On 22nd May 2012 West Sussex County Council decided to consult the public on 20mph limits for Chichester.
Public Consultation is now underway - running until 24th September 2012.
Every household in Chichester will receive a letter with a form during July Everyone in your household can vote including your children. Please do use all your votes. You can return your form to the library, City Council offices on North Street, Chichester District Council at East Pallant, or West Sussex County Council offices at County Hall on West Street. You will receive a pre-paid envelope so please make use of it.
Everyone can vote, even if you do not live in Chichester.
You can print out the form or submit your vote online at www.westsussex.gov.uk/20mph
You will also have a space to fill in any comments. If you would like your street to be included, please do add this to the comment section.
You can also just write your own letter to West Sussex County Council with your views on 20mph limits.
As this public consultation is part of the Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) we have been told that the council will not be able to put out any of the reasons why 20mph limits make the roads safer for people to walk and cycle. It is up to the campaign group to explain to the people of Chichester the reasons for and benefits of slowing down. We have been charged with explaining this to the general public. We have also been told that we need to show widespread community support for 20mph limits. However the council is only interested in the objectors as this is part of the procedures of the TRO. We have also been asked to engage with the opposition.
We have not been told how many replies we need to get in, what the criteria is for success or how to win this public consultation. This public consultation is not however a referendum, but rather the results of the consultation will colour the views of the seven county councillors who will be deciding the speed on our streets on 6th November.
The campaign group is concerned that the speed on our streets is subject to popularity. We need to make 20mph limits popular. We feel that the safety of vulnerable road users is very important. In Bristol and elsewhere the local authorities have embraced 20mph limits as the way forward for their communities and invested in marketing and promoting behaviour change. In Chichester however it is up to the campaign group to persuade the councillors that pedestrians, cyclists, children, old people and the disabled need safer, more attractive environments. If a modal shift from the car is to be achieved, walking and cycling have to offer positive and safe alternatives. The 3,091 people who signed our petition last year are evidence that people who live in Chichester are in favour of sharing our streets safely and more equitably between all road users.
A city that has 30mph limits on its residential streets will never be child friendly and will always deter physical activity. The speed on our streets must not deter people from walking or cycling on our roads through fear of traffic. We want safer routes to school the whole length of children's journeys, not just the last few yards outside the school gate.
After the public consultation, we will have to wait until November 2012 to find out what the councillors decide to do about the replies from the consultation. We will need to make sure that lots of people make their views known on this matter.