed limited will be encouraged where feasible in MK's residential areas

Cllr Wilson-Marklew said: “The policy is not to impose 20mph limits. However, we do want to aim for 20mph in our existing residential areas, and the council will support the introduction of these zones where these are supported by the local community."

New developments in MK will in future be built and designed with 20mph limits in mind, she said.

The policy states that 20mph limits should be introduced in other areas where feasible where there are "opportunities to encourage greater adherence".

A consultation was carried out about the speed limit as well as other aspects of the new travel strategy.

The e-scooter scheme will be expanded in MK

Responses were split 5/4 on whether a blanket 20mph speed limit in residential areas was a good idea, state council documents.

They add: "Those who agreed also specified that the limit should only be used in larger, or denser residential areas. The main benefits were considered to be increased safety for Redway users and a corresponding increase in Redway usage. Giving drivers a longer reaction time was also mentioned as an advantage.

"Those who disagreed thought it was not practical and suggested 25-30mph should be the maximum speed in residential areas."

The idea of traffic calming on grid roads was well supported, with respondents generally wanting to keep, expand, design for high throughput and dual them.

The closing of grid road crossovers and right turns was supported by several respondents. But concerns were raised about roundabouts capacity, drivers ability to navigate them, poor lining and speed control.

Traffic lights were thought to be "obstructive" and were not supported. Speed humps were also not supported due to environmental and vehicle damage and discomfort caused to bus passengers.

While there have been significant improvements locally and nationally to accident reductions, MK is now seeing a slowing of progress in reducing rates of killed and seriously injured casualties on the transport network in recent years.

High speed interurban roads and urban grid roads can encourage "inappropriate speed" increasing the severity of injury when accidents occur, say council officers.

The new policy will also support 'Safer School Zones'. These could include temporary restrictions around the school limiting vehicles access, speeds or dropping offs/pick-ups at busy times, say officer.

Bobby Zones in Liverpool are an example of this type of initiative.

And the strategy agrees to expand in the city's existing e-scooter and bike hire schemes, to encourage more people to adopt a carbon-free and healthier method of transport.

Also included in the policy are 'Redway Super Routes'. These will deliver significant improvements to 13 identified routes - all priority routes parallel to the grid road network.

The improvements will include widening of the routes, re-surfacing, wayfinding, lighting improvement, vegetation cutting and review and improvement of junction and crossing provisions for active travel.

"The project aims to make these routes attractive, quick, safe and direct,' states the policy.

Cllr Wilson-Marklew, who is the Labour Progressive Alliance Cabinet member for climate and sustainability, said: “We’ve already seen cycling levels significantly increase in MK which is something we’re really proud of and want to maintain.

“This strategy is another way that the council is reducing carbon and encouraging sustainable transport while we work to make Milton Keynes the greenest city in the world.”

The strategy also includes ambitions for increased secure bike parking spaces, better access to public transport on foot and by bike, and improved cycling and walking routes for rural areas.